Don't Have VC Money? There's Contests Galore For Mobile Apps

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In the race to build the biggest and best application store in mobile, a number of handset makers, operators are hosting a contests that will reward winners with cold-hard cash and other prizes if they build great ideas for their platform.

Currently underway are contests by Google (NSDQ: GOOG), Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT), BlackBerry and Verizon Wireless (NYSE: VZ), offering about $2.7 million in cash and prizes. While the prize money isn’t a true substitution for venture capital money, and could be considered a distraction by some companies, these contests typically have very few strings attached. Plus, the winners usually get a ton of free marketing exposure.

The details on each contest are after the jump…(if I’m missing any, be sure to add them to the comments).

Google: Google is awarding a total of 33 awards for a total of $1,975,000. There’s 10 categories, including social networking and travel, and three overall categories. The grand prize winner will receive $250,000.
–Due: Aug. 31.
— More information: Android Developer Challenge.

BlackBerry Partners Fund: The BlackBerry Partners Fund is awarding up to $125,000, which will doled out to a grand prize winner and a runner-up. Winners will also get favorable placement in the App World, a free smartphone and the grand prize winner has a chance to receive investment from BlackBerry Partners Fund.
— Due: Sept. 25, 2009.
— More info: Developer Challenge 2009.

Verizon Wireless: Verizon Wireless is launching its own App store later this year called V CAST Apps. In support of it, they are hosting their own developer contest, which will award a total of $125,000. The Grand prize winner will get $50,000 cash; the people’s choice winner will get $25,000 and five category winners will get $10,000 each. In addition to the cash, most of the prizes come with additional marketing. Verizon will also pay the grand prize winner 200 percent of the actual revenues the app makes during the first year it’s available.
— Due: Sept. 20, 2009.
— More info: Verizon’s ApplyYourIdeas.

Microsoft: Microsoft is the only one not handing out cash for its “Race to Market Challenge,” ahead of the launch of its Windows Marketplace for Mobile storefront. Instead, it will be awarding four winners a Microsoft Surface table, which has a touch interface. The unit has an approximate retail value of $20,000. If the table is not available in the country you reside in, Microsoft will award cash.
— Due: Dec. 31, 2009.
— More Info: Race To Market Challenge.

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