I just finished my stint helping select the 10 finalists for the AppCircus that will be held at the Mobile 2.0 Europe Developers Conference in Barcelona June 17th. The AppCircus is a traveling showcase of new, innovative mobile applications that are presented in front of a live audience with the winners chosen by popular vote.
My role was that of one of 32 mobile developers, bloggers and analysts who picked and ranked their favorite 10 apps from 29 contenders. The 10 apps with the highest combined rankings do a presentation at Mobile 2.0 where the top app, as chosen by audience vote will go to the Mobile Premier Awards which will be held during the Mobile World Congress next year. The 10 finalists will also get to present to investors and venture capitalists at the Mobile Apps Investment Forum in Barcelona on 18th June. Entry in the AppCircus is free, giving startups a great opportunity to pitch their creations to an audience of mobile leaders at little or no cost.
Judging apps was a new experience for me and one I rather enjoyed. It wasn't easy picking the top 10 as all the submitted apps had merit. The judging guidelines suggested that apps be rated on the criteria of:
- originality, creativity and innovation
- technical and operational feasibility (solving a real user need)
- economic and financial viability
I focused mainly on the first two. I feel that economic success is just about impossible to predict particularly with applications intended for general mass consumption as opposed to ones for specific vertical markets. Being first to market with a good solution to a real need is the key to success. You can monetize almost anything if your get enough users.
One thing that did surprise me about the AppCircus entrants was that there were no pure webapps, they all involved platform specific applications. I saw iPhone, Android, Symbian, Windows Mobile, BlackBerry and Java ME apps, including several with versions for three or more platforms. And these are mainly apps from early stage startups with limited resources. The majority of the entered apps could have been done on the web with equal functionality and multiple platform support at a lower cost. I know that there innovative new mobile webapps being launched every day and am disappointed that none showed up among the AppCircus entrants.