I’m sure most of you have all read about Android from at least a dozen other places. For those who haven’t, Android is an open source software stack for mobile devices that includes an operating system, middleware and key applications. Anybody can download the development kit from Google and design mobile applications on the Android platform. To attract some of the best and brightest developers, Google has launched the Android Developer Challenge.
The Android Developer Challenge will provide $10 million in awards for great mobile applications built on the Android platform. The Challenge will be broken down into two phases. During Challenge One, developers must submit their applications to Google between January 2 and March 3, 2008. The 50 most promising entries will each receive a $25,000 award to fund further development. The 50 developers will then be eligible for even greater recognition through ten $275,000 awards and ten $100,000 awards. The second part of the Challenge will launch after the first handsets built on the platform become available in the second half of 2008. Google doesn’t go into specifics about what Challenge Two will entail.
The primary aim of the challenge is to encourage the development of innovative and useful applications that promote a better mobile experience. These mobile applications will become excellent tools for franchises and small businesses to attract potential customers. Applications that focus on local search and location based services can heighten a small business’s visibility for a certain geographic area. For example, a business traveler could use this application to find dry cleaning companies close to his or her hotel, see what services they offer, their business hours, and read reviews from previous customers. Another example could be a bar using a location based service application to display an ad about their after work drink specials. The bar could have the application ad only display on mobile phones within a two mile radius of their physical address, thereby highly focusing the ad to their target.
The possibilities are truly endless with Google’s Android platform. It will be very interesting to see what applications come about in the next two years and how these applications will benefit local businesses. If you’re a small business or franchise owner, keep an eye out for continuing developments with the Android platform.