Microsoft Mobile Incubation finalists announced

IncubationWeek Apple has its iPhone fund, as does Google with Android and RIM for the Blackberry.  These funds are meant to encourage the development of killer apps for their mobile platforms.

Microsoft in turn has its Mobile Incubation week, which launched in February and is currently running between the 13th and 17th April at Microsoft’s Silicon Valley Campus in Mountain View. The aim is to help new companies with great ideas for mobile software turn it into reality on the Windows Mobile platform, and hopefully feature their ideas in the nascent Windows Marketplace for Mobile.

The event features technical gurus from Microsoft, technology veterans who have built their own Windows Mobile applications, and influential venture capitalists and industry experts. Microsoft developers led interactive discussions, provided helpful advice, and facilitated actual application development on the Windows Mobile platform. At the end of the week,  a winner who will be eligible for prizes and special PR opportunities. All startups were eligible, whether or not they have a mobile application built already. The only requirement is that the companies were planning to develop a new application on Windows Mobile 6.1 or 6.5 and applications were judged according to the strength of the founding team, originality and creativity of the idea, and uniqueness to Windows Mobile.

Over 50 applications were submitted and the 6 finalists are:

o Networks in Motion – Plans to build a mobile app that offers turn-by-turn directions and hyper-local search

o DJ Nitrogen – building an application to facilitate the legal sharing of user-generated content, such as ringtones and music mash-ups

o VoiceMuffler – App will enable real-time, two-way speech-to-speech translation designed for foreign military personnel and civilian travellers

o Motolingo – Telematics solution that will monitor car diagnostics and report mobile phone behaviour in the car   

o VisTracks – Plans to build an enterprise app for real-time product location and tracking company shipments

o BrightKite – Extending their current  location-based social networking tool to Windows Mobile

The final winner will be announced on the Microsoft StartupZone blog soon.

Of note is that Windows Mobile 6.1 apps are also eligible, which suggests again that Marketplace may come to the platform after all.

Other Incubation events are being scheduled to follow in Europe and Asia.