6th March 2012, 12:45pm
Microsoft’s University apps challenge
I Love Windows Phone With mobile phone applications clearly here to stay, computer scientists at the University of Lincoln are making sure that they and their students are at the forefront of the latest developments.

In collaboration with Microsoft, the Lincoln Social Computing Research Centre – part of the School of Computer Science - will be running a ‘Windows Phone Camp’ on Wednesday 7 March, challenging students to design apps for Microsoft’s new Windows Phone. The best apps will be uploaded onto the Microsoft marketplace and an overall winner will receive a Nokia Lumia 800.

Intelligence sources predict that mobile phone application downloads will have exceeded 44 billion by the time the next leap year comes around. Microsoft reports that it took just 40 days for the 10,000 most recent new apps to be added to its marketplace and content continues to be added at the rate of around 265 items per day. Even the UK’s Health Secretary is encouraging GP’s to ‘prescribe’ apps to some patients for the management of their health.

Technology website www.gigaom.com suggests apps are so popular due to their visual appeal, increased responsiveness, and easier access to functionality, allowing connection with people, devices or data over the web in a way more pleasing to use than a mobile site.

The University is already involved in research which looks at using apps and social computing networks to manage health conditions and encourage carbon reduction.

Derek Foster, from the University’s School of Computer Science, said: “Apps enable users to manage and undertake tasks, find out information easily by using their smartphones or play online multiplayer games. While apps may have started out as a simpler way to consume information, they are increasingly being developed as a means to access and interact with users’ contextual information, and manage tasks and activities around more serious issues. We are seeing a shift in how we use technology with people starting to use their desktop PC’s less, preferring refined, ‘task-focused computing’ via apps on their mobile devices.

“The latest Windows Phone is an entirely new mobile operating system, built from the ground up for contemporary digital lifestyles. We’ll be running a workshop and coding session with colleagues from Microsoft prior to setting everyone off to design their apps and I’m fascinated to see what people come up with.”

Ben Nunney, Microsoft Academic Developer Evangelist, said:  “Microsoft is committed to helping secure the next generation of software developers – and this year we’ve been touring the United Kingdom to help students and young people get fired up about developing mobile apps at our Windows Phone Camp events.

"The passion, creativity and great ideas we see coming out of the students at these events is simply phenomenal, and we’re excited to see what the students at Lincoln have to offer.”
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