Intel’s Ultimate Coder Challenge is a unique competition where 6 developers go head to head to develop the ultimate Ultrabook app. I am participating as a judge in the competition, and over the past couple of weeks I have been following the progress of these developers as they worked to complete the ultimate Ultrabook app. Believe it or not, we have finally arrived at week 7. That means that the developers have completed their apps and that the judging process has begun.
So I have finally gotten to spend some serious time playing around with the apps that I have observed being developed over these past couple of weeks. My initial reaction to all of the apps is that I am impressed with how much the developers have been able to accomplish in such a short amount of time. Not only have they developed apps that are designed specifically for the Ultrabook, but they have also managed to make sure that the apps take advantage of the Ultrabook’s features in clever ways. One area that each developer has really succeeded is when it comes to utilizing the Ultrabook’s touch display.
As expected, Lee’s Love Hearts app has turned out to be a truly quirky and fun “messaging” app that is sure to entertain you. I’m also impressed how Lee has managed to integrate so many of the Ultrabook’s touch and sensor features into the app, and in a variety of clever ways to boot.
BioIQ is a pretty straightforward app, and now that I have played around with it, I can’t help but wish that I had had it around as a study tool while I was a biology student. I’m sure that it will be very useful to students and teachers alike.
Shufflr is looking slick on the Ultrabook, and Sagar’s team has done a great job of designing it to fit in with the uber clean Windows 8 U.I. look and feel. Features like the “Shake to Refresh Videos” function is clever, and helps bring out those unique elements that set the latest gen of Ultrabooks apart from just any old laptop.
George & Suresh have done a nice job of porting over the MoneyBag app to the Ultrabook, and along the way they haven’t just taken advantage of the Ultrabook’s hardware – but also thrown in some convenient new features like Cloud Sync. The MoneyBag app is a worthwhile app to check out for anyone looking for an efficient way to manage their finances, and who isn’t these days.
Similar to BioQ, AB-Vocitrain is at heart an educational app. Andreas has done a very nice job of matching the app’s design to the Windows 8 U.I., while taking advantage of the Ultrabook’s touchscreen too. And Wendy made a very good point over on the Intel Software blog, and that is that Andreas is the only developer who has worked all on his own during the competition – sans a team. You have to give him props for that!
Wind Up Football has done a good job of making their game show off the graphics prowess of the Ultrabook. They have also made the app take advantage of the Ultrabook’s sensors in an especially unique way – with contextual computing. They have managed to accomplish this by coding the game so that it is aware of the time of day, and time of year, and in turn the game’s environment responds to that awareness with appropriate weather effects and lighting.
Unfortunately, my biggest issue with the contestants’ apps is that many of the apps are in need of a better tutorial or guide system, especially in relation to taking advantage of the Ultrabook’s specific technologies that are used in the app. And on a side note, to all of those developers that took advantage of the Live Tiles in Windows 8, they each get a bonus in my book, because taking advantage of what Windows 8 has to offer is really apart of the whole Ultrabook experience.
But no matter who ends up taking home the title of Intel’s Ultimate Coder, each of the developers who participated in the competition are winners. They have all managed to develop fleshed out apps for the Ultrabook that is ready to be consumed for the masses – and all in time for Windows 8 and all of the new Ultrabooks that are about to be unleashed with it.