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NICTA and Optus launch student comp to find ‘killer’ Android mobile app
12 Sep 2011

NICTA and Optus are calling on undergraduate university students from around Australia to fire up their computers, test their imaginations and stir up a storm of open platform innovation for the inaugural "Unleash your App" competition.

The competition, which opens today, challenges students to create a unique and innovative Android mobile application that 'makes our lives easier'. Health and education, productivity, social networking, lifestyle, and news and entertainment are among the six targeted application areas.

The winner will receive a $5,000 cash prize, along with a Samsung Galaxy S II Android smartphone on the Optus network. To help turn the winning app into a commercial reality, the app will also be sold and promoted on the Optus App Store. The winner also stands a chance to have their app pre-loaded onto an Optus-marketed Android mobile handset if their entry stands up to the innovation test1. The first two runners-up will also receive generous cash prizes in addition to a smartphone on the Optus network.

Austin Bryan, Director of Optus Digital Media, said, "There is a thriving mobile developer community out there as smartphones and tablets become entrenched in our lives. We've joined forces with leading research institute, NITCA, to uncover the hidden talent and mobile innovation among our university students, and hope that this competition will inspire them to turn their great ideas into reality.

"As Australia's second largest mobile carrier with more than nine million customers, we're excited to play our part in nurturing talented developers and be a channel to market for the winning app."

With the Android smartphone operating system (OS) expected to account for half of the worldwide smartphone market by 2012,2 there has never been a better time for students to make their mark as the software developers and innovators of the future.

"NICTA is at the coalface of ICT innovation in Australia. We are undertaking important ICT research and applying it in areas where it can have maximum economic and social impact for Australia," said NICTA Business Director Rob Fitzpatrick.

"The 240 PhD students working and studying at NICTA today play a big part in this endeavour. We are delighted to work with Optus, one of Australia's leading digital innovators, to reach out to the undergraduate students – the stars of Australia's ICT future. This competition will give them a wonderful opportunity to express their passion for research and innovation in a way that also engages with the real world."

Applications are invited from university students who are completing an undergraduate degree in any faculty of an Australian university. Entries must be commercially viable and developed on an Android platform and will be judged on their uniqueness and innovation.

Conditions of entry, along with information about judging and prizes can be found at is www.unleashyourmobileapp.com.au. Entries open today and close on October 31, 2011.

Competition categories:

  • Health and Education: Apps that help you learn and lead an active life.
  • Social networking: Apps that help you connect with the people that matter.
  • Utilities: Apps that help you do things quicker and better.
  • News and Entertainment: Apps that keep you up to date with the things you care about the most.
  • Productivity: Apps that save you time and help you be more efficient.
  • Lifestyle: Apps that make it easier to do the things you love whenever and wherever you are.


National ICT Australia Ltd (NICTA), Australia's Information and Communications Technology (ICT) Research Centre of Excellence, develops technologies to generate economic, social and environmental benefits for Australia. NICTA has five laboratories around the country. Since its foundation in 2002, NICTA has deployed its technologies extensively with industry and government, created six new companies and continues to provide new talent to the ICT industry through the NICTA-enhanced PhD program.

NICTA is funded by the Australian Government as represented by the Department of Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy and the Australian Research Council through the ICT Centre of Excellence program. In addition to federal funding NICTA is also funded and supported by the Australian Capital Territory, New South Wales, Queensland and Victorian Governments, The Australian National University, Griffith University, University of Melbourne, University of New South Wales, University of Queensland, Queensland University of Technology and The University of Sydney.

About Optus

Optus is an Australian leader in integrated communications - serving more than nine million customers each day. The company specialises in a broad range of communications services for Australians including mobile, local, national and long distance telephony, business network services, internet and satellite services and subscription television.

Optus Digital Media is a business division dedicated to creating digital products and services through building new capabilities and technology partnerships. Digital services created by Optus Digital Media enable consumers to better communicate, find and share information, and be entertained wherever they are. The Optus Digital Media portfolio includes cloud-based services such as online storage and backup and media recording of free-to-air TV, plus digital content and applications for consumers and businesses.

For further information:

Dorothy Kennedy
Communications Specialist, NICTA
Ph: 02 9376 2098 or 0488 229 687

Danny Wong
Optus Corporate Affairs
Ph: 02 8082 7850

1 The winning application's upload onto an Optus-marketed mobile handset will be determined at Optus' sole discretion.
2 Source: Gartner (July 2011) "Forecast Analysis: Mobile Devices by Open Operating System, Worldwide, 2008-2015, 2Q11 Update."