Apps for the Army contest draws iPhone, Android, BlackBerry apps

A hundred developers have developed 85 applications for soldiers and other Army personnel as part of the Apps for the Army contest launched in September.

Peter Corbett, whose company iStrategyLabs is running the contest, said this morning that, so far, 14 iPhone applications have been created along with 8 BlackBerry applications.

And 19 apps have been created for Google's Android-based cell phones.

The applications will be made available throughout the Army by hosting contest entries on Forge.mil, the Defense Information Systems Agency's (DISA) open source code and software repository.

The contest is a spin-off of Apps for Democracy, which invited developers to create applications using Washington D.C. public data. Vivek Kundra, now federal chief information officer, spearheaded the contest when he was top technology guru in the District's government.

Meanwhile, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), the top government research lab, last month sent out a request for information for developers to create iPhone and Android apps for military personnel.

While the two programs aren't related, Corbett said the teams are in contact to share ideas.

Corbett said he recently got an email from a soldier deployed in Iraq who had been creating his own applications, but the recreational computers and equipment available in his camp were not sufficient. So the solder asked if he could send his work to the Apps for the Army team to make available to others.

"Getting that kind of email was a whole new experience for someone who wears pink shirts and lives in Dupont Circle," said Corbett, who, appropriately, was wearing a pink shirt. "But it really blew me away."

The Apps for the Army contest's top submissions will be announced in August and winners will receive awards totaling $30,000.