BUDDING mobile phone developers have been given a chance to start their careers by a York design company.

Teams of students from the University of York pitched their ideas for a new app to be created for smart phones in a judging competition featuring Lee Stott, head UK academic evangelist for Microsoft and Charles Cecil, managing director of games developer Revolution Software, which is based in York.

Anthony Main, mobile director of The Distance, a media agency based in the Springboard incubator at the Ron Cooke Hub at the university, launched The App Challenge to develop skills in this relatively new area for the industry.

About 120 students signed up to the challenge, which held sessions on developing ideas, designing and building them and how to make money from them.

He said: “The quality of entrants from students was really high. We had seven finalists which all had credible ideas for fantastic apps.”

The winners, a team called Banter Apps, who designed Photodiary, an app which encourages the user to take a photo every single day to record their lives, will have a prototype of their app made by The Distance, as well as free entry on to the University of York’s new course in app development.

The runner-up, Far Too Appy, designed an app called Timeline, which brings together existing services, like contacts, alarms and to do lists into a single app. They have won a discount of 50 per cent of the app development course.

Mr Main said: “We have offered them all some free guidance and they have all got really good ideas so they have really got something out of it. We’re giving people a career path and some experience to put on their CV.

He also said the competition was to help them as a growing business, find new recruits.

He said that it had spurred a lot of interest in the industry, and they had already taken on one student to help them with business development.

The company plans to run the competition again later this year.