Google has announced the fifty winners of the Android Developer Challenge Round 1, each of whom wins a $25,000 award to fund further development, and the chance to be put forward for ten $275,000 awards and ten $100,000 awards in round 2.
Winning applications include a number based on the underlying maps functionality, which isn’t surprising given this is one of the core features of Android upon which developers can build, plus GPS-based social networking services (find your friends, for example), a biometric authentication system, instant messaging services, educational software, and online information resources.
As Android is just the operating system, some of these applications will rely on handset manufacturers building in the relevant hardware to make them work. For example, the biometric iris scanner will only work on phones with a built-in camera; software which relies on your position will only function with a GPS unit.
It’s pretty encouraging stuff, with over 1,700 applications submitted and perused by over 100 judges, many who are members of the Open Handset Alliance which developed the Android platform.