The Emerging Business team, in partnership with the Israel R&D center and the Windows Phone team, hosted Mobile Acceleration Week in Israel on Nov. 27th – Dec. 1st, 2011 at the ILDC facilities in Herzliya, This was the third stop on a nine city tour for Mobile Acceleration Week after earlier events in San Francisco and New York City. As with past MAWs, the program is designed to encourage Windows Phone app development as well as raise awareness of the Windows Phone platform among mobile developers.
This event was a big success, with over 200 mobile developers attending the opening session alone. Ten startups spent the week focused on app develop on the Windows 7 platform. At the conclusion of the week, each startup had the opportunity to present their app in a competition judged by industry experts.
The event included two public sessions aimed at the mobile development community. The first, held on Nov. 27th, featured a training session by Sela (ILDC’s training partner for the event) covering the technical aspects of developing for the Windows Phone platform, including the Metro UI, use of push notifications, and Live Tiles.
In addition to the technical training session primarily aimed at mobile developers, the kickoff session presented a great opportunity to generate interest in the Israeli high-tech media and blogosphere around the Microsoft-Nokia partnership.
Nokia had their newest phones on dispoay, with Nikolay Isakov, Euro-Asia Business Development on hand for the Sunday event. Isakov gave a presentation detailing Nokia’s vision for the cooperation with Microsoft. He also met with mobile startups.
The second public session, on Nov. 29th included a panel session on app monetization and best practices for working with the Windows Phone marketplace, followed by a technical lecture on hybrid development and Silverlight.
Mobile Acceleration Week featured a workshop track that provided the opportunity for 10 mobile startups to work at the ILDC facilities for a week developing apps for Windows Phone.
The startups received a dedicated support to help them with development. Along with the facilities and food, Microsoft provided participants with:
- Developer unlocked Samsung devices
- Hands-on Silverlight/XNA training and development help, along with UX consulting from Sela as well as technical help from the Bing Mobile and WP7 team at the ILDC
- Additional UX/UI consulting and supplemental coding support from Motivity Labs and iLink,who have supported past Mobile Acceleration Weeks with Microsoft in the US. The companies received 80 hours of consultation and coding each
- Promotion on the Windows Phone Marketplace for every participating startup that submits their app within 60 days.
The mobile startups worked all week in order to create a betaversion of their WP app.
The 10 companies who participated in the event were:
Do@ is a revolutionary next generation mobile-optimized search application that tries to minimize the time and effort needed to find information while using a phone. In addition, the company is part of Microsoft’s BizSpark One program. Do@ created the first version of their mobile search app for Windows Phone during the week.
Babylon is one of the world’s leading providers of language solutions, such as online dictionary and translation software, translation services, language learning solutions, English writing enhancement and more. During MAW they began developing a mobile translation tool for translating over 75 languages
WorldMate is a veteran mobile application company focusing on the business traveler marketplace. They used the Mobile Acceleration Week to begin development on the WP version of their popular itinerary management solution.
Adventure Mob is part of the Corbomite Games group, one of the leading games developers in Israel. They created the first Windows Phone version of Star Shipping game, a space trading strategy game
TouchApps is a mobile developer of casual games. TouchApps successfully created a Windows Phone version of its popular “Makeup Girls” game
Pyramid Analytics is a BizSpark One company developing an enterprise data analytics application for consuming Microsoft Analysis Services OLAP cubes. Pyramid developed a mobile viewer for its BI solution.
ZooZ is a complete and secure solution that makes it easier than ever to start accepting payments in mobile applications
Play My Tone is a developing a cloud based mobile music social mixer
Colorful Apps recently created an application to help users with color blindness access photos on their phone. They used their experience at MAW to begin development on a new app in the e-learning space.
Magnet Monkey is a young game development company who used the MAW experience to learn the WP platform and begin development a puzzle game that makes full use of the movement features of the phone
The final event of Mobile Acceleration Week was the presentation and judging session. Each of the participating companies gave a presentation of their vision and the app they had developed during the week.
The judging panel included:
- Brian Hoskins, Director of Business Development on Microsoft’s Emerging Business Team
- Zack Weisfeld, Sr. Director of Strategy and Business Development at Microsoft ILDC
- Tzvia Gitlin Troyner, Architect Advisor from Microsoft Israel
- Ophira Avishay, Solutions Manager at Eurocom
- Ishai Ram, VP of Sela
- Hillel Fuld, VP Marketing at Inneractive
- Roi Carthy, an Israeli venture capitalist and columnist for Tech Crunch.
And the Winners are….
In addition, WorldMate was chosen as a fourth place favorite and received a free training course from Sela.