Android app contests dry up in 2010, but Taiwan presses on

Taiwan government rewards NT$1 million to Android app and UI developers

Contests designed to promote Google's Android mobile software by offering prizes for new mobile applications appeared to disappear in 2010, but Taiwan held out with its second annual Android competition, called Mobile Hero.

The fact that Taiwan kept an Android competition going goes some way to indicating how serious the government and local telecommunications companies take the software. Taiwanese industrial leaders are working with their counterparts in China to further develop Android to further their own efforts in Android-based smartphones but also to support efforts around the Ophone OS used by China Mobile, the world's largest mobile service provider.

The Ophone OS is based on Android, according to the developer of the OS, China's Borqs. Taiwan's publicly funded Institute for Information Industry earlier this year announced it would help Borqs with its work on the Ophone OS because the Chinese company was having trouble keeping up with all of the software updates from Android.

Not as many Android app developer competitions are taking place this year as they did last year.

Google has held an Android Developer Challenge (APC) focused on mobile applications for the past two years, but there was no APC3 this year. Last year, a number of mobile network operators in Asia also put on Android developer contests, including several members of the Conexus Mobile Alliance, but none of them appear to be doing so this year.

Taiwan named the UI as the focus for Android developers this year due to its importance to local industry

The 2010 telecommunications contest put the UI as a top priority to "aid in the development of the Taiwanese telecommunication industry, because we believe a good UI design is essential for our industry... and a good UI design will be an important differentiator for Taiwan's mobile phone industry," officials said on their Mobile Hero contest website.

Taiwan's economics ministry awarded prizes totalling NT$1 million (US$33,243) in the competition, including NT$300,000 for first prize, NT$200,000 for second, NT$100,000 for third, and several smaller prizes. The competition netted over 200 software applications this year, officials said in a statement. More details about those receiving awards would be available "at a later date," said one official.

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