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Jonathan Erickson

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The Best Widget Doesn't Always Win

April 29, 2009

Since Forum Nokia didn't ask me to be a judge, I don't have a lot to say -- but I'll say this anyway: I liked Marco Lobb's "Shoppy" widget, which came in second place at Nokia's 24-hour Hackathon, better than David  Guerrero's first place "Rocket" widget. 

I'll grant you that the competition was grueling -- a 24-hour event where a group of developers raced against the clock to build widgets. The contest held in association with Forum Nokia's Calling All Innovators  competition took place between 28-29 April in Monaco at the Nokia Developer Summit. The lab where the development teams worked was awash in unwashed coffee cups and empty soda bottles. (Okay, but where was the Jolt?) All in all, more than 1300 submissions were received by Nokia, a list eventually culled to the top 10:

  • David Emmanuel Castro Guerrero (Mexico) - Social Location Widget
  • Marco Lobb (Italy) - Shopping List Widget
  • Bruce Hopkins (USA) - Travel Planner
  • Eric Liu (Canada) - Location Based Sightseeing/Events
  • Andrew Clarke (UK) - Price Comparison Widget
  • Gabriel Hall (Canada) - The World Around Me
  • Daniel Kleine-Albers (Germany) - Location Based Public Transport
  • Porfirio Busto BenÃtez (Paraguay) - Now On TV!
  • Dmytriy Kovbasyuk (Canada) - Fuel-Up!
  • Tuba Tig (Turkey) - What Is Your Favourite Food?
From this list, the top 3 finalists were David Guerrero, Marco Lobb, and Bruce Hopkins.

Not that Guerrero's app wasn't good, but what I liked about Lobb's widget was that it is something I could use, especially the part that lets you share the list with someone else and add photos of products to the list. What was particularly cool is that the Web Runtime, a tool that contestants were required to use, doesn't support the use of photos that Lobb implemented. In other words, Lobb delivered a true hack in the real spirit of programming.  Rocket, on the other hand, is a social location widget that shows the nearest three friends in any given place.

But the judges who count felt otherwise. For his winning app, Guerrero received a cheque for a lot of Euros and  a new Nokia N97 pre-loaded with his widget on the home screen.  Moreover the application will have prime status on the homepage of the soon-to-launch Ovi Store, and be free to download for Nokia N97 owners in all Ovi Store launch countries. Lobb and Hopkins also received cash prizes.

In any event, congratulations to all. After 24 hours of coding, I can say that they're all a better men than I -- and better programmers too.

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