Samsung on Thursday released a new app, titled “LeBron,” exclusively for Samsung Galaxy owners.
The LeBron App is available for the Galaxy S3, Galaxy S4, Galaxy S5, Galaxy Note 2 and Galaxy Note 3, and the idea is to offer fans a “unique look” into the life of NBA superstar LeBron James during his NBA playoffs journey.
The app is split into four sections, each offering a look into the life and happenings of the Miami Heat forward both on and off the court:
Athlete – These are social updates, videos and photos from LeBron as he gets ready for games, post-game videos and more.
NBA Playoffs – This offers up LeBron’s season and career stats and also offers real-time updates and live scores from Heat games during the playoffs.
Style – This section includes photo updates and videos that feature LeBron’s kicks, breakfast choices and off-the-court clothing.
Journey – This is focused on photos and updates related to LeBron’s charity work and his family life.
The app also includes a moving wallpaper, a LeBron lock screen for your phone and access to a radio station that plays LeBron’s favorite mix of songs. The lock screen plugs into the NBA Game Time app and offers real-time score information from a Miami Heat game as it happens.
Samsung has had an endorsement deal with LeBron James for several years, and the Miami Heat forward frequently appears in ads for Samsung products (although he was recently caught tweeting about problems with his phone, too). Last fall, Samsung also signed a broader deal with the NBA.
Part of that NBA partnership includes special access for Samsung Galaxy owners to special content inside the NBA Game Time app. That app is what powers a lot of the real-time analytical data for the LeBron app. That app also offers up custom lock screens for all NBA teams.
What’s the value?
According to Samsung, part of the value with the LeBron app — especially for his biggest fans — is that it will be the only place fans can expect to find lots of social updates from the sports giant.
“LeBron pretty much goes on social media lockdown during the playoffs,” a Samsung representative told Mashable. “The LeBron app will be one of the only places fans can get updates directly from LeBron.” In other words, don’t expect to see the same photo and video updates syndicated to Twitter and Instagram.
The bigger value is for Samsung. Over the last few years, Samsung has increasingly focused on bringing exclusive apps and experiences to its devices and users. In March, the company launched Milk Music, its own take on Pandora and iTunes radio.
The idea is that these kind of exclusives, when taken in aggregate, will help convince buyers to choose a Samsung phone over a model from someone else.
Of course, what’s interesting about the LeBron app is that it is distributed in the Google Play store. Yes, it only works on Samsung devices, but Samsung isn’t forcing users to go to its own app store to get the app. That indicates that Samsung realizes it doesn’t necessarily benefit from forcing users to go all-in on its own systems.