Google Announces Sub-Saharan Africa Android Developer Challenge

This just in – it looks like Google is pushing hard to get Africa on board with development for its mobile platform, Android. With Africa’s rate of smartphone adoption looking positive in future, I think its a smart move from the search giant.
Every day more than 300,000 Android devices are activated globally. A growing number of these mobile device activations are in markets across Africa, making local African mobile content more relevant and important than ever before. In recognition of this, Google today announced its Google Android Developer Challenge, inviting talented and creative developers in sub-Saharan Africa to design and build original Android applications for mobile phones that will delight users.
Categories for entries include entertainment, media and games; social networking and communications; and productivity, tools and lifestyle. Winners will each receive an Android phone and $25,000 (USD).
“œIn the past year alone, we have met with over 10,000 developer and techies across sub-Saharan Africa. We are continually impressed by the ingenuity and enthusiasm of this community to solve real problems with technology, “ says Bridgette Sexton, Programme Manager at Google. “œAt every Google event in Africa, Android is the most popular topic – as Android users multiply, so does the appeal for developers to build apps on this free open source platform.“
Participants can submit applications via the challenge website by 1st July 2011. The winning application will be announced on 12th September 2011.
Google will be hosting two exciting Android events in Cape Town  (3rd May) and Johannesburg (4th May) in collaboration with Google Technology User Groups (GTUGs). New Android developments and insights will be discussed along with the opportunities Android holds for application developers and consumers in South Africa. Go here to register.
Google is clearly trying to make some innovation inroads in Africa – first with the startup incubator Umbono, and now focussing on mobile. Lets hope this can help to stop the mobile phone brand obsession in Africa – or maybe just shift that attention away from Blackberry. With the pace of Android growth worldwide, it might not be that difficult though.