When the search giant announced the mobile operating system last November, it also put up $10 million in cash prizes for developers to create appealing programs for Android Market. The winners of the Android Developer Challenge were announced Friday, and it appears that location-based services will play a major role in Android applications.
All of the 10 teams that won the top prize of $275,000 utilize GPS in some manner. The application cab4me integrates with Google Maps and utilizes location awareness to make it simpler for a user to order a cab to their location. Another app, Life360 uses GPS to help families and friends track and stay in contact with each other.
Shopping could also be a popular application. The GoCart program seeks to "bridge the gap that exists between shopping online and shopping at the store." Consumers can use the phone's camera to scan a barcode, and the program will search for the best prices on the Internet and through the inventories of local stores. Another winner, Compare Everywhere, has many of the same features but also includes wish lists, shopping lists and more.
Another 10 developer teams were awarded $100,000 for their programs. These include applications to do instant messaging, integrate social networking into your address book, remotely access files, and even improve your commute.
The winners were judged by members of the Open Handset Alliance, an industry consortium with the goal of advancing the open Android platform. A full list of winners and finalists can be found on the Android Developer Challenge Web site.