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Samsung’s Smart App Challenge for Developers

Published by on Jul 3rd, 2012, No Comments

Samsung has introduced the Smart App Challenge 2012, a global app competition aimed at boosting the mobile ecosystem for GALAXY Tab and GALAXY Note users.

The contest is divided into two categories – ‘Samsung Apps Super Apps’ and ‘Best S Pen Apps’. A total of 80 entries will be selected as winners, receiving a record total of $4.08 million in prize money along with a variety of promotional benefits.

The challenge is open to all mobile application developers across the globe. Developers who wish to participate should sign up directly on the App Challenge website (http://www.smartappchallenge.com) and register their apps on Samsung Apps. Registration will run until 30th September 2012.

“Given the size of prize money and a variety of other benefits, we expect the competition will foster the growth of the ecosystem for GALAXY Tab and GALAXY Note applications,” said Craige Fleischer, Director of Mobile Communications at Samsung Electronics SA. (more…)

Event Details: Vodacom Developer Program Launch

Published by on Oct 4th, 2011, 1 Comment

The Vodacom Apps Store has reached 100 000 downloads in its first month, and the company is now launching a program to support local talent in applications development. This Vodacom Developer Program aims to create an environment of collaboration and innovation amongst the local developer community.

The program will launch in Johannesburg on 7 October 2011 at the Protea Fire and Ice Hotel in Melrose Arch from 6-9pm, and in Cape Town on 10 October 2011 at Vodacom’s main auditorium in Century City from 6-9pm. This is free for those wishing to attend.

Prins Mhlanga, Managing Executive of Digital Media at Vodacom commented: “We see the Apps store as the embryo of an ecosystem. We’re looking forward to building a network of successful local developers, so they can help develop apps that help South Africans.

“With our apps initiative, we hope to complement and enhance this already vibrant community.”

 

The program promises to be a valuable knowledge sharing and learning exercise for the industry as a whole. Those attending will be provided with the opportunity to:

-       engage with the most renowned industry specialists in the mobile apps marketplace;

-       discuss tools to monetize apps

-       identify training opportunities in the mobile apps environment; and

-       gain insight into Vodacom’s innovation incentives and available technical and commercial support.

The Vodacom Apps Store was launched on 1 September 2011, and features a catalogue of over 140 000 applications powered by Appia, one of the world’s largest open application marketplaces. All Vodacom customers who wish to access Vodacom apps can do so by visiting http://vodacom.mobi/apps on their cellphones or from the apps feature on Vodafone live.

“The opportunities for further development in the Vodacom Apps Store are significant considering it also supports all major platforms including Android, Blackberry, Java, Symbian and Windows Mobile,” Mhlanga concluded.

Developers and interested parties are invited to register for the Vodacom Developer Programme at www.vodacom.co.za/developer

Steve Jobs’ greatest lesson to developers

Published by on Jun 9th, 2011, 20 Comments

There are a number of great lessons we can learn from Steve Jobs, but this week (at the WWDC 2011 conference) he has left us with arguably one of the most valuable: Do not build on rented land.

A number of startups this week are sitting around looking at one another and asking themselves what they should be doing next. They are doing this because Apple in one sweep cloned all their features into the new iOS update. Everything from Dropbox to Instapaper have now essentially been rendered redundant on Apple devices.

Those who ignore history are doomed to repeat it.

In the 80′s the world witnessed the rise of the tech giant Microsoft, and by the 90′s as the web emerged as the future of technology and an essential new frontier to conquer. The web browser Netscape ran on the Microsoft platform, but to Microsoft they needed to dominate this new arena. Microsoft quickly launched the now infamous Internet Explorer, they bundled it in together with their operating system free of charge. This essentially crushed Netscape and other browsers at the time trying to compete. Microsoft was also accused of changing their API to give competition a hard time. This ordeal almost meant the end of Microsoft as the US government took them to court for abusing their monopoly.

Since the days of Bill Gates ruthlessly killing competitors in this way, not much has changed… The difference now is that it’s easier to get away with it. No longer do platform owners need to explicitly package a disc into the bag of software they sold in stores. The crime now happens through a simple download or a tweaking on their servers.

“Writing desktop software has become a lot less fun. If you want to write desktop software now you do it on their terms, calling their APIs and working around their buggy OS. And if you manage to write something that takes off, you may find that you were merely doing market research for them.” – Paul Graham (Y Combinator)

Do not build on rented land

Building on someone else’s platform at the end of the day is like building on rented land – you can find yourself having invested tons of resources into something that you do not own and ultimately have no control over. The irony is that in technology, if you are doing very well on someone else’s platform you are most in danger of getting the worst deal. Because if you do well on someones’ platform it means you are filling a gap that the platform owners have an interest in filling themselves.

