Windows Phone is slowly but steadily becoming popular around the world, according to reports. Most part of this success can be attributed to Nokia devices. Nokia’s Lumia series has become the backbone of Windows Phone OS. And Nokia does not stop there. It is also working hard to bring in more apps to the WP world, by luring more developers. Founded in 2012, “Nokia Developer” is one such program that “aims to help mobile app developers create apps and publish them to connect with people around the world.”
As part of this program Nokia held the “Nokia Create” contest which is a global competition for developers to develop apps for Nokia Lumia and Windows Phone 8. Developers from 76 countries around the world took part in the contest and Nokia announced the winners last week. It was a delight for us to hear that 2 Sri Lankans emerged as winners in two categories. “Cover Cam” app developed by Tharaka Wijebandara from Sri Lanka, won the “Master Mission” in Image and Photo category. Tharaka is a final year undergraduate, studying Information Technology at University of Moratuwa. He is also a Microsoft Student Partner and an active developer in the local scene. Heshan Pathirana a student of APIIT won the “Music Master Mission”for his app Extreme Music.
Cover Cam: The app
Cover Cam is an app that allows you to create your Facebook cover picture along with the matching profile picture with a single click. The idea is simple. But if you had tried for yourself, such an option is practically hard to execute from a single picture. But you should feel lucky if you’re a Windows Phone user. Tharaka’s app does that complex work for your, effortlessly. According to Tharaka, the app “makes your Facebook timeline header more beautiful, meaningful, and attractive or something totally crazy.” The app crops your profile picture and cover image from the original image and uploads it to your facebook account. While allowing you to take creative cover images, the app also allows you to choose existing photos from your gallery and turn it into creative Facebook timeline headers. According to Tharaka, his app is available as a trial version and a paid version. So far, it has been downloaded more than 80,000 times. It is also one of the top paid photo apps in many countries. As part of winning the competition, Nokia has also featured the app in many leading WP markets around the world.
So what inspired Tharaka to come up with such a cool idea for an app?
It was his friends. Few of them had manually uploaded their facebook profile picture and cover image in a way that made it look like a single image. Tharaka says that he immediately tried to create his own, with the help of Photoshop, but soon realized that not every image will fit into the idea. “Suddenly I got an idea. What if we can see the world through Facebook timeline header when we capture a photo? Then it will be easy to capture something beautiful for both profile picture and cover photo while they look as one image in the Facebook timeline header. So I decided to develop a Windows Phone app with this idea.” says Tharaka. And the uniqueness of the app is what made it a winner at the Nokia Create contest.
Tharaka’s developer career started when he was at school. He started to develop simple programs using VB 6, and they eventually became a hit among his friends, who encouraged him a lot. And thus, he ended up choosing Information Technology for his higher studies too. Tharaka enjoys developing mobile apps. “Mobile apps have very large audience compared to other software products“ says Tharaka; “We can have continuous feedback and keep on improving the apps”.
Winning a global competition brings more recognition for the developer. Our local talent gets noticed globally. And there’s a lot more. The winner gets a Nokia Lumia device of his choice along with a Nokia Gear. Winner also gets 5000 Experience Points from Nokia DVLUP reward program. Their app is promoted app on Windows Phone Store and AppSocial for one week and they also get PubCenter credits to run a campaign, to promote their app.
Above all of these, *wait for it* the winners are offered an all expenses paid trip to Mobile World Congress 2014, where the winning apps will be showcased. Yes, you heard it right. Tharaka has won a trip to attend the MWC, which is happening in Barcelona in February. Mark Zuckerberg will be delivering the keynote speech this year. According to Tharaka, attending the MWC is the most exciting part of winning this contest. “It’s a great opportunity to learn new technologies, know about latest trends, make new friends and share experience with Windows Developers from around the world”, he says.
The Nokia Create contest was based on 8 Categories and had 15 “Missions” – that included 6 Mini missions, 8 Master missions and a Do Good mission. Each mission had a specific focus. Mini Missions required developers to add Nokia’s APIs and new features to their existing Windows Phone apps. To enter one of the 8 Master missions, participants had to develop a brand new app or game, or port one from another platform to Windows Phone 8. The Do Good Mission was quite different. According to Nokia, the aim of the Do Good mission was to “help enhance the lives and mobile experiences of visually impaired people.” The competition also had one Grand Prize.
Tharaka has huge hopes on Windows Phone OS. “Microsoft and Nokia are very supportive and always encourage the developers” – Tharaka says enthusiastically. The Digit team feels proud for what Tharaka has achieved and wish him the best with his future endeavours!