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Samsung blows wad on Bada bling app compo starlets

Go with sailors - and edit out shameful exes

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Samsung's Developer Challenge is over, with the top app earning a prize of $300,000 as the company continues to big up its third mobile platform.

Not content with manufacturing the flagship Android handset and one of the best Windows Phone 7 devices, Samsung is still banging the Bada drum. In June, the company put almost $3m in prize money on the table for its Global Developer Challenge, which has now been awarded to the 24 winners split across eight categories.

The winning application, which scooped $300,000, was Little Sailor - a 3D sailing emulator that attempts to teach the basics of dinghy sailing without all that mucking about with boats. Other category winners (netting $100,000 each) include games, an OCR package and a photograph retouching app, all of which are free to download for the next month.

Other than Little Sailor we were taken by the superbly Stalinist TouchRetouch, which perfectionists and passive-aggressives alike can use to remove an ex-partner or unlovely child from a photograph.

BadaShelf is another highlight - it reads barcodes to catalogue your book collection, useful for those who've resorted to boxes in lieu of shelf space. Also worth a look for free is the snappily-named bControl12, which enables the Wave handset to be used as a PC remote control.

There's a bundle of other apps listed on the winners' page.

Samsung owns the whole Bada value chain, in the same way that Apple owns the iOS chain, but is hedging its bets by supporting Android and Windows Phone 7 too. Bada is supposed to bring smartphone functionality into mid-range handsets, where Symbian is also expected to play, but such aspirations are apparently undermined by the decreasing price of Android handsets.

We say "apparently" as some industry pundits, notably Timi Ahonen, reckon there are more than 1.3 million Wave handsets being used: this would make the Wave second only to the original iPhone in speed of adoption.

Those figures sound optimistic to us, but the competition has generated some interesting applications and genuine innovation, which is more than can be said for some. ®

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