Photo: Afizulazha bin Abdullah, Chief Digital Services Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad (3rd from right), Vincent Tan, Chief Executive Officer of MyAppzil (1st from left), and Ng Wan Peng, Chief Operating Officer of Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC) (2nd from left) with the winners and finalists of the App Developer Challenge 2012.
Celcom Axiata Berhad two weeks ago (March 14th) announced the winners of its App Developer Challenge 2012 over at Menara Celcom. Claimed to be “the first Malaysian-themed Android app development challenge,” it was open to all Malaysian developers who signed up for Celcom’s League of Extraordinary Developers Challenge program (LEDC) or MDeC’s Integrated Content Development Program (ICON).
The contest is a collaboration between Celcom, Multimedia Development Corporation (MDeC), and MyAppzil, which is an independent Malaysian Android app store under the principal company UbiNuri Inc., said to be South Korea’s biggest content aggregator with around 6,500 apps and 1,100 developers. The Korean version of the store is Appzil.com.
Since the challenge’s launch in September 5th 2012 last year in Chef & Brew Bukit Damansara, it has garnered 57 app ideas and 22 usable app submissions. The grand prize is an all-expense-paid “industrial training trip” to Seoul for seven days, hosted by UniNuri Inc.
The panel of judges were comprised of the folks from Celcom, MDeC and MyAppzil, who went through all submissions and picked winners based on, but not limited to, these criteria:
* Appeal factor
During the announcement, Celcom also announced that the prize will not only be given to the winner, but also to the runner-up. Each of the finalists get to present their app to everyone attending, including Afizulazha Abdullah, Chief Digital Services Officer of Celcom Axiata Berhad, Ng Wan Peng, Chief Operating Officer of MDeC, and Vincent Tan, Chief Executive Office or MyAppzil.
After the break, we’ll be detailing each app by rank.
App: Malacca Offline Travel Map
Company: Agmo Studio Sdn. Bhd.
Developer(s): Steven Low, Tan Aik Keong
Size: 6.2 MB
Winner of this challenge goes to Malacca Offline Travel Map. It is essentially an offline map of Malacca City with points-of-interests and other tourist spots. There is a check-in feature in the app, but I believe you can’t share the check-ins elsewhere like on Foursquare. The check-in could also be accompanied by photos to log your visit.
App: Penyu In The Dark Live Wallpaper
Company: Icon Mobi Solution
Developer(s): Tan Tung Ai
Size: 2.0 MB
The runner up goes to this live wallpaper app, of a turtle that you could feed blue orbs with. I have nothing else to add. Perhaps it won second place because 50% of the sales profit goes to WWF Malaysia’s ‘Save the Turtles Fund’.
Company: Murasu Systems Sdn. Bhd.
Developer(s): Muthu Nedumaran
Size: 4.0 MB
Of all the app presented, this is, in my and many others’ opinions, the best and clearly deserved the grand prize it did not get. MobileJawi is an Android keyboard app that translates Roman characters to Jawi. The Roman characters could either be in Bahasa Melayu or even English, and it will also offer Jawi text prediction as you’re typing. Native Jawi text input is also allowed, and offers prediction in BM.
Developer(s): Tan Jit Ren
Size: 1.1 MB
Fliphoto is a simple photo taking and editing app that allows geotagging, captioning, filter effects, as well as social network sharing capabilities (through Android’s sharing contract).
Company: Knowledge Channels Synergy Sdn. Bhd. (KChannels)
Developer(s): Alex Leow
Size: 3.9 MB
Remember Snapchat? This app is just like that: allows instant messages to be sent through a newly created profile (could be anonymous), that will self-destruct after being read. You know, for those literal private messages.
App: Pet Helper
Developer(s): Cheong Weng Chuan, How Shin Yi
SIze: 1.2 MB
Pet Helper is a nice little app that, in theory, if your lost pet has the pre-generated QR code printed on the tag, anyone who found your pet would be able to scan it and get your contact information. Location details are also supported, but I believe the person who found your pet needs to install the same app on their end.
Halal Scanner is another app being presented by Wan Azizun Wan Adnan of University Putra Malaysia. It is not in the contest, but deserves a special mention. As the name suggests, it scans barcodes through the app and will hook up with the database based on JAKIM certification from Halal Industry Development Corporation (HDC) to determine its status.
Unfortunately for the life of me, I can’t find the app anywhere, not in MyAppzil, Google Play, nor through 15 minutes of web search. Anyone with more information on this, please let us know in the comments.
It’s refreshing to see the growing app development community in Malaysia and that the larger organizations are also supporting and nurturing the growth of locally developed apps. However this contest in particular does present some questions we did not manage to ask during the event.
According to some developer comments over at Google Groups and Phandroid, submission to Appzil (Korean?) would grant them an upfront payment of US$200 – 300, and developers get to keep 50% of the sales made. If this is true, it’s less than what Google Play Store is paying developers for app sales: 70%. Also, none of these apps mentioned here are available at Play Store; does that mean MyAppzil forbids these developers from submitting the same app to Google? Apps like MobileJawi could certainly take off if published on a larger channel.
I’ve reached out to MyAppzil through its help email obtained from the homepage, email@example.com, and received an error that the email address doesn’t exist. Sent inquiries to firstname.lastname@example.org instead; awaiting their confirmation on this.
More information on League of Extraordinary Developers Challenge’s (LEDC) initiative that was launched in 2008, can be found on http://www.celcom.com.my/corporate/about/ledc-overview.php.
Update April 2nd 2013: Both MyAppzil and Celcom have not responded.