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Friday, April 18, 2008

Google Android Challenge Deadline Reached
By Yannick Stucki

Last fall Google created quite some buzz with the announcement of the mobile device platform Android and the $10m Android Developer Challenge. The deadline has been reached and the official Android Developers Blog announced that they’ve received 1,788 entries for the competition. A significant part of the buzz was caused by the huge prize money and that certainly showed Google’s decidedness to enter the mobile market.

Naturally, the question whether throwing $10 million was worth it comes up. Of course, to answer this question we’d have to check out all the apps in order to judge their quality, but since there was a lot of money to win we can expect that there will be at least a few hundred very good/useful/cool apps.

Even if we can’t judge the applications yet, we can still do the math: Google paid an average $5,600 per app. This might sound like a lot of money, but think about how much more it would have cost to hire people and fully pay them to create all those apps. $5,600 is not really much for an app: after all, adapting to Android, implementing and debugging takes quite some time. Furthermore, you couldn’t just hire a team for $10m and tell them: “code 1000 apps for Android!” Not just because of the workload, but creative and different ideas are also crucial; not that a hired team wouldn’t be creative, but but the large number of third party developers can do even more diverse and creative stuff.

At last, besides creating a lot of buzz and apps, the developer challenge also brought hundreds of outside developers to the Android platform to form a community, even before the first phones have arrived. So I’d certainly answer the above question – whether it was worth the money – with a yes.


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