Nokia Extends its Arabic Applications Contest; Now Open to Students and Individuals!!
The launch Apple’s biggest innovations in years, the iPhone and its app marketplace was the biggest earthquake that shacked all mobile manufactures and forced them to rethink their strategies. Though, in the Arab world, Apple has shown little or no care to the market even though Steve Jobs, the cofounder and CEO of Apple, is from Syrian origins, as my sources told me that it was the mobile operators in the region who begged Apple to be Apple’s iPhone operator of choice in their countries, normally it is the other way around. On the other hand, Nokia the finish company enjoys the largest market share in the Arab mobile market and has shown big care to Arab users, as they pump 10s if not 100s of millions of dollars to Nokia, every year.
Nokia realized what iPhone did to the industry so it made a series of efforts to regain its status as the choice for smart phones. Nokia late last year went ahead and launched Express Music 5800 (my own mobile and my thoughts about 5800 and N97 will be published on ArabCrunch later,) then launched its app market place calling it Ovi Store, though since then the available apps on Ovi Store are not a match in quantity or quality to what is available on the iPhone app market place at Apple’s iTunes.
Nokia then organized several competition for developers worldwide and few months ago Nokia announced its app development competition for Arabic application calling it –Bil3arabi (which means “in Arabic”) contest, in a bid to draw developers to submit Arabic and other relevant apps to its Ovi Store, a smart move to bring pioneering local and relevant apps to the Arab world on Nokia devices, which would put Nokia in a leading position before its mobile competitors specially the iPhone. As the Mobile OS apps game of today is no different than the PC app OS game of the 80s, the Mobile OS that draws more developers would emerge as a winner.
Though Bil3arabi is a smart move by Nokia, it had a major shortfall: it was not open to individuals and students!! But today Nokia corrected its mistake with an announcement that it is now allowing additional submissions for its Arabic-language mobile applications competition, Calling All Innovators – Bil3arabi, by welcoming individuals as well as companies, and accepting direct submissions from those developers whose apps can not currently be uploaded to Ovi Store!!! Nokia is also giving developers more time, by extending the deadline to 15 November 2009
“Since announcing the competition in June, we have received a lot of feedback from developers, many of them small developers and individuals, including university students, who requested that we accept their participation. Therefore, the Calling All Innovators – Bil3arabi developer competition is now open to all developers and individuals with bold ideas and tremendous talent, including professional and independent developers and university students,” said Wendy Weckstrom, Services Marketing Manager for Ovi Store, MEA.
Nokia should have thought about this decision before starting the competition, if the people behind the competition were reading ArabCrunch they would know that most mobile and web startups in the region are either students or individuals, many doing it on a part time bases, and since we have few mobile app development companies in the Arab world, it would make more sense to open it to the solo crowed.
The party who will create an eco-system for Nokia devices is not companies but small teams, students and individuals; this was the case with iPhone app when it started with solo developers. These are things we understand very well at ArabCrunch DEMO The Launchpad Event for Emerging Technology in the Arab World, which our first version was open to anyone last year, and the next version which will be announced soon will also be open to anyone to submit their applications, actually at ArabCrunch we care more about small teams, individual students and startups who have no or little funding than big and well funded companies, this was clear in the event’s website and all other communicated messages.
Nokia also announced more corrections as Wendy in Nokia’s press release said more interesting stuff, “We can assist registered developers, especially through our Forum Nokia developer program, during the development process by giving them the opportunity to share with us the application and content in progress and we will do our best to support them. The competition also now accepts direct submissions of applications that are ready but not yet Symbian signed or Java verified.”
The competition is open to mobile and web application developers to submit entries for Arabic content in any category within Ovi Store (Applications and Widgets, Video, Personalization, Games, Audio, Flash & Active idle widgets) with a focus on Internet Innovation, Flash, Mobile Games, and social location.
The entries can be submitted to Ovi Store and registered on this website until November 15th 2009 and winners will be announced by December 7th 2009. Criteria for choosing the winner include quality and functionality; uniqueness and innovativeness; usability and creativity; and local relevancy.
Grand prize winner will receive $100,000 USD in cash; “spotlight” placement featuring the winning application for 4 weeks on the top page of Nokia’s Ovi Store; and paid travel to demo the winning application at a Nokia specified event. The winning application will also be reviewed by Nokia for possible preload on future Nokia devices.
Second place will receive $25,000 USD in cash; and “spotlight” placement featuring the winning application for 3 weeks on a relevant category page on Nokia’s Ovi Store.
The remaining top ten submissions will be given the “Judge’s Choice Award,” which will give them a one-year membership in Forum Nokia Launchpad, and enables members to receive access to exclusive resources and support to accelerate mobile application development and elevate developer’s business visibility in the mobile world.