Location apps shine in Google Android contest

Judging from the results of the Android Developer Challenge, you can expect to find at least one location-based application in the upcoming Google Android phone.
Written by Victoria Ho, Contributor
Expect there to be at least one application incorporating location-based services in the upcoming Google Android phone.

In accordance with the recent interest around location-based services, a wave of such applications made it through to the first round of judging for Google's new mobile platform, in the Android Developer Challenge.

The search giant received 1,788 submissions that were reviewed by some 100 judges and last week gave $25,000 apiece to the 50 projects that made it through this first round of judging.

According to Google's Android developer blog, the second round will begin after the second half of the year, when the first handsets built on the platform are expected. Round two will pick the top 20 projects, which will compete for 10 $275,000 awards and 10 $100,000 awards.

Speaking with ZDNet Asia, Huang Liang, one of the competition hopefuls, based in China, said his application, Follow Me, would tag user feedback to points on Google Maps using the device's GPS chip, allowing users to "share location-specific experiences". Huang said ease of use is most important in ensuring consumer uptake. Pitted against Microsoft Windows Mobile and Symbian devices, which are both popular in China, Android needs to beat them on usability to be accepted, Huang added.

Among the winners of the first round are several applications which mash up photographs and mapping services. Beetaun is "a social network around geographical content", according to its developers. BreadCrumbz allows routes to be mapped based on photographs.

Another two winning applications use location-based services to track people. According to its developers, "Commandro shows where your friends really are and what they're doing at the moment". LifeAware helps parents track children.

According to Google, a second Android Developer Challenge is expected later this year, and those who didn't make it through this first round will be able to resubmit their entries.

Analyst house Gartner in February of this year predicted that the mainstream adoption of location-based services will happen between two and five years from now.

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