Friday, January 04, 2008

Android Developer Challenge 'Open'

It's a couple of days late, but those of you with a bright idea for a mobile app and a hankering for a slice of US$10 million in angel funding should head over to the submission page for the Android Developer Challenge.

Google is accepting submissions from today until March 3 for the first of two rounds of development funding. The 50 most promising entries will get $25k and be in the running for ten $250k and ten $100k prizes.

Project submission involves uploading a compiled .apk file along with your contact details and a readme file. You can include any additional information you like in the readme -- instructions for use, design documents, or a narrative describing your vision for your application.

The entries will be judged on their (i) originality, (ii) use of the Android platform, (iii) polish and appeal, and (iv) indispensability. So the perfect project will be one of a kind that leverages all the Android specific features, looks amazing, is well polished, and once installed you'd never want to remove it.

The challenge is more 'Iron Chef' than 'Dragon's Den', so the working application you submit is definitely the most important part of your submission. They're not looking for your plan for the $25k - $275k in prize money, they want to reward what is already a polished indispensable project. A detailed 'pitch' document submitted with a dinky 'proof of concept' is probably not going to get a look in.

Be sure to check out the new Terms & Conditions, here are some highlights:
- You can submit your application using any of the SDKs released on or after 3rd Jan.
- March 3 is a hard deadline.
- You can submit updates to your project(s) at any time until March 3.
- You can submit projects as an individual, team, or business entity.

The danger of this 'show me' rather than 'tell me' approach is that it is a reward for work rather than a submission for funding. The initial winners will be the development teams that have been able to implement and polish the most functionality within the competition time frame -- most likely the developers with the least need for funding to continue their development.

There's also the question of multiple similar applications. Obviously they'll be up against it on the originality criteria, so you'll need to make sure yours is the most polished and feature rich of the entries to stand a chance.

More details on the challenge can be found on the ADC FAQ.

(For those wondering, real-life Android phones are still expected in the second half of 2008)