Google announced the winners of the Android Developer Challenge I, a contest that awarded cash prizes to the most innovative and promising applications designed for the upcoming mobile OS, Android. The ten top teams received $275,000 and 10 other teams received $100,000. The ADC Gallery lists all the winners as well as the finalists.Yesterday,
Although Google has already named their winners, we decided to browse through the gallery to find the apps that we're most excited to use. Some of the apps, like for example, cab4me, may have been declared a winner, but we know not everyone lives in a major metropolitan area where hailing a taxi is a part of everyday life. Instead, we picked out some apps that have more universal appeal. They are as follows:
The App That Backs Up Our Contacts: PhoneBook 2.0
An app that backs up your contacts for you to a remote server can give you piece of mind in case your phone is ever lost or stolen. However, the app isn't just a backup tool. PhoneBook 2.0 combines mobile social networking with your address book to let you share your mood, location, and photos with your friends.
The App That Keeps Us From Getting Lost: BreadCrumbz
Sure, sure, the phone has Google Maps, but BreadCrumbz is even better. Instead of getting directions, you get picture-based routes so you know to turn at that huge oak tree or the building with the blue awning. Your friends can make routes for you and record them with the camera and GPS.
There are not one, but two, apps that basically do the same thing: compare prices and save us money. Using the camera, you can "scan" the barcode of an item by snapping a picture. The app will then comparison shop for you. You can read online reviews and even create price alerts if the price drops. CompareEverywhere also lets you use the GPS to find nearby stores and then call them directly.
The App That Lets Us Store Files in the Cloud: Teradesk e-Storage
This one wasn't a grand prize winner, but looks like a handy app to have around. With Teradesk, you can store files in the cloud with file transfers that allow for pause control, resume, and full recovery of broken transfers. You can share files with friends via Bluetooth and MMS and the app even integrates with Google Docs.
The App That Keeps Us Informed: Life360
There were several of these "alerting" apps, but only one that won the grand prize. Life360 is an app that sends you messages from your family and local community. You can be alerted to a danger in the community (rabid dog on the loose!), but you can also just receive messages from family, too (mom's running late today). This is a personalized alert system that displays only the messages you need to hear.
The App That Lets Us IM And Blog: Maverick
No Google phone would be complete without an app that lets us use GoogleTalk to IM our friends. Maverick lets you exchange messages, location, and multimedia content in the form of audio clips, photos and scribbles (drawings created on the mobile phone) with other Maverick clients, Gtalk users, or iChat users. You can also use the app to publish content to Blogger.
Another case of having two great apps - this time, for music. TuneWiki won the grand prize with their social music maps that displays audio, video, and lyrics. You can also use the GPS to see what other people are playing nearby in real-time. Although only a finalist, Diggin looks interesting, too. This app lets you listen to thousands of streaming radio stations and downloads the album art for what you're listening to automatically.
The App That Lets Us Whiteboard With Colleagues: ShareYourBoard
Did your co-worker miss the meeting? Now you can get them up to speed with ShareYourBoard. Designed specifically to capture and enhance whiteboard images with edge detection, geometry transformations and image enhancement, ShareYourBoard takes great pics in any angle, any lighting, and with any type of whiteboard or markers used.
The App That Tells Our Phone How To Behave: Locale
Maybe you shouldn't have those rockin' ringtones turned on at the office...and perhaps that wallpaper is a bit inappropriate, too. Instead of having to adjust your profiles yourself, you can use an app that knows how to do so automatically. Using Android's built-in GPS, Locale will let you set up "Situations" (like At Work, At Home, In a Meeting, etc) which you can have automatically triggered by setting conditions like location (via the GPS), time, or other conditions which you add. The app can then adjust your ringtone, wallpaper, and other settings automatically.
The App That Scans Our Eyeball and Saves Our Passwords: BioWallet
Honestly we wouldn't care what this app did, but it happens to be a "safe wallet" that stores sensitive information (passwords, certificates, documents, conversations, notes, pictures, etc.). The info can only be accessed through iris or handwritten signature based authentication. Oh come on! It does retina scanning! We didn't get an Android phone to play space monkey games, now did we? This one delivers pure geek cred.