Microsoft launches Next App Star contest for Windows Phone developers

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Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) is kicking off Windows Phone Next App Star, a competition designed to fuel developer interest in the company's Windows Phone 8 mobile operating system.

Windows Phone Next App Star will pit 64 finalists in a head-to-head, bracket-style tournament, with winning apps advancing to the next round based on public voting. Microsoft is promising thousands of dollars in prizes, including a Nokia (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 920 smartphone and a free one-year Windows Phone Dev Center subscription. The tournament champion will be featured in a Windows Phone commercial that will air on U.S. primetime television.

Windows Phone Next App Star is open to all Windows Phone developers worldwide. Registered developers must visit the Dev Center portal between now and March 5 to enter their apps in the competition--entries can included new apps or existing apps updated prior to that date. Click here to register.

Microsoft will narrow the field of competitors to 64 before turning over the voting to consumers. "We will judge the app submissions for the contest based on an equal weighting of user ratings and app quality, including your implementation of new Windows Phone 8 features, like Live Tiles," explained Todd Brix, senior director of Microsoft's Windows Phone Apps Team. "This isn't just about picking the most popular app in the Store. Windows Phone Next App Star is about giving developers a shot at being the next big hit."

Microsoft's Windows Phone Store stocks more than 150,000 mobile apps and games in all--in comparison, Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) App Store boasts more than 775,000 applications for iOS devices. Data published last week by Kantar Worldpanel ComTech reports that Windows Phone powered just 2.7 percent of all smartphones sold in the U.S. during the 12-week-period ending Nov. 25, 2012, far behind iOS and Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android.

For more:
- read this Windows Phone Developer Blog entry

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