Vodafone launches €1,000,000 prize fund for best mobile widgets

Vodafone has launched a combined prize fund of Euro 1,000,000 to find the best mobile widgets. The winning developer, in each of the two phases of the Vodafone Appstar competition, will pocket Euro 100,000.

At its international Developer Event, Vodafone has announced the launch of a two phase competition to find the most innovative and useful mobile widgets, giving two victorious developers the chance to bank up to Euro 100,000 in prize money.

Split into two phases, the first phase now and second phase during 2010, the Vodafone Appstar competition has a combined prize fund of Euro 1,000,000 which will be shared across eight of Vodafone’s largest European operating companies to encourage innovation in the mobile application and widget space. The participating eight countries are: UK, Ireland, Germany, Netherlands, Italy, Spain, Portugal and Greece.

In the initial round of each phase of the competition, developers from anywhere in the world can submit widgets compatible with the new Vodafone 360 mobiles to any one of these eight markets via a competition website. A panel of experts from the local Vodafone operating company will then select three winning entries based on three criteria: User experience; Innovation; Value to the customer.

The developers responsible for the top three mobile widgets will be awarded prize money of Euro 25,000, Euro 15,000 and Euro 10,000 for coming first, second and third respectively. The Euro 25k winner will also have their entry submitted into a Pan-European competition to decide the best of the best.

The eight competition winners’ widgets will then be put to the public vote within the participating eight countries and the winning developer will pocket a further prize of Euro 75, 000, bringing their total prize money to Euro 100,000. The runner up will win a total of Euro 50,000.

The competition format will then be repeated next year to encourage more participation.

“Vodafone is committed to encouraging talent and innovation in this area and we hope that this prize fund will provide a fitting incentive to help bring this talent to the fore,” said Pieter Knook, director of Vodafone internet services. “Our job is to bring relevant and local choices in widgets that will make the mobile internet more personal for our customers.”

Widgets or apps can range from those capable of giving you the latest news on your phone’s home screen to location-aware travel tools.

Software developers will be asked to write applications based on the latest Joint Innovation Lab (JIL) Software Developer Kit found at www.jil.org.

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