You’ve probably seen the commercials Samsung and AT&T have been running lately for the Galaxy Note – Is it a phone? Is it a tablet? – luckily for me it was a money maker. I bought the “phone” a month or two ago, and honestly I really dig it – but that’s probably a topic for another blog entry.
Timing would have it that Samsung announced a developer challenge shortly after my purchase – with a crazy development turnaround time of a month – and of course I didn’t hear about it until a week after the contest was announced. During those remaining 3 weeks I had a vacation in Vegas planned on top of my already busy work and personal life schedule (which includes a 15 month old). On top of that I’d never personally developed for Android before, hadn’t coded in Java in about 10 years, and wasn’t familiar with Eclipse either. It also looked like the only time I would have was 2 weekends – before and after my Vegas vacation - and maybe a few weeknights if I was lucky. So, of course I went after it – cash prizes can be quite a motivator.
I ended up working two weekends of long hours trying to learn Android, the Samsung S-Pen SDK, and write an entire game from scratch. I ended up working two 25 hour weekends and a handful of super-late nights (thanks to my lovely wife watching our son). In the end I submitted my app at 1:30am in the morning on the Monday due date – needless to say I was worn out. After having felt burned in my last developer contest a few years ago, I doubted my sanity in killing myself trying to compete in something like this again. Now I just had to wait ~20 days to find out the results.
As it turns out, I placed 2nd in the contest. Honestly, when you win $50k you still feel like you won 1st place. Of course Uncle Sam is going to want his $20k, but I can’t complain. In the end it was all worth it, and of course now I have the time to go back and really learn how to develop properly for Android vs hack at it for a crazy deadline.
As someone who doesn’t code all day for a living anymore, this was quite a challenge – and one I really enjoyed. The contest was powered via ChallengePost.com, which has a bunch of other challenges for those interested. Over this last weekend Samsung announced another contest – this one with $4 million in prizes – guess I better start resting up.