How does once-hot mobile phone maker Motorola (MOT) plan to capture developers’ attention away from Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone and Google’s (GOOG) Android platforms? Good, old-fashioned bribery, of course.
Motorola’s new “Widget Developer Challenge” will award lucky winners prizes up to $25,000 — $200,000 in total prizes — and “global exposure.” All you have to do is join Motorola’s developer program, learn their widget system, make something cool, and if you’re lucky, profit.
And then plan to forget everything you’ve learned — because Motorola will be throwing it away anyway.
This contest is for building “WebUI” widgets — a platform that Motorola’s Web site says is for “Motorola’s open mobile Linux platform,” based on the WebKit Web browser guts — also used by the iPhone and Android.
The problem: While Motorola is releasing phones based on that operating system now — like the new VE66 — they’re ditching it next year. Meanwhile, we see no sign of “Google Android” or “Microsoft Windows Mobile” on here — the platforms Motorola will be using for all of its mid- to high-end phones by the end of next year.
So while we’re sure some people will enter the contest — hey, free money, right? — there seems to be little long-term value here for Motorola or for developers. We’d spend our time figuring out the iPhone SDK or Android first.
Update: It’s possible Motorola will add a WebUI hook into their Android or Windows Mobile phones. We’re still trying to figure this out, with the help of Motorola’s PR team.
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