Budding Zimbabwean app developers will see their unique ideas for SMS-based mobile applications launched to more than three quarters of the country’s 7.7 million mobile subscribers. A new app competition launching next week at a JumpStart Community meeting at the Harare Club will enable winning developers to earn revenue from their apps, which will be launched across Econet Wireless Zimbabwe’s network of 6 million subscribers.
The ForgetMeNot Africa eTXT Apps Challenge – in partnership with developer community Jumpstart, leading Zimbabwean weblog TechZim and mobile operator Econet – encourages developers to create new apps and games that are particularly attractive to Zimbabwean mobile users.
Using ForgetMeNot Africa’s unique Optimiser Platform – which currently supports internet-free Facebook, email and online chat via Econet’s eTXT service – entrants can develop apps that reach users of all handsets via two-way SMS, from first generation mobile phones to the latest smartphone. Developers can use any programming language for their entry.
Winning entrants will win up to three iPads along with $2,000 seed capital to develop their ideas and, if successful, their apps will be launched to Econet’s 6 million mobile subscribers, from which they will receive an ongoing revenue share.
To submit their ideas developers must first become members of the Jumpstart community, then register on the ForgetMeNot Africa Developers’ Platform. Once developers have created their app they can submit it onto the Econet eTXT Platform.
After an initial development period, the best app ideas will be shortlisted and developers will attend a Test Drive Final in May, where they will receive mentoring from ForgetMeNot Africa experts to fine tune their ideas. They will then present a business plan and code for their app to a panel of judges, who will choose the winners.
The launch of the competition follows the success of ForgetMeNot Africa’s Kipokezi Apps Challenge in Kenya. This inspired developers to submit unique app ideas for Kenyan mobile users, including a traffic information app, a treasure hunt game and an app that provided football fans the latest information on the Kenyan Premier League.
Jeremy George, Chief Operating Officer at ForgetMeNot Africa, said: “Our recent Apps Challenge in Kenya was a huge success with some truly unique and innovative ideas submitted. Zimbabwe also has a wealth of developer talent and we want to give them the same opportunity to earn revenue from their ideas. We are giving developers the chance to bring their ideas for unique apps or games that are useful, fun and highly relevant to Zimbabwean mobile users.”
ForgetMeNot Africa’s technology is already available to Econet’s entire subscriber base through its eTXT service, which launched in April 2011. This launch more than doubled access to internet messaging in Zimbabwe. Previously only one in eight
Zimbabweans (1.4 million people) had access to the internet, but the launch of eTXT provided all Econet subscribers with access to Facebook, email and online chat on even the most basic mobile handsets.
The competition will be launched at the JumpStart Community event at the Harare Club on Tuesday, March 27. ForgetMeNot Africa founder John Carroll will speak at the event, and will be running workshops to assist developers the next day.