Developers in the driver's seat at app-centric CES 2013

Sue Marek

LAS VEGAS--The annual Consumer Electronics Show here is typically the hottest ticket of the year for gadget-hungry geeks to feast on the latest whiz-bang smartphones, tablets and "phablets." And while there are plenty of new gadgets to play with at the show this year, the discussions at press conferences, on the show floor and in keynote sessions are not so much about screen sizes and operating systems as they are about the services and applications that make those devices, and the networks that they use, so valuable to consumers.

If you are an innovative application developer, you are definitely in the driver's seat at the 2013 Consumer Electronics Show. Everywhere I turn at CES, I encounter companies that are talking about the work they were doing to attract app developers to their platforms. 

From Ford Motor Company launching its new developer program aimed at getting more apps for its Sync connected car system, to Verizon Communications announcing its "Powerful Answers" application contest, it seems nearly every company appears to be courting developers.

And not everyone is looking for apps that will entertain consumers. Many companies looking for innovative app developers that can make enterprises more efficient, education more compelling and healthcare more affordable. That's definitely the incentive behind Verizon's "Powerful Answers" program.

Verizon Communications CEO Lowell McAdam used his keynote address yesterday to kick off the company's new contest that will give a total of $10 million in prizes to application developers that come up with compelling applications in healthcare, education and sustainability that will take advantage of Verizon's networks and platforms. The contest will be judged by a panel of independent experts, including Consumer Electronics Association Chairman Gary Shapiro. The contest will officially begin March 31 and Verizon promises more details to come.  

The message is loud and clear--today's wireless networks are fast and pervasive and smartphones and tablets are intuitive and easy-to-use. In other words, the roadblocks to innovation that kept many other industries on the sidelines of the mobile revolution have been removed. Now there's nothing stopping developers from creating compelling wireless services and applications.

At the 2014 Consumer Electronics Show, I expect we will start to see the fruits the all this outreach to developers in the form of breakthrough new services and apps that not only entertain us, but also make our lives richer and perhaps even a little easier. --Sue

P.S. We've been covering all the latest wireless news at the CES 2013 show. Check out our complete coverage here.