The Android Developer Challenge Judging Process

Thank you for submitting your application to the Android Developer Challenge! This page explains the criteria and process for judging the contest winners.

Judging Criteria

As you may remember from the ADC Terms and Conditions, submissions to the Challenge are evaluated on four distinct criteria: (1) Originality, (2) Effective Use of the Android Platform, (3) Polish and Appeal, and (4) Indispensability. These criteria apply (in slightly different ways) to both applications that run on the Android platform as well as development tools to make writing applications on Android easier.

1. Originality

When assigning scores, the judges will be asking themselves how conceptually novel the application is -- whether in terms of the app's functionality, how the app is implemented, or in some other manner. An app that introduces an entirely new angle on social networking, for example, would likely do better here than one that simply ports an existing mobile application to Android without adding anything new.

For a developer tool, the judges will be asking themselves whether the tool enables a developer's productivity in a novel way -- by enabling a developer flow that did not exist before, for example.

2. Effective Use of the Android Platform

Judges will be looking for applications that take advantage of the Android platform's unique and compelling features including but not limited to location-based services, the accelerometer, always-on networking, and Android UI elements. Of course, applications must efficiently use platform resources and run with reasonable speed to do well under this criteria.

For a developer tool, the judges will look to whether the tool effectively follows the Android design philosophy and allows developers to leverage Android-specific features and elements.

3. Polish and Appeal

Here, applications will be judged on whether they are intuitive, easy to use, and aesthetically appealing. Additionally, judges may examine whether the application optimizes the user experience for a mobile device, taking into account factors such as speed and interaction method.

For developer tools, the question will be whether the tool effectively combines power and productivity with an intuitive design flow. Tools should be easy to learn but also provide functionality that an experienced developer will value.

4. Indispensibility

Judges will focus on whether the application is compelling and essential for a segment of the population. Examples would be a game that the user can't put down or a utility that makes a busy user's schedule easier to manage. Judges will determine whether the application is a good fit for the use case it aims to solve and whether a significant population of mobile users will find that use case applicable to them.

In terms of developer tools, the judges will ask themselves to what extent the tool will increase a developer's productivity and streamline workflow on a daily basis.

Judging Process

Once the submission deadline passes (midnight on the night of April 14, 2008 Pacific Time in the United States), we will test all of the submissions to make sure that they actually run on the version of the emulator specified in the submission application. We'll take all the submissions that pass this threshold and randomly sort them into several "buckets" for Phase I review by the judges.

Phase I Judging

Each bucket of submissions will be assigned and securely distributed to a panel of multiple judges. These judges are under NDA to protect the developers. These judges will grade each of the submissions according to the four criteria explained above -- each submission will receive a score ranging from 1 to 10 for each of the four criteria from each judge. Once we've collected these scores, we'll average them across judges for each submission so that each entry ends up with an overall score of 1 to 10, up to multiple decimal points to minimize ties. The 100 submissions with the highest overall scores will move on to Phase 2 judging. In the case of a tie between submissions, we'll go back and decide the tie based on which submission scored higher in Effective Use of the Android Platform. In the case that the submissions remain tied on that criteria, we'll convene a special panel of Google judges to vote between the two tied applications.

Phase 2 Judging

In Phase 2, the 100 highest-scoring submissions will be all be sent to a new panel of judges (which may or may not include one or more of the judges who participated in Phase I judging). These judges will not be aware of the score each submission received in Phase I and will again be asked to give each of the entries a score of 1 to 10 for each of the four criteria. We will collect these scores from the judges and average them together so that each of the top 100 submissions has a new overall score ranging from 1 to 10, up to multiple decimal points to minimize ties. Ties will be decided in the manner described above for Phase I judging.

The 50 entries with the highest scores in Phase 2 judging will move on to Round 2 of the Challenge where they could potentially win awards of up to $275,000 USD. The participants who submitted these 50 entries will also receive the $25,000 USD Round 1 prizes, provided they successfully complete the paperwork requirements described below. We'll notify the authors of these entries on or about May 5, 2008 by email that they have been selected as winners and inform them of the paperwork we will need from them in order to award them the $25,000 USD prizes.


In order to award prizes to the 50 winners of the $25,000 prizes in Round 1, we'll need the following paperwork from the potential winners. The potential winners will have 90 days to return all the completed paperwork. Please note: If you are selected as a potential winner and fail to return all of the required paperwork within 90 days of notification by email, Google will be unable to award you any Round 1 prizes, although you will still be eligible for Round 2 judging and prizes.

  1. Tax information -- Each participant will be required to complete and return tax paperwork specific to their place of residence. Remember that taxes are the responsibility of the winners and Google may be required to make certain withholdings depending on the applicable tax laws of your residence and the U.S.
  2. Affidavit of Eligibility, Publicity Release, and Payment Information -- Each participant will need to sign an affidavit confirming their eligibility to receive a prize and a release for Google to use your name in connection with your Entry. Also, we'll need certain information in order to actually complete payment of the prize money.
  3. Election of Payment (for Teams only) -- Each member of a Team will have to elect whether to have full payment of the prize made to the Team Captain (i.e., the person listed first on the Team Submission) or to have the prize evenly split between the team members. All team members must agree on this election of payment. If a Team decides to have the payment split equally between members, each member will need to return information required for us to make a payment.
  4. Authorization by Business Entity (for Business Entities only) -- In order for Google to make payment of the prize to a participant submitting on behalf of a business entity, this form will need to be signed by a corporate officer or director of the entity.


Once we have the list of participating judges finalized, we will post it here. Keep watching this space!