BlackBerry puts $3m challenge to app developers

BlackBerry has launched the fourth annual BlackBerry Partners Fund Developer Challenge, with app developers encouraged to compete for prizes valued at US$3 million.


The BlackBerry Partners Fund Developer Challenge was created three years ago to recognise and reward innovation among BlackBerry app developers.


Kevin Talbot, co-managing partner of BlackBerry Partners Fund, says while the structure of the challenge has evolved every year, the focus remains the same – to uncover the best apps around the world.


“For this year’s challenge, we’re also very excited to be inviting app submissions for the BlackBerry PlayBook tablet [in addition to BlackBerry smartphones],” Talbot says.


There are host of competition categories, including most addictive social app, and most innovative WebWorks app on the new BlackBerry PlayBook and BlackBerry 6.


BlackBerry will also honour applications in six categories with a recognition award. The recipients, which will be recognised regionally, will be selected in the following categories:

  • Best B2C application developed for a customer by an agency or independent software vendor.
  • Most useful enterprise application.
  • Best website conversion using the BlackBerry WebWorks platform.
  • Most creative implementation of Super App characteristics.
  • Top Performers – Most innovative use of payment service and/or advertising service.
  • Academic – Most compelling app created by a student or faculty.

Winners will be selected on a regional basis across four global regions: North America, Latin America, Europe/Middle East/Africa and Asia Pacific.

Judges will evaluate all applications submitted based on their quality, innovation, creativity and compelling user experience. This year’s prizing is valued at $3 million, almost double the value of prizes awarded last year.


Prizes and awards include placement on the BlackBerry App World featured carousel for one week, BlackBerry smartphones and tablets, and membership in the BlackBerry Alliance Program.


All winners of the challenge will also be recognised at the 2011 BlackBerry Developer Conference in San Francisco later this year.


Foad Fadaghi, research director of market analyst site Telsyte, says competitions are a useful way for platforms to develop an ecosystem of applications.


“They provide developers an additional chance to generate revenues from their apps, and a great platform to further promote their company and products,” Fadaghi says.


Praz Hari, of Sydney-based start-up Cloud 9 Comix, describes the BlackBerry Partners Fund Developer Challenge as a “pretty cool” competition.


Hari says Cloud 9 Comix, which recently unveiled its first app for the Apple iPad, would have loved the opportunity to showcase its creation on such a high profile platform.


“My only reservation is that the competition is obviously limited to BlackBerry-only apps, yet most app developers design for critical mass,” he says.


“BlackBerry is also seen as a corporate device, which won’t suit the nature of every app.”


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