Android Developer Challenge 2!

google_io_091Google, as part of Google I/O, made a preliminary announcement of the Android Developer Challenge 2 (ADC2). While the full terms and conditions won’t be available until next month, here are some highlights of the changes.

First, rather than 50 winners, there will only be 30, spread across 10 categories. However, the prizes are also smoothed out, so 10 will win $25,000, and the others will win more. There are also three grand prizes granted to the best apps across all categories, so the top winner overall will win $250,000. The categorization scheme also means more balance – we will not run into situations where games win all the prizes, for example.

This is important because the public plays a major role in choosing the winners. Anyone with an Android device will be able to download a judging application and cast their votes for the best apps. There is also a Google-selected panel of judges who contribute to the overall vote, and one hopes they have means of dealing with ballot stuffing.

There will be a narrow window in which to submit applications – a few weeks sometime in August. Then, judging commences, going through two rounds, one for all apps, and a second round only for the top 20 apps per category.

One big limitation is that the apps submitted to the contest must be new. They cannot have been published before (free or paid), nor can they be updated editions of ADC 1 entries. Since judges include the public, and judges get the apps for free, anyone wishing to enter an app in the contest that will eventually have a price tag will need to actually submit some sort of time-limited trial edition, which adds some complexity.

The tight timeframe and the new-apps-only policy means many potential teams will be scrambling to try to get their apps put together in time. However, since the public has a major role in the voting, there is less emphasis this time on maximizing the breadth of Android features that the apps must use.

The overall contest ends in November, with the announcement of the 30 winners.

So, for all of you interested in vying for prize money: ladies and gentlemen, start your editors!