ChaCha's "Mobile Answers" Text-Based Search Application Wins AT&T Mobile Developer Contest
Developer Wins $25,000 Grand Prize and Exposure To More Than 70 Million Wireless Customers
Held at CTIA Show, 3rd Annual AT&T Fast-Pitch Program Also Awards Applications for Studying and Shopping On Wireless Devices
Las Vegas, Nevada, April 4, 2008
Need to know the weather in Miami tomorrow? Want to know how to spell ginormous? How about the ingredients in a frozen Margarita? Those answers and many more are available using an innovative "mobile answers" text message service from ChaCha, which won the grand prize award in a mobile software developer contest sponsored by AT&T Inc. (NYSE:T).
ChaCha, along with more than 100 other mobile software developers, participated in the 3rd annual Fast Pitch contest held at the annual CTIA wireless show this week in Las Vegas. Indianapolis-based ChaCha, won a $25,000 grand prize. ChaCha also will be promoted on AT&T's premier wireless application portal MEdiaNet, giving it exposure to AT&T's more than 70 million customers.
ChaCha's mobile answers gives users the ability to text or call-in an open-ended question using a cell phone or other mobile device. A few minutes later, an answer will be provided via text message, along with a web link to follow for more information. For example, a consumer could ask, "Where could I buy the cheapest gas in Orlando, Fla?" and a human guide, utilizing powerful tools to search the Web would return an answer in a text message with a Web reference link.
The two runners-up in the contest were Slifter, a location-based shopping service from New York-based GPSShopper, and Mobile Prep, from Positive Motion in Seattle, which enables students to prepare for exams by using a mobile device to access a vast library of information. Both companies received a $5,000 cash award.
"Our rapidly growing base of repeat customers proves that ChaCha mobile answers service is a true breakthrough," said Scott A. Jones, co-founder and CEO of ChaCha. "Being selected by the largest mobile carrier — at the largest wireless show — is an honor as it validates the unique capabilities provided by ChaCha. We are thrilled about the opportunity to make ChaCha's mobile answers service available to AT&T's customer base."
ChaCha and other entrants in the consumer contest were judged on several factors: innovation and originality of the application; market appeal; interface design; and number of platforms and handsets supported.
Fast-Pitch allows developers to meet with AT&T officials in person to discuss their applications for consideration for placement on AT&T's wireless network.
"Fast Pitch continues to be a very successful program in helping us to find new and innovative wireless applications," said Mark Collins, vice president of Consumer Data, AT&T's wireless unit. "We extend our congratulations to all the winners and thanks to this year's participants."
AT&T was the first major wireless carrier to create a developers relations program and now has over 20,000 developers registered in its program. The company offers its customers all of the world's major mobile operating systems working with developers to create applications and content for Blackberry, iPhone, Microsoft Windows Mobile, Java, Palm OS and Symbian.
All of AT&T's mobile applications operate on its GSM network, the world's standard in mobile communications used by nearly 3 billion people. GSM is inherently open, making it easy for developers and carriers to bring innovative applications to consumers.
In a competitive analysis of the developer relations programs of major wireless carriers and device manufacturers published last year by Evans Data, AT&T ranked first among carriers in its ability to help wireless developers successfully commercialize their applications from concept to certification to generating revenue.
The study — which also ranked AT&T first amongst carriers and second overall for the quality of its developers program — said, "(AT&T's developer) partnering options are amongst the most well-defined among the companies reviewed here. Developers are given several options to market their applications, through (AT&T's) own marketplace and through external resources like Cellmania and Handango."
Developers interested in joining AT&T's developer program should visit: http://developer.att.com.
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