IBM wants to put the power of Watson in your hand

And it's betting mobile developers can make it happen.

IBM kicked off the Watson Mobile Developer Challenge this week in a bid to bring the supercomputer Watson to your mobile device. 

The aim of the three-month competition is to woo talented developers (in many cases away from startups and other competitors) to help IBM transform Watson from a revenue-generating disappointment to a division that will generate $10 billion in annual revenue within 10 years.

Developers have been invited to create mobile apps that use Watson's cognitive computing engine. 

Watson was developed to understand the complexities of human language by "reading" millions of pages of data in seconds and improve its own performance by learning. Typically mobile and desktop applications don't have the computing power to handle this natural language processing. IBM changed that by hosting Watson as a cloud service that applications can access via API.

IBM launched a business unit for its Watson supercomputer in January with a $100 million venture-capital fund in a bid to create more apps built on the technology. The developer competition, which was announced at Mobile World Congress this week, aims to accelerate the company's quest for sophisticated cognitive apps that change the ways consumers and business interact with data on their mobile devices. 

Three winners will be accepted in the Watson Ecosystem program and will work with IBM's global consulting practice IBM Interactive Experience to receive design consulting and support from the company's experts to develop a viable commercial app. 

From IBM Senior Vice President Mike Rhodin:
Imagine a new class of apps that deliver deep insights to consumers and business users instantly—wherever they are—over the cloud.
More than 1,500 people and organizations have contacted IBM to share their ideas for developing cognitive computing apps, IBM said in a release. The company said developers have already created Watson apps that will go to market this year.

Below is a graphic from IBM outlining the potential for mobile devices:
IBM MobileFirst datagram.png

Thumbnail photo: IBM's Blue Cloud

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