CEA to Award $10,000 for Innovative App

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Would an extra US$10,000 feel good in your pocket? If so, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) has got a deal for you.

The CEA launched a contest called Apps for Innovation on Wednesday. The top prize is, you guessed it, $10,000. The winner also gets a free trip to the huge International CES trade show in Las Vegas in January.

The CEA, focused on driving a so-called innovation agenda in Washington, D.C., is looking for developers to build software applications that use publicly available data to demonstrate how innovation and entrepreneurship are making an economic impact in the U.S. The trade group is also accepting submissions from developers with applications that help CEA members and consumers advance policy goals that support innovation in the U.S.

If those rules sound a bit wide open to you, that's by design, said Gary Shapiro, CEA's president and CEO. "What we're looking for are the things we can't anticipate," he said. "I don't want to limit someone. Other people are smarter than I am. We're very comfortable with ambiguous definitions, because people are innovative."

Pressed for examples, Shapiro said an app could track the country of origin of U.S. Nobel Prize winners and see how many of them are immigrants. Or, a developer could make an app that makes it easier for CEA backers to communicate with each other or communicate with their lawmakers or local media.

Another example: An innovative app could use U.S. Federal Communications Commission broadband data and Internet mapping tools to show the need for high-speed Internet access in rural areas. The contest is open to apps for any type of device or any type of Web platform.

Developers can either create something new or submit an app they've already created. "The hope is, frankly, that people have some unnoticed or unused applications," Shapiro said.

CEA launched the Innovation Movement in June in an effort to garner public support for policies including broadband deployment, alternative energy and international trade. More than 35,000 people have joined the movement, CEA said.

In addition to the grand-prize winner, judges will award a second place of $5,000 and a third place of $3,500. The best apps will be included in an Apps for Innovation library, where they will be available free to the public.

The contest ends Nov. 6. Winners will be announced Nov. 10 at the CES New York press preview.

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