Sony Ericsson Woos Developers in India

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Sony Ericsson Mobile Communications has launched its Developer World program in India with a contest aimed at attracting Indian developers to create applications and games for its mobile phones.

The launch of the Developer World program in India on Tuesday follows the launch last year of a similar program in China.

Sony Ericsson already has a developer program running in more than 200 countries, but it is focusing on India and China, because these countries are key markets for the company, said Jens Greve, head of Sony Ericsson Developer World, in an interview.

As Sony Ericsson expands into markets like China and India, accommodating cultural differences and preferences becomes a key concern, and this can be done by partnerships with local content, applications, gaming, and entertainment developers, Greve said. In China, for example, the focus of the developer program has been on generating local content, entertainment and applications, he added.

The Sony Ericsson Developer World site already has about 70,000 visitors from India, consisting both of developers and content providers working in companies, as well as hobbyists, Greve said. India has the second largest number of developers working on software and content for Sony Ericsson phones, but will soon overtake the U.S., which currently has the largest number of developers working on the phones, he added.

The Sony Ericsson Developer World Awards contest, exclusively for developers in India, was launched Tuesday by the company through a new Web site. A total of six awards will be given in two awards categories, for best application, and best application idea, Greve said. The six winning Indian developers will be part of a 100-day program during which Sony Ericsson and four industry experts will mentor the winners. At the end of the 100-day program these developers will become Sony Ericsson Certified Developers, Greve said.

Developers who do not win the awards will be assisted by Sony Ericsson in other ways, including helping them find venture capitalists willing to invest in their ideas. Applications and content found useful by Sony Ericsson will be sold through the company's channels such as its online store PlayNow, which the company plans to introduce in India by early next year. Applications and content from Indian developers will also be sold through third-party channels, and may also be recommended to operators, and even licensed and preloaded with phones, Greve said.

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