We’ve know for a while that that apps are the key driver in the mobile industry today, driving the demand for devices and network time. The big players in the industry recognize that too, so are constantly on the lookout for new mobile applications that meet the requirements and imagination of their customers.
There are a variety of entry points to get you and your app noticed, including the AT&T Open Call Contest whose deadline for entry is Tuesday, March 8, 2011. Get your app in now so you don’t miss out on this opportunity.
Here’s why we like this contest. Not only is it a great way to get noticed in front of the right decision makers at AT&T, they and some of their partners who participate in the judging (I was a judge last year and will be again this year), offer alot of advice and connections. So even just getting a judging/pitch time is a big win! There are over 100 spots open – so lots of opportunity!
We had an opportunity to speak with Andrea Morton the Senior Marketing Manager of the AT&T Developer Program to get some additional information. You’ve probably seen Andrea attending a number of Dev conferences over the last year (including the AT&T Summit), and she is always a bright spark with a keen desire to support developers.
WIP: So what are AT&T’s objectives of hosting this Open Call?
AM: We definitely want more great apps to feature in our App Store. Hosting Open Call gives us the opportunity to see the innovation coming from mobile developers. It is always exciting to see what is new, what new features they have come up with, what APIs they are working with, and where the trends are in our industry.
We really admire the hard work and creativity of the developers and we always get surprised and in awe of what they can come up with it! For that reason, we also want to use these sessions to help developers make decisions about their application and business. Getting the right advice is crucial to success.
WIP: How exactly does Open Call work?
AM: First developers have to apply by the deadline date! (March 8). We then choose over 100 developers to meet us at CTIA in Orlando for a Pitch session. Each Developer gets a 10 minute session with 3 to 4 judges who score the pitch based on a grading system we use.
During the 10 minute session, 5 minutes are for the actual ‘pitch’ and 5 minutes for a Q & A session with the judging panel. Developers are provided with a PowerPoint template to coordinate their pitch.
A few developers will be called back for Final Pitches, and then a Winner and Runner-Up are announced per category.
WIP: 3-4 judges, that sounds a little intimidating!
AM: Not at all. I really want to emphasize that we want to support developers as much as possible. The pitch session are not a one way street of just the developer put on the spot. Most developers find the session to be really relaxing as we have a nice group of judges who provide as much value to the developer on ways they can improve their app, suggestions for distribution, how to focus on a nice and differentiate themselves. It’s really a collaborate approach to providing value for everyone.
WIP: What types of apps are you looking for this round?
AM: We have 4 main categories.
Social Good is the one I am most excited about as it is a key initiative for AT&T this year. We are looking for apps in a range of ‘social goodness’ from more green apps focused on sustainability or energy reduction; to apps that directly help the disabled and mature customers we have.
It’s helpful for developers to keep in mind there are a number of ways Social Good can be implemented into an existing app. For instance, GoSub60, a game developer won the contest last year. They had created a system inside a game (Sudoku Deluxe 2) where the user could win points to plant real trees!
Other categories include:
Gaming – but specific to using the OpenFeint Platform. We’ve chosen the OpenFeint because it allows Android developers to create games that can introduce social gaming, make games/apps more interactive and drive traffic to apps through cross-community and cross-carrier platforms
HTML5 is another category and we also have an ‘Open’ category that is open to anything!
WIP: I really like the sound of the feedback portion of the sessions, but are you sweetening the pot with any cash? :-) The cash component is really important to developers too.
AM: You bet. We are giving away $40k in total, as each winner in the four categories each get $10k.
WIP: Is their other support you provide to developers post Open Call?
AM: Don’t forget we also have 95 million potential customers for our developers too. Key for us is to get these apps in the hands of our customers so we work closely with the winners after Open Call to get their apps ready for distribution. Note too, we also work with the other Open Call developers. Just because they weren’t the top winner, if the app has merit, we definitely want to engage with the developers to provide go to market support and get into the AT&T App Center.
WIP: Any advice to the developers who will be pitching at Open Call?
AM: Make sure your first 20-30 seconds in the pitch captures the judges attention. Be yourself, and remember we are here to help make you a success because it is in our best interest too!
I have to mention good UI too – that is huge! The apps that really do well have spent alot of time making sure that the user experience is superb.
WIP: Sounds great – I can’t wait to see what gets submitted. Anything else we need to know?
AM: Well what would a great contest be without a great party? To top things off we are hosting a party on the last night of CTIA, Thursday, March 24 at 6pm. So be sure to stick around for the fun. It is right after the WIPJam session, so a great way to wrap CTIA!