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Nokia dishes out $10m in developer prizes

Finns' sparkly balls come top

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Nokia is celebrating the fact that its Calling All Innovators competition finally brought in a majority of US developers, even if the grand winners were both from Finland.

Those two winning entries were: a game involving sparking orbs, called Sparkle, and a picture-filtering application called ShutterPro. These entries each win $250,000. The winners of the other 15 categories have to make do with $150,000 apiece, while assorted cash prizes and promotional opportunities are distributed to the lower ranks.

In the Ovi store, Sparkle proudly claims to be "[a] premium gaming experience exclusively for the new Symbian^3 smartphones", which is surprising when the title is also available for Windows, Mac, iOS, Bada and even WebOS. No doubt they're working on a Blackberry version too, but exclusivity wasn't a requirement for the competition, which was judged on Ovi download rate as well as the usual criteria.

Previous competitions have seen precious little innovation, with the winners being ports and pre-installed apps, but this year there is some genuine innovation in there. Check out the winner of the Social Media category, Different Tack, for something really new.

Nokia is very pleased to have attracted so many US developers, even if it gave the two top prizes to Finns, and the two runner-up prizes were dished out to Canadians. Americans won the majority of category prizes, and Nokia held the awards in Sunnyvale, California: showing how US-friendly it is.

Nokia tells us it is also delighted to see so many entries written in Qt. Qt has been Nokia's preferred development platform for while, as it compiles across Symbian and MeeGo devices, which would be top if only either of them had a future.

Across all the winners, and categories, there are prizes that (we're told) total $10m across the board. The majority of that is in promotional opportunities, training and suchlike, but there's a good deal of cash being handed over too, though it seems strange to reward success (in downloads) with more success (in prize money) when surely the most popular applications are those that least need the money to spur more development. ®

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