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Pune’s Webonise launches ‘AppBazar’ – Android Marketplace and Apps Contest for India

Webonise Lab, a Pune-based startup, is creating waves in the mobile apps space. Their mobile development arm Mobinise is set to launch an India specific mobile app store for Android phone users. This Android app store called “AppBazar” will have a strong ‘Indian’ flavour – right from Bollywood Masala apps to cricket and even religious apps. And to get the process of “Indian” Android Apps kickstarted, they’ve announced an Indian Android Developer Contest – where prizes worth Rs. 1.5 lakhs are up for grabs in 10 different categories.

Mobinise sees great opportunity in developing India specific content and intends to give the users a unique mobile experience and in different vernaculars too! AppBazar is expected to hit the market by the first week of April and they plan to target tier 1, tier 2 and tier 3 cities.

The company’s logic behind the India centric focus – it believes that though Indians have a penchant for anything Western, they love to tinge it with – and in fact refuse to give up – their own Desi tastes and flavours. The Tandoori Pizza and Aloo Tikki Burger are just a few examples of products that have been fine-tuned for the Indian market. Hence the rationale to ‘Indianize’ a product that has become an integral part of our daily lives – our mobile devices.

To to jumpstart the process of creating Indianized apps for AppBazar, Mobinise has started the Indian Android Developer Contest(IADC) and is inviting developers to build apps around android for the Indian user. The developer contest is targeted at students, platform enthusiasts, freelancers, and the Android application development community.

We asked Shardul Mohite, CEO of Webonise, about the response to the contest so far and he said:

“The response we’ve got is very positive. We even went to Hyderabad to meet Google and get permission to run the contest. They were supportive and excited as well. The most unexpected response we got was when CNBC TechGuru showed interest in promoting the contest actively, and they’re coming to meet us next week.”

The registration for the contest is already open, and individuals or teams interested can start registering now. From 26th Feb, contestants can start uploading their apps, and the contest will remain open until March 26, 2010. Apps shortlisted for the second round (voting) will be announced on 1st April, and the final prize winners will be announced on 22th April. Prizes are: Rs. 25000 for the grand prize winner, Rs. 15000 for the best Indian app, Rs. 10000 for the best designed app, and a Rs. 10000 prize for the best app in each of 10 categories. The different categories include entertainment (or Masala Apps), Games, Travel, Lifestyle and Health related applications. Apart from this there are also some interesting non-cash rewards.

The only eligibility criteria that they set is for the application to be Indian in nature claiming that the ‘Indian-ness’ of the app is what matters most.

There would be two rounds of judging and parameters like design, usability, innovative idea, popularity (for instance likes on Facebook, votes on the contest site) and of course the votes of jury members will together decide the winners of the contest.

Check out the rules, the full list of categories, and the about page of the contest for more information.

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