Windows 8 App Contest

Just days ago Microsoft held an official event showing off the BETA version of upcoming Marketplace. At this event there was a focus on pricing, scheduled launch of the beta for Windows App Market, and most notably the announcement of an official “First App Contest”.

Essentially the program is designed in order to lure developers into developing top notch apps in order for their app to be one of the first apps featured on the store. So what is Microsoft looking for out of these apps? The eight finalists will be chosen based on the app that has the best use of the METRO UI and provides an overall excellent Windows 8 experience.

We also know that these developers are using “Windows Developer Preview” for their hard work developing these early apps. I’ve commented on more than one occasion that WDP is really rather stable for a pre-BETA, but this actually makes a lot of sense now that I think about it.

It is stable because Microsoft planned to not have the store out until the BETA arrived, but by the time the Beta did arrive they wanted a selection of apps to properly show off the store. This may seem as a bit of a “duh” factor, but honestly I never really thought about it a whole lot.

So we know that for x86 development users will be using Windows Developer Preview, but what about ARM?

Part of the rules behind submitting apps has to do with either making one app that works on both x86/ARM or creating two apps for each version of the processor. In other words, you can’t just develop an app for x86 or ARM, Microsoft wants every app to work with x86 and ARM. I’m really glad to hear this, as it will keep the market from being further fragmented.

While I’m glad for the requirement for ARM and x86, this makes you wonder how developers participating in this program can know for sure that their x86-designed apps will also work with ARM since there is no ARM version unless you are lucky enough to have a developer slate already?

The idea from what I gather is that if you are chosen as a finalist you will be given a ‘special build’ of Windows to finalize your app for the market. This is likely a special slate running the ARM version of Windows BETA (not Windows Developer Preview).

Those who chose to participate in the contest has the chance to win the following:

  • A Samsung Windows Developer Tablet.
  • One year of Windows Azure for free.
  • A two-year subscription to the store to continue improving your apps.

Finalists will be notified on January 15th , and those the final round will begin which runs from January 16th to February 3rd.

Overall, for those who like tinkering with App development, this program is a pretty cool incentive, especially the Samsung Slate. The slate in question runs about $1200-$1400 on eBay just for the hardware alone. The special slate you receive will also include a keyboard and dock, too.

What do you think of the app contest?

Any of our readers participating in the event? Share your thoughts below!

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