Jomo Kenyatta University of Agriculture and Technology students have released new applications targeted at Windows Phone users. The students underwent training by eMobilis, who offer training in mobile application development for various ecosystems. The applications were demonstrated over the weekend at the university’s Juja campus in a mini-hackathon. eMobilis will later hold a hackathon that will highlight the best applications resulting from an ongoing series of Windows Phone development targeted at university students.
eMobilis has been holding the trainings in partnership with Microsoft and Nokia who have recently announced a line of Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone. Microsoft has also established the 4Afrika program, which has a section on Windows Phone that curates and highlights the best apps built by African developers.
Moses Sitati, Manager at Nokia Research Centre said that since introduction of the Lumia 920 in February, the device had sold out in Safaricom shops (no word on number of devices though). The Lumia 620 was also a hot seller and Nokia was expecting similar sales performance from the recently launched Lumia 520 and Lumia 720.
The students underwent Windows Phone development sessions over weekends, as they had classes on weekdays. Ken Mwenda, Managing Director eMobilis, remarked on the lack of a single app from a female developer, saying that upcoming sessions would look at incorporating women into application development. The current batch of developers also have to submit and publish their apps in application stores before they can present them for apps. Previously, a number of developers who have submitted their apps for competitions subsequently fail to publish them, even after winning.
Calvin Kebati, who arranges for external programs between JKUAT students and enterprises says that the students have exhibited exceptional skills. He adds that they need exposure to ideas, such as from the enterprise sector, to come up with brilliant applications. Sitati said general ideas may include app targeted at children especially with Windows Phone Kid’s corner which puts the phone in a special mode where they can only access certain apps.
The top application was 10 seconds, a game that tests how fast you can tap on the screen. 6 circles on the screen countdown scores from 10 downwards. Players strive to tap the most of high values in 10 seconds. The developer took home a Lumia 920
Second ranked app is NumberTrack, a mind game where users try to match numbers by establishing a common link between the two. Clinton Ingata, the developer behind the application has just completed his first year and has 10 published applications under his belt. The developer’s prize was a Lumia 820.
Third was Pocket Aid, an applications that lists medical and first aid procedures. The applications also lists emergency contacts including those to Child HelpLine, Fire department and St. John’s Ambulance. Remarkable about the app was the user interface and use of visual elements. Third place prize was the Lumia 620.
Memory Game came in fourth, and is also a game where players try to associate various elements. The developer pocketed KSh. 7,500.
Car Tracer uses GPS features to indicate where you have parked your vehicle, and can be used to trace the way back to your parking slot. The application, ranked fifth, is targeted at foreigners and uses Windows Phone Panoramic feature that pans imagery across multiple screens. The user can swipe left or right to view more of a map in the the app. The app won the developer a KSh. 5,000 prize.
Other apps include MemoryGame Geometry Puzzle – a game where players match two pieces together.
iHeadlines aggregates news from several sources and also includes a crossword puzzle.
News App is a global news aggregator, which comes in a free and paid version. The free version has predefined sources while users can configure sources for the paid app.
Ktranslate offers language translations between European languages such as English, French and vernacular languages including Kikuyu, Kamba.
A second training in the university is set to commence this week. eMobilis also plans to hold more trainings in two other universities in the country.