AT&T Mobile App Hackathon

It’s 7:30pm and about a hundred developers and on-lookers are crammed into a small meeting room in the Austin Convention Center. The panels and keynotes are done for the day, most people are off eating dinner. But there’s a challenge here, and prize money, and free alcohol.


The competition is to divide into teams and develop a mobile app. An AT&T staffer will give everyone a specific subject area and the teams will set out to design an app for it. Interestingly, the minimum level of fidelity for an entry is the User Interface expressed in flat HTML or even a photoshop file.

A team is eligible for extra prize money if they actually build a functioning prototype. To that end, a number of partners have been identified that offer back-end services (e.g. Databases, user management) for mobile apps, that let developers spin up new projects rapidly. Reps are also on-hand from device manufacturer HTC. They are sweetening the pot by offering free pen-based Jetstream tablets to team members if the winning entry uses their Scribe SDK.

A team is eligible for even more extra prize money if they utilize the AT&T API, which means integration with phone functionality such as MMS, voicemail etc.

Once the partner companies get done presenting, the teams will pitch and discuss ideas, and then at 9pm they’ll start developing. Judging is tomorrow night.