In Canada we are fortunate to have at least two great programs that I know of that will send you stuff for simply creating Apps for Windows Phone. You even get to keep the apps and if you work hard and focus, you can build a business around it. But the business part is really for tomorrow. Today it's about getting stuff. Stuff like Xbox, Laptops, Phones and many other items.
DVLUP.comThe first program you have heard about in this blog before. DVLUP from Nokia. It is sort of game for developers. Write Windows Phone or Windows apps and get rewarded. Rewards run all the way from the obligatory t-shirt to a Surface Pro. If you are serious about developing the real gold is in some of the rewards that offer design assistance, app promotion (pump up your downloads) and other goodies. One of things I find useful is their challenges. Sometimes it's difficult to think of ideas. Well, DVLUP's challenges actually give you the ideas. All you have to do its build it, then get points. For example I created an app "Where Am I" for a challenge. It gave me an excuse to learn about HERE Maps and GPS in general. Plus I got some points for it. The app allowed you with the tap of the screen to tell your friends where you are.
There is lots of help at DVLUP too. There are a bunch of Nokia Developer Ambassadors that will do almost anything to help you. If you are stuck on something and can't find the answer. Ask one of them and they will show you the way. I've had a few occasions to ask for help and they are excited to jump right in and give you a hand. Most of them are also Microsoft MVPs and are experts in Microsoft development technologies along with other 3rd party tools. You really can't go wrong there and there is probably one near you. They operate around the world.
Developer Movement (aka Code Kwondo) in CanadaLast spring and summer, Microsoft supported new app development with Developer Movement. It was great. You basically wrote and submitted apps and you got points that you could cash in for things like HDTVs, Stereos, Laptops and of course T-Shirts along with a bunch of other stuff. Well, that program went on hiatus for a while and it's back and back with a "haiiiiiiiiiaaaaa". The theme this year is a martial arts one. Can you become a Code Sensei by creating lots of apps and earning lots of points. The prizes are even more fabulous this year. One big add is that they are rewarding developers that create apps that generate downloads. If you can create an app that generates lots of downloads (more than 100) you can really rack up the points. But of course, even more important is the fact that you can collect colored belts as you accumulate points to the point that you can become a code sensei. Along with the program, Microsoft offers help in building your apps. All the tools are cheap... well actually FREE. Everything you need, including Visual Studio and Windows Azure (you get bonus points if you build with Azure).
In theory, you could earn an Xbox One (50,000 pts) for free with just two apps. Here is the tally:
- 1,000 pts - just sign up (remember... free!).
- 5,000 pts - Take a Microsoft Virtual Academy course (again free) and learn how to create Windows Phone Apps. (http://www.microsoftvirtualacademy.com/product-training/windows-phone#?fbid=gswbq333Ctw)
- 10,000 pts - App #1 - Create an app that uses Windows Azure
- 5,000 pts - Bonus for publishing 1st app.
- 10,000 pts - Your fabulous new app gets 101 downloads in the store
- 10,000 pts - App #2 - A second app that uses Windows Azure (easy now that you've done it once).
- 10,000 pts - App #2 also zooms past 100 downloads
Did I mention you can double dip by submitting apps to both Developer Movement AND DVLUP? Sweet eh? Remember all the apps you create are yours to keep. Be sure to think about things like advertising, in-app purchases or pay apps. The stuff you create IS valuable. Treat it that way and see what happens!
Who really wants to just eat turkey and watch football over the holidays anyway... right?