Vodafone Mobile Clicks contest uncovers hot apps

App Store

London-based network operator Vodafone announced Monday the three winners of its Mobile Clicks 2011 contest. The top three mobile startup app makers shared both a total of €225,000 ($306,716 USD) in winnings and the common them of mobile Internet enabling real-time activities and information through smartphones and wireless connectivity.

The similarity ends there, however: All three of the winning apps couldn’t possibly be more different, highlighting the wide spectrum of functionality across today’s smartphone application economy. Here’s a quick summary of the top software picks from Vodafone’s Mobile Clicks competition that brought in more than 200 entries:

  • Winner of €150,000: FrogTek. This point-of-sale inventory app leverages the camera of an Android smartphone to read product barcodes and help small shopkeepers in developing nations to manage product stock.
  • Runner up for €50,000: ParcelGenie. Instant gifting is the premise behind this mobile software. Users select a gift from a catalog of 300 different options — such as chocolates or wine, for example — and the recipient receives an SMS alert to expect delivery by the next day.
  • Runner up for €25,000: Wunderlist. This cross-platform task management system doesn’t surprise me as a winner. Earlier this month, I highlighted Wunderlist as my to-do app of choice due to support for multiple mobile platforms, effective task entry and advanced sharing features.

As much opportunity and reward as there is in the growing app economy, there’s also risk involved; you can’t simply create an app and hope to retire on the profits within in a year. Application discovery is a challenge when a single software title is competing with literally hundreds of thousands other apps. Funding is needed to stay in business to pay resources and help get the word out. And of course, developers need to supplement their solid business plan with an application idea that people are going to want on their handset.

I’m likely understating the challenge that most mobile app developers face, so maybe a better idea is to share this Mobile Clicks video from Vodafone. In it, you’ll see the tough questions posed by the mobile app jury causing developers to think on their feet during an app presentation. Our own mobile app competition, known as Launchpad, takes place later this month at Mobilize and our judges will be surely be posing some similar questions to our 10 chosen finalists.

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