The KEI Policy Blog has an article on the $10,000,000 Android Developer Challenge. Android is Google's new Linux-based software environment for cell phones. In the Linux spirit, Android is open-source. It includes a lot of programmer tools.
Here's more from CNN and Salon.
The prize isn't going to go to one winner. Instead:
The $10 million in awards will be given out as cash awards -- no strings attached. The total will be distributed equally between the Android Developer Challenge I and II. In the Android Developer Challenge I, the 50 most promising entries will each receive a $25,000 award to fund further development. These 50 entries will then be eligible for even greater recognition via ten awards worth $275,000 each and and another ten worth $100,000 each.
This is followed by a Phase II prize round.
The challenge is open to everyone not affiliated with the prize, with some exceptions due to U.S. and local laws.
There's an Android Developer's Blog with information for Android programmers, including those competing in the Challenge. Of course one of the examples to help programmers get familiar with the environment is a Lunar Lander Challenge game.
Will any of the prize winners be applications related to space? We know that Google is into Lunar Landers, GPS location services, maps (in the spirit of Google Earth), astronomy, and similar topics, based on their Android SDK and past Google business moves. Maybe this is a niche that would be looked on favorably in the competition ...?
This is yet another example where businesses are starting to turn to prizes to solve business problems (in this case applications for a new phone platform to help it compete with existing ones).