Design a Blackberry app and vie for a $10,000 prize

Image representing Research In Motion as depic...
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By Alex Wright – Royal Gazette


Looking for apps: M3 Wireless COO Michael Beckles, Bryan Sklar of RIM, Telecommunications Minister Terry Lister, CellularOne marketing manager Diana Winfield and Digicel CEO Wayne Caines launch the App-ti-tude competition.
Photo: Glenn Tucker

Software developers and entrepreneurs will have the chance to showcase their talents thanks to a new competition to create an application for a BlackBerry smart phone launched by Government yesterday.

The Ministry of Energy, Telecommunications and E-Commerce in partnership with Research in Motion (RIM), and local carriers CellularOne, Digicel and M3 Wireless unveiled the “App-ti-tude” contest at a conference held at the Bermuda Underwater Exploration Institute.

Entrants are invited to develop and submit applications that are Bermuda-focused and in one of three categories, including Government and business or consumer applications/lifestyle and games, while developers under 25 can enter the youth category.

Telecommunications Minister Terry Lister reckons that the competition will boost the number of local-based applications available to the 94 percent of Bermuda households which own a cell phone.

“Although we are a small island, 94 percent penetration in cell phone ownership is extremely high and makes a statement all by itself,” he said.

“One might ask why in a country with such high penetration is there a lack of locally-based applications for smart phones.

“In other jurisdictions you can do online banking, find restaurants and shops, listen to local and international radio broadcasts and get the latest news on your mobile device.

“There is no reason why we cannot have the same in Bermuda.”

The overall winner will receive a free trip to the 2009 BlackBerry Developer Conference in San Francisco, California, which runs between November 9 and 11, with the winning entries in the government and business, and consumer/lifestyle and games categories picking up $10,000, and the youth category winner scooping $5,000.

The competition has a closing date for entries of July 24 and a submission deadline of September 18, and is open to all Bermuda residents, as well as Bermudians and Bermudian students who live abroad, while entries can be submitted individually or as a team.

Bryan Sklar, sales engineer at RIM, believes that the competition is the next step in the development of Bermuda’s telecommunications industry, with the Island ranked the number one country for Broadband Internet penetration and 17th in the world in e-readiness, above the likes of Japan, Taiwan, France and Israel. “As a supporting partner in the App-ti-tude competition, Research in Motion is looking forward to seeing the solutions that are created by Bermudians: perhaps a mobile version of eMoo, or the ability to pay customs and duties with your BlackBerry when you land, or paying your bills or for groceries with your BlackBerry — the only limit is your own imagination,” he said.

“We are looking to tap into the Bermuda talent pool to create solutions that can be used either locally or globally.

“Bermuda is the first country to sponsor such an event, we hope it becomes a model of success going forward for others within the region, and we wish every participant good luck.”

Diana Winfield, marketing and distribution manager at CellularOne, said: “There are so many Bermudians that have such amazing ideas — it is like a melting pot of brains in this country and they are all so enthusiastic and have taken to the BlackBerry because it is a such a new and innovative product which they want to use.”

Michael Beckles, chief operating officer at M3 Wireless, said: “This BlackBerry application development contest is a step in the right direction for Bermuda.”

Wayne Caines, CEO of Digicel, said: “Digicel Bermuda is pleased to be a part of this worthy project that will stimulate Blackberry innovation in Bermuda.

“The idea of having the next greatest BlackBerry application being born in Bermuda is exciting and we are looking forward to seeing what our local talents will produce.”

A free developers boot camp led by a BlackBerry developer from Canada will be held on Saturday June 20.

For more information about the competition and the boot camp visit www.apptitude.bm


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