Google’s Android Developer Challenge
With the introduction of its Android mobile platform, Google announced the Android Developers Challenge which has $10 million in prizes for great mobile applications built for Android.
Phase 1 Round 1 winners
The first phase of the challenge which was just completed, resulted in 50 applications being shortlisted, the developers receiving $25000 and the chance to go on to the next round where up to $275000 will be up for grabs to the best applications.
It appears that Google has already received its money’s worth. Before even a single phone or handset is built, Google managed to get a nice little roster of applications created. The winning 50 applications are shown here (PDF – 4 MB). Although I can’t attest to the quality of the submissions, there appears to be some really interesting ideas in the list. Silicon Alley Insider narrowed it down to their favourite 5.
One application that I was impressed with was AndoidScan which can recognized bar codes from books, CDs or DVDs and will fetch reviews and perform a pricing comparison with a dozen online stores. If it works as advertised, it could end up being a really handy application. As expected, a few applications are mobile social applications and few deal with sharing routes or quickly sharing pictures and other data while on the go. All appear to have some potential.
Android vs. iPhone vs. Blackberry
Google is obviously trying to attack the chicken and egg problem of handsets and applications. By providing a lineup of useful apps, handset providers will be more likely to make the plunge and create new Android or Open Handset Alliance based handsets. Applications will also be the key battlefield in the competition between the Android platform and the iPhone and Blackberry. Google is hoping that by building a strong SDK and attracting developers to the relatively open platform that great applications will emerge which will raise the profile and popularity of Android.
Gotta love competition….