2012 is set to be the year that home-grown apps take off in South Africa. In September 2011, Vodacom was the first network operator to launch a local app store. The express intention was to spur the development of a local app industry, creating apps relevant to the unique environment in South Africa as well as creating jobs and income opportunities at the same time.
Speaking about the progress since last year, Prins Mhlanga, Managing Executive of Digital Media at Vodacom said: “œThe Vodacom App Store itself is booming and has exceeded all expectations. We‘re thrilled that we‘ve hit one million downloads in less than six months of launch. But the real challenge has been to realise the ambition of kick-starting an entirely new industry in South Africa. We had to find a way to support and nurture talent and also celebrate the success stories.“
In order to start the process of harnessing local talent, the Vodacom Developer Program commenced in October last year and included a series of initiatives such as the App Star Challenge which is a competition aimed at providing developers with the opportunity to develop local apps.
Mhlanga said: “œWe couldn‘t just set a challenge without giving the contestants a platform, incentives and support required for developers to focus on the task of creating some truly unique apps.“
The winners of The App Star Challenge were announced at the awards ceremony held at Vodacom World last night. The first prize winner, Kishyr Ramdial developed an astonishing Radiopod, an Android App which offers radio podcast for local radio stations. The second prize winner, Dr David Vanucci developed Mobiraba, an Android App of the traditional African board game, Morabaraba. Glenn Stein who won the third prize developed PhraZApp, a Java App which translates South African languages. All three winners will launch their apps on the Vodacom App store.
Vodacom will continue to provide incentives to the local developers or Mobile App entrepreneurs through the monthly App contests which are currently running and will end on 31 July 2012. During this period, Vodacom will recognise the developers with the coolest App of the month and the popular App with most downloads.
To participate in the monthly App contest visit http://www.vodacom.co.za/developer “œWe‘re truly delighted with the success of the App Star Challenge. We have seen great local talent come to the fore and we‘re excited about the income opportunities that lie ahead for the developers,“ Mhlanga concluded.