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Nokia, AT&T contest aims to lure app developers

Nokia teams up with AT&T to launch contest offering cash and prizes to developers who can design the best apps for Nokia handsets.

Lance Whitney Contributing Writer
Lance Whitney is a freelance technology writer and trainer and a former IT professional. He's written for Time, CNET, PCMag, and several other publications. He's the author of two tech books--one on Windows and another on LinkedIn.
Lance Whitney
2 min read


Nokia is dangling a new incentive to try to win over more app developers: a total of $10 million in cash and prizes.

Together with AT&T, the mobile phone maker announced today the "2010 Calling All Developers: North America" contest, which will challenge developers from around the world to create apps for North American Nokia consumers.

Any app submitted by participating developers will be available in Nokia's Ovi Store, where it will be judged by both Nokia and AT&T. But consumers will also play a part in picking a winner, as apps that receive the greatest number of downloads will be among the top candidates. Prize winners will also get more than $6 million from Nokia and AT&T to promote their apps in the North American market.

Developers who want to compete have until January 28 to submit their apps in any of the more than 17 different categories. Three winners will be chosen from each category, while both a single general app and a single game will be crowned as the grand prize winners. Developers who win in their category will take home $150,000, while grand prize winners will get an additional $100,000 each.

To provide a helping hand, Nokia and AT&T are hosing a free Developer Day in San Francisco on October 5, where the companies will show developers the Qt and Nokia Web Runtime and Java tools. Anyone who attends the sessions will also receive a free Nokia N8 developer pack.

Though Nokia commands the top share for mobile phones around the world, it's had a tough time trying to make a dent in the U.S., where it holds only a 3 percent share. Nokia execs even admitted at their recent Nokia World conference that the company has failed to understand the U.S. market and has focused on its global business at the expense of the U.S.

The Ovi Store has also been criticized for its lack of killer apps and for its unfriendly interface, making it difficult for Nokia smartphone owners to find the apps they want. Even the Ovi Music Store, which is available in many countries throughout Europe, has yet to open its doors in North America.

Nokia has vowed to improve its standing in the U.S. and North American markets.