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Google names winners in first round of Android contest

15 мая 2008

After combing through some 1,788 submissions, Google Inc. has named 50 winners in the first round of its contest to create new applications for the open Android mobile platform.

And while the applications run the gamut from golf to public safety to music to cooking to navigation, the search giant is so far showing favor - not to mention a check for $25,000 - to developers enhancing social networking or building services that are based on location.

"The younger generation are rather obsessed with being able to find their friends at all times," said Rebecca Arbogast, an analyst at Stifel Nicolaus, a subsidiary of Stifel Financial Corp. "(Google's picks) reflect where the current advanced thinking is" on how to monetize the mobile Web and take social networking to the next level.

Most of the winners are from unknown developers and companies that likely will count the prize money as their first round of funding.

And VCs are watching it all closely.

"The Google Android competition is terrific," said Tim Draper of Draper Fisher Jurvetson."What a wide variety of applications they have generated...The mobile phone is just at the beginning of a new renaissance of creativity."

Among the services that have a location-based component is Locale, one of several proposals submitted by the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. The application enables users to program their daily schedule into a mobile device, and the device then routes all email and calls accordingly. A personal call coming in during work hours, for instance, is re-routed to the user's home land line.

Several winners are social-networking applications with a location-based tweak.

Beetaun, for example, is a neighborhood-based social network. Commandro, another winner, gives social networkers an almost Big Brotherish awareness of what their friends are up to and where they are 24 hours a day.

Other winners have built various services on top of location.

GolfPlay, for example, uses GPS to push to a golfer all relevant golfing information based on wherever he or she is. LifeAware, a public-safety app, helps users keep track of family members, presumably their children.

Cooking Capsules, another notable, combines video-cooking lessons with tips on where to shop for ingredients. And for the high minded, PocketJourney connects a user with artists, musicians or comedians based on their location.

Eco2Go - looking to capitalize on the clean technology fever gripping investors - enables users to enter their planned driving route into a mobile device, which then returns an alternative, public-transit way to get there.

Google also showed interest in music-based apps, including one, Rayfarla, which lets the mobile device double as a musical instrument.

Google declined to comment for this story.

The contest's second round, the ending of which should coincide with the release of the Gphone, will see 10 $275,000 awards given out and 10 $100,000 awards, Google has said.

Источник: Total Telecom

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