On November 12th, 2007 Google has generously announced to be distributing 10 million dollar to developers who create mobile applications for Android, the open development platform that Google had launched earlier that same month. Winners of this Android Developer Challenge could receive between 25.000 and 275.000 dollar.
A total of 1778 projects were entered from all around the world. Some hundred jury members have now evaluated these projects and in May 2008 the first 50 finalists were published. Below you can find a selection of 10 interesting Google Phone projects.
AndroidScan: allows you to scan barcodes with your mobile phone and then receive comparable pricing and product information (both from online and offline shops). In Japan this innovation is already gaining popularity.
Beetaun: gives a mix of social networking around geographical locations: allows to discover interesting places or hiking trails, based on the preferences of your online soul mates.
BioWallet: a biometrical authentication system that uses iris recognition to serve as protection and gateway to other applications.
CallACab: with this application you easily find the nearest taxi and you can immediately reserve it in one click.
HandWx: gives weather forecast for the coming seven days for a region as well as high quality radar images.
JigSaw: allows to capture images from whiteboards and to quickly process them. It transforms the captured images and data.
LifeAware: a mobile tracking service that helps people to stay up-to-date about the where-abouts of their friends and relatives.
Locale: an application developed by students at the MIT; this service automatically puts your mobile in ‘Silent’-mode when you’re at certain places at certian moments, as indicated by other mobinauts.
GolfPlay: gives all possible real-time help to golf players, using GPS localisation.
Wikitude: this mobile travel guide allows to find the most relevant wikipedia page for a place that you entered; this information is neatly linked to Google Earth.
The 50 selected entries show a broad mix of applications on the verge of communication, information and entertainment. Some applications concentrate on the improved use of already known services (such as Phonebook 2.0). It is not a surprise that the most remarkable applications concentrate mostly on the unique advantage of mobile internet applications, specifically the use of geolocalisation information. It is clear that Google Earth and Google Maps are important building blocks for this, that will result in a range of new applications.
We now have to wait to see who will be the big winner. With its Android Developer Challenge, Google certainly has inspired a large group of developers to create a range of interesting applications. Question is whether these initial projects will be able to create sufficient critical mass for Android to build a credible alternative for Windows Mobile.