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Mobile Clicks Cricket: Click it to pick it

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Four finalists remain vying for Vodafone's €150,000 Mobile Clicks prize money, with the public being invited to contribute their votes to help decide who gets the cash.

The competition started in July and received 160 entries from mobile startups both planned and launched. Those 160 were whittled down to 20 last week, and now only four remain, with the winner to be announced at PICNIC festival next week, once a public vote has been counted and the judging completed.

Vodafone's competition is interesting, partly because of the amount of money at stake, but also because it rates financial viability equally with application functionality. Mobile Clicks is not a competition between applications, but between business models and management capability. That's why entrants aren't even required to have a working prototype, though three of the four finalists do have operational services.

Representing the UK is Cricket Roulette, which (we suspect) scores well in the business model side of things. The premise is quite simple - while watching a game of cricket the player marks where on perimeter the next boundary will strike. Get it right and you win pretend money, get it wrong and you lose pretend money, all while being advertised at with the company running its own lottery at £2.50 (in real money) a shot.

From the Netherlands there's Akvo Phone - a mobile blogging application designed for aid workers. Avko Phone automatically collates pictures, words and locations to produce field reports so that donators (and managers) can see where their money is going, and donate more at the tap of a screen. Akvo charges €10 a month for its premium service (small NGOs can use a free version), though it's a non-profit service.

If Cricket and mobile blogging don't appeal there's Cardmobili, which manages your collection of loyalty cards so you don't have to carry them around with you. Not every card can be added to the application, but the company lists several hundred in the UK alone, any of which can be added to the application to display a bar code or the card number when you want to present it in store. Cardmobili makes money from the card companies, so the app comes free.

But if none of that appeals then you'll have to vote for Malcom, an application manager that seeks to provide developers with the kind of feedback sadly lacking from most mobile platforms. Drop Malcom into your application and you'll be able to gather statistics on usage and users, as well as control parts of the application. Quite how Mobivery (the publishers of Malcom) will make money out of all this remains unclear, though all those statistics will be worth a bob or two.

Should you feel strongly that one idea is better than the others, or just like cricket a lot, then public voting is open now. It only forms part of the decision about who gets the €100,000 (and the €50,000 runner-up prize) - the panel of judges will then add its own input and the prize will be announced at the end of next week.

The finalists aren't exactly revolutionary applications, but they are all startups backed with business models that should make money, which is more than can be said for most of the app store content these days. ®

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