The hottest product at CES this year was the Ultrabook, a new category of devices that brings together the performance and capabilities of today’s laptops with tablet-like features.
Ultrabook devices deliver a highly responsive and secure experience in a thin, light and elegant design at mainstream prices.
Mobile app developers can improve the experience users have with their apps by taking advantage of the high-quality screen and keyboard, and the faster processor and better graphics performance.
Developers who come from a traditional PC or netbook background can benefit from the touch capabilities and improved portability, creating new usage models for work and play. Major manufacturers including Acer, Asus, Toshiba, Samsung, LG and Lenovo have launched or announced an Ultrabook line of products.
When London is tested to its limits this summer by the Olympics, the key to having a good experience will be to have the right information at the right time.
The perfect medium for that is the app, and that’s why a competition has been created called ‘Race for Apps’ to crowd-source mobile apps for those visiting East London over the summer.
Of course, one of the challenges with developing apps today is which platform to develop for, and how to ensure that your device works across different platforms.
Historically, we know that the early apps on any given platform do disproportionately well, and the support for HTML5 on Ultrabook devices makes them a logical first choice of development platform.
Apps can be created to run on the Ultrabook for an optimal experience that combines the best of the desktop and the best of mobile, and can then be tailored for other devices, such as smart phones.
You can sell your apps for Ultrabooks through the Intel AppUp developer program, which is a partner of Race for Apps.
Intel will be providing a HTML5 workshop to Race for Apps participants and sponsoring a prize fund of £10,000 for the best HTML5 Ultrabook apps.
Here’s how you can take part:
• Pick a category of app for the app you’d like to create. There are four left to choose from: making connections (for connecting like-minded people), citizen journalism (for apps that help document the story of Hackney and East London), fun and games, and wildcard (anything else for visitors and members of the East London community). At the time of writing, there are no spaces left for the ‘finding your way’ category (for exploring Hackney and East London, virtually or in real life).
• Complete an application form, including a two-page description of your app idea. It doesn’t matter whether your app is finished or just a concept at this stage.
• It’s a race, so the first eight submissions in each category that meet the quality standard required will pass to the finals.
• In the finals, the entrants get to meet tech investors, partners and mentors to help them realise their app by April 2012. Data sets will also be made available for the local area to help you integrate up-to-date information in your app. You can develop for any platform, but as I mentioned, HTML5 apps for Ultrabooks qualify for a £10,000 prize fund.
• In April, the judges will consider all the apps and award Gold, Silver and Bronze medals.
Despite the categories, there is lots of creative freedom in the app you create. The fun and games category is fairly open-ended, although gaming apps that reference East London would be closer to the spirit of the competition.
The wildcard category means that you don’t have to worry about your app fitting in to one of the other categories if you really have come up with a brand new app concept, although it does still need to be relevant to visitors and locals in East London.
If you’re creating apps for the new category of Ultrabooks, then there’s a whole world of apps to invent, fully exploiting the high quality screen and keyboard.
If you want to take part, you need to act fast. Application forms and app outlines must be submitted by Thursday 26th January, and only the first eight in each category will qualify.
Visit the Race for Apps website to find out more. Remember, you don’t need to have a finished app yet. You only need to put in your proposal now, and you have time over the following months to create your app, perhaps drawing on some of the resources that will be made available to competitors.
Ready to race? On your marks, get set, go!
This blog post is written by Softtalkmobile, and is sponsored by the Intel AppUp developer program, a single channel for distributing apps to multiple devices, multiple operating systems, and multiple app stores.