It happens all the time and on all platforms, think for a second about Twitter. Look at how them launching a retweet button rendered the efforts of TweetMeme wasted and them introducing photos into the stream killed off TwitPic’s hopes and dreams for the future. Something as simple as altering the API call limit can kill off hundreds of clients and apps that depend on Twitter for their bread and butter.

Conclusion

Let’s wake up to the reality that ultimately platform owners are not really your friends, they are your future competitors. Start building applications that are less platform dependent and offer value above and beyond just filling a feature gap.

Google Announces Sub-Saharan Africa Android Developer Challenge

Published by on Apr 14th, 2011, 3 Comments

This just in – it looks like Google is pushing hard to get Africa on board with development for its mobile platform, Android. With Africa’s rate of smartphone adoption looking positive in future, I think its a smart move from the search giant.

Every day more than 300,000 Android devices are activated globally. A growing number of these mobile device activations are in markets across Africa, making local African mobile content more relevant and important than ever before. In recognition of this, Google today announced its Google Android Developer Challenge, inviting talented and creative developers in sub-Saharan Africa to design and build original Android applications for mobile phones that will delight users.
Categories for entries include entertainment, media and games; social networking and communications; and productivity, tools and lifestyle. Winners will each receive an Android phone and $25,000 (USD).

“In the past year alone, we have met with over 10,000 developer and techies across sub-Saharan Africa. We are continually impressed by the ingenuity and enthusiasm of this community to solve real problems with technology, ” says Bridgette Sexton, Programme Manager at Google. “At every Google event in Africa, Android is the most popular topic – as Android users multiply, so does the appeal for developers to build apps on this free open source platform.”

Participants can submit applications via the challenge website by 1st July 2011. The winning application will be announced on 12th September 2011.

Google will be hosting two exciting Android events in Cape Town  (3rd May) and Johannesburg (4th May) in collaboration with Google Technology User Groups (GTUGs). New Android developments and insights will be discussed along with the opportunities Android holds for application developers and consumers in South Africa. Go here to register.

Google is clearly trying to make some innovation inroads in Africa – first with the startup incubator Umbono, and now focussing on mobile. Lets hope this can help to stop the mobile phone brand obsession in Africa – or maybe just shift that attention away from Blackberry. With the pace of Android growth worldwide, it might not be that difficult though.

Windows Phone 7 Developer Portal launches

Published by on Mar 15th, 2011, 1 Comment

Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 has been having a tough time getting developers to start writing apps for it. While the interface is brilliant, the lack of applications is still a significant drawback for potential buyers. Microsoft is pushing the development of new apps, and now that Nokia is also starting to user WP7 in future, the potential to create a proper competitor to iOS and Android is significant.

Local developers looking to develop applications on Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 (WP7) platform have been given a boost with the launch in Dubai last week of Yalla Apps (http://www.yallaapps.com), a developer portal launched by Prototype Interactive in association with Microsoft.

Developers in 79 countries across Middle East and Africa can sign up to Yalla Apps immediately and start unlocking WP7 phones for testing, then submit, publish and earn money from their WP7 apps. Registration for Students in South Africa is free.

Alexander Rauser, the CEO of Prototype Interactive, says Yalla Apps will help developers create compelling mobile content for the Windows Phone platform.

“By creating a community around Windows Phone 7 development and offering additional services such as the module marketplace, Yalla Apps will be a springboard that will provide regional developers with tools to monetise their applications and create new revenue opportunities,” said Rauser.

Microsoft’s mobility director for the Middle East & Africa region, Gustavo Fuchs, said the move underlined Microsoft’s commitment to creating new developer opportunities in Windows Phone 7.

“Yalla Apps will enable us to reach out to developers across the region. We see enormous potential in terms of the talent that is available across the region to develop new and exciting Windows Phone 7 applications,” said Fuchs.

Yalla Apps will make it easy for developers to distribute their applications on the portal through a simple and accessible process, say Microsoft and Prototype. They will also use the Yalla Apps community to facilitate development support so that developers can get their applications distributed as fast as possible.

The platform will offer developers the opportunity to download Windows Phone 7 application templates, sample code and components to get a quick start in their application development. Developers can upload their own code and share it with the community, either on a free or paid basis. They will also be able to discuss and get insights into the latest Windows Phone 7 developer tools and enhance their development experience on the portal’s forum.

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