Google with egg on their face?

The Google Android Developer Challenge/Africa is well underway. App submission deadline was 1-July-2011, semi-finalists will be announced 15-July-2011. Winners will be announced 12-September-2011.

The point of this, presumably, is to encourage African developers to develop for Android. The biggest motivation to do something is money, so participants are allowed to enter paid apps into the challange (under “Eligibility”). Sadly, it seems that the organisers of ADC spend very little time with the Google Checkout team, because Google checkout does not support many of the countries that are eligible for ADC/Africa, and there is no other way to get paid for apps in Google marketplace.

While I know that, sometimes, in large companies its a case of “the right hand not knowing what the left hand is doing”, in this case it seems even the left hand has only a very hazy notion as well. I’m working on porting my application to iPhone. Of course, the longer it takes for Google to get this working, the larger the number of ADC apps that get ported. It could be a case of Google simply giving app developers motivation to come up with a good concept that then goes to iPhone because the concept could not be sold for Android.

Heads up to Google: those devs that came up with a new, nifty and/or novel app will certainly not make it freely available for Android (not even as trial) if they can make it for money for iPhone. Making a trial version for Android simply means putting a good idea out there that some iPhone dev is going to implement on iPhone. To keep the first-mover advantage of a novel concept, the dev has to be the first one with the app. If it is so novel and nice, people would buy it from elsewhere.

Of course, its always possible that Apple also won’t allow devs from South Africa to sell applications either – with Apple you don’t get this information until after you pay their $99 fee, so if anyone knows if South African developers are allowed paid apps in Apples App Store, let me know.