Location-based apps dominate Android

Round One of the Google mobile platform developer challenge is over, with a number of location-based applications making the cut.

Expect there to be at least one application incorporating location-based services in the upcoming Android phone.

Along with the recent interest toward location-based services, a wave of such applications have made it through to the first round of judging for Google's new mobile platform.

The search giant received 1,788 submissions that were reviewed by some 100 judges, and last week gave US$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 twenty who will compete for 10 US$275,000 awards and 10 US$100,000 awards.

Huang Liang, one of the competition hopefuls based in China who spoke with ZDNet Asia, said his application, called Follow Me, would tag user feedback to points on Google Maps using the device's GPS (global positioning system) 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 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 used 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 the first round can resubmit their entries.

Analyst house Gartner in February this year estimated the mainstream adoption of location-based services to happen between two to five years from now.