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Apps are important. Hell we think they’re the future of the internet. It seems Vodacom is increasingly recognising their importance too.
The mobile operator has announced the winners of its App Star Challenge — a competition aimed at providing developers with the opportunity to develop apps designed specifically for the South African market.
The competition is an initiative of it own app store, which has been operational since September 2011, and its Developer Programme.
Vodacom claims that the store, which is the first developed by a South African network operator, was created with the “express intention” of spurring “the development of a local app industry, creating apps relevant to the unique environment in South Africa as well as creating jobs and income opportunities at the same time”.
According to Managing Executive of Digital Media at Vodacom Prins Mhlanga, the store has grown exponentially since its launch:
“The Vodacom App Store itself is booming and has exceeded all expectations. We’re thrilled that we’ve hit one million downloads in less than six months of launch. But the real challenge has been to realise the ambition of kick-starting an entirely new industry in South Africa. We had to find a way to support and nurture talent and also celebrate the success stories.”
The App Star Challenge is an important part of supporting that talent. According to Mhlanga:
“We couldn’t just set a challenge without giving the contestants a platform, incentives and support required for developers to focus on the task of creating some truly unique apps.”
The first prize winner, Kishyr Ramdial developed an astonishing Radiopod, an Android App which offers radio podcast for local radio stations. The second prize winner, Dr David Vanucci developed Mobiraba, an Android App of the traditional African board game, Morabaraba. Glenn Stein who won the third prize developed PhraZApp, a Java App which translates South African languages. All three winners will launch their apps on the Vodacom App store.
All three apps will be launched on the app store.
“We’re truly delighted with the success of the App Star Challenge. We have seen great local talent come to the fore and we’re excited about the income opportunities that lie ahead for the developers,” Mhlanga added.
Vodacom claims that it will continue to provide competition-style incentives for developers through monthly app competitions. These competitions are ongoing and will run until 31 July.
During this period, Vodacom will recognise the developers with the coolest App of the month and the popular App with most downloads.