By James Ratemo in CapeTown, South Africa firstname.lastname@example.org
Africa’s mobile app developers have a chance to shine in the global arena in a competition that will see the winner pocket over Sh1.5 million (15,000 euros) cash prize.
Ericsson and Sony Ericsson have partnered with Google to run the competition for application developers in sub-Saharan Africa where local developers have been invited to submit innovative ideas and mobile applications on the Android platform.
Titled ‘Apps for Africa’ the competition is to run under the aegis of the 2012 Ericsson Application Awards (EAA 2012) – an ongoing annual competition for application developers worldwide organized by Ericsson Research.
‘Apps for Africa’ is designed to promote the development of innovative ideas and mobile applications from a variety of environments and situations peculiar to the region.
These are expected to enable new opportunities for people to collaborate, innovate, learn, care and participate in more efficient ways that positively impact environment.
Members of the winning teams in each region (East, Central, Southern and West africa) will each receive a Sony Ericsson Xperia phone, while teams in second place will receive Business Experience Packs (including Sony Ericsson MW600, office pro, McAfee, and a micro USB cable).
“Our objective for Sony Ericsson is to be the preferred choice for Android devices and we’re thrilled that to help reach this objective we’re able to get under the skin of the very platform our handsets perform on by way of an Android Application competition,” said Colin Williamson, Marketing Manager for Sony Ericsson on Tuesday when the competition was unveiled in South Africa.
Similar competition shall be unveiled for Eastern, Western and Central Africa before end of this month.
“As the usage of mobile phones has a direct impact on the way of life in Africa this is a prime example of how technology and innovation are elevating us to new levels of sophistication.
We are anxious to see all of the creative submissions and would like to wish everyone good luck as they take on this challenge,” said Lars Linden, Head of Ericsson, Sub Saharan Africa.
Interested developers are required to register teams of two to four people online at ericssonapplicationawards.com/apps-for-africa before February 01, 2012 and submit either a video of idea or an Android based application that addresses the theme and makes use of at least one Ericsson Labs API (like Mobile Location or Text To Speech) before February 28, 2012.
All application submissions will be automatically entered into the global competition – EAA 2012 – ‘Apps for the Networked Society’, for the chance to win the €15,000 cash prize.
In Ericsson’s latest Traffic and Market Data report, which provides insights into current trends, it forecasts that mobile broadband subscriptions is expected to grow from 900 million in 2011 to almost 5 billion in 2016.
That would represent 60 percent year-on-year growth, at the same time as the data consumed by smartphone users is surging. Total smartphone traffic is expected to triple during 2011.
In an Interview with the Nation Media Group in Cape Town, South Africa ahead of Wednesday’s Africom conference, Ericsson Vice President and Head of Communications Mwambu Wanendeya said the report is based on measurements the company recorded over several years in live networks covering all regions of the world.
The report shows there is a strong momentum for smartphone uptake in all regions and expects traffic generated by advanced smartphones to increase 12-fold to roughly equal mobile PC-generated traffic by 2016.
Head of Mobile, Google South Africa, Mr Brett St Clair called upon Africa’s innovators to concentrate on localized mobile applications to solve African problems.
“There is a huge amount of untapped talent in Africa. Universities are training talents but no one is tapping them. The mobile applications’ industry offers a great opportunity for these talents,” said Mr Brett.
Mr Brett argued that mobile broadband, new smartphone launches and applications uptake will continue to drive data consumption.
He said so far the android app market has over 250,000 applications globally and in 26 countries users are now able to buy the apps either in US dollars or in their local currencies, which is a great boost to mobile app developers.
Mr Mwambu said Ericsson’s presence in more than 180 countries, where it supports more than 1,000 networks, enables it to measure mobile voice and data volumes. The result is a representative base for calculating world total mobile traffic in 2G, 3G, and 4G networks.
The competition is open to students and to small and medium sized enterprises based in Easter, Southern, Central and Westen AfricaAfrica; it has been split into four sub competitions based on location as follows:
Southern Africa for countries – Angola, Botswana, Lesotho, Malawi, Mozambique, Namibia, Saint Helena, Swaziland, South Africa, Zambia, Zimbabwe
Eastern Africa for countries – Burundi, Democratic Republic of Congo, Comoros, Kenya, Madagascar, Mauritius, Mayotte, Réunion, Rwanda, Seychelles, United Republic of Tanzania and Uganda
Central Africa; Central Africa – Burkina Faso, Benin, Cameroon, Cape Verde, Central African Republic, Chad, Republic of the Congo, Côte D’ivoire, Equatorial Guinea, Gabon, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Mali, Niger, Sao Tome and Principe, Senegal, Togo
Western Africa – Gambia, Ghana, Liberia, Nigeria, Sierra Leone
The EAA 2012 awards themed ‘Apps for the Networked Society’, will run till May 2012, the competition provides a unique opportunity for developers to gain exposure within the telecommunications world and a chance to reach out to customers via Ericsson’s distribution channels in addition to the opportunity to win the latest top of the range Sony Ericsson phones and €15,000 in prize money.