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Nokia takes a walk down Sesame Street

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Nokia has enlisted Sesame Street to endorse its latest Calling All Innovators competition, hoping that Muppets can inspire innovative applications where the offer of prize money might not suffice.

The competition, which runs every six months, includes application categories Eco, Productivity, Life Improvement and Entertainment, with the non-profit Sesame Workshop allowing use of its characters in a sub-category of Life Improvement aimed at teaching literacy.

Last year the winners shared out $250,000 in prize money, but this year Nokia isn't saying what the prize fund is - at least not yet and not to us. Espoo, where Nokia is based, admitted that this is a US-led competition, so we'll let you know what the prize money is when they decide to spill.

Sesame Street might seem a strange band for Nokia - putting Muppets into educational applications aimed at one of the few demographics that doesn't have a mobile phone, the under-fives - but it's worth remembering that in many parts of the world mobile phones are fulfilling the role of computers, and few would object to Big Bird being rendered on a computer screen for the sake of teaching children to read. In America that's probably less important, and Nokia wouldn't mind shifting a few handsets to the nursery crowd anyway.

Not that the street itself is exactly young - it's been 40 years now and this will be the first time the characters have appeared on a mobile phone. Sesame Workshop is a non-profit organisation, so while Nokia probably paid for the rights it's more about seeing what developers can come up with.

Those developers can submit applications from 1 February until 18 May. However, you might want to wait until the official announcement of the prize fund before sending off your applications, unless that all-important Ovi listing is all you're after. ®

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