Qualcomm: We're committed to developers, and that's why we're dedicating $370,000 to app contests

Senior director Ben-Zur talks Windows RT

Qualcomm: We're committed to developers, and that's why we're dedicating $370,000 to app contests
Last month, Qualcomm announced that it would award a total of $370,000 in prize money to developers across two app creation contests.

The Qualcomm AllJoyn App Challenge will award prizes for the most innovative use of its open-source app development framework AllJoyn, which is designed to enable proximity-based device-to-device communication through a number of different networking technologies.

The Windows RT App Developer Contest, meanwhile, sees Qualcomm handing out prizes for developers working on Microsoft's new platform – a market it's no doubt keen to encourage, seeing as plenty of Windows RT slates will come equipped with its Snapdragon processers.

To find out more about the AllJoyn technology, the contests themselves and why exactly Qualcomm is spending $370,000 on them, we caught up with Liat Ben-Zur, the company's senior director of software strategy and business development.

Pocket Gamer: What is AllJoyn and how can it help app developers?

Liat Ben-Zur: AllJoyn is an open-source, platform-agnostic software development framework that developers can employ to create compelling P2P experiences.

For developers, AllJoyn solves the issues of discovery, routing, wireless connectivity options and security, by providing them with multiple language bindings and powerful APIs that simplify network management and message routing, enabling ad-hoc networks from within their applications.

It also gives them the first-mover advantage of creating applications that feature never-before-seen connectivity among devices, driving adoption and increasing revenue.

AllJoyn's device, platform and transport-agnostic design with support for multiple programming languages makes it an ideal technology for developers looking to proliferate their application or service across the widest possible consumer base.

Why did you decide to make the technology open-source?

The very nature of P2P is multiple device types, operating systems, etc. all interacting. Our view was that the best way to develop and evolve such a framework was to make it open source.

This way, the entire community can develop it to address a wide range of use cases not limited by tying the framework to any particular OS or hardware platform.

How do you envision AllJoyn being used for games?

The obvious first opportunity is to enable multiplayer scenarios with very low latencies – something gamers must have.

The nice thing is these multiplayer scenarios do not require players to all be on the same hardware or operating system as long as the developer has ported their AllJoyn-enabled app to multiple operating systems.

Once you enable this sort of peer interaction, the whole universe of creative possibilities opens up. Games that include finding 'treasure' or bonus items can include the sharing or selling of items among players, for instance.

You're also running a Windows RT app challenge. Aside from potential prize money, why should app developers commit resources to developing for this platform?

Windows RT is from Microsoft and its commitment to it is beyond question. Additionally, Windows RT is the Microsoft OS for mobile computing, particularly tablets.

This is our space and we have a long history of working closely with Microsoft. It would be stranger if we didn't support Windows RT – particularly since many tablets will be based on our Snapdragon processors.

What do you make of Microsoft's forthcoming OS, and what's its potential for app developers?

We think the potential is huge. Windows RT is leveraging the enormous installed base enjoyed by the Windows platform – which translates to a huge opportunity for game developers.

Tablets are clearly a very hot category and Windows RT is designed with the usage scenarios of mobile computing in mind.

$370,000 is a lot of cash. What makes these contests a good use of money for Qualcomm?

Qualcomm has a very long history of developer engagement. We hold an annual developers conference every year.

We have a full developer program with a dedicated online developer resources and developer relations staff.

Such contests are part and parcel of this overall engagement commitment, a commitment that is now in its second decade.
Thanks to Liat for her time.
Staff Writer's news editor 2012-2013