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Hacking Away on the Pioneer AppRadio

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Last week at the 2012 SEMA Show in Las Vegas Pioneer introduced the first ever AppRadio Hackathon sponsored by Geek magazine. The concept behind the Hackathon was to bring together some of the best mobile developers and give them a space to work around the clock during the SEMA Show on the next great app for Pioneer's AppRadio with a chance to take home up to $50,000 in cash and prizes. Apps were developed in three specific categories, and any team was eligible to submit one app for each category:

  • Voice Interface SNS application: Safe in-vehicle use of Social Networking Services (SNS) through a voice recognition and text-to-speech interface.
  • Location Based Services application: Geo-fenced or geo-tagged automotive related location based services (LBS).
  • SEMA Member automotive accessory application: Safe in-vehicle use of Social Networking Services (SNS) through a voice recognition and text-to-speech interface.

The Set Up

The event, which lasted for 69 hours (72 hours if you include the 3 hour introduction time) was replete with food, prizes, entertainment and what looked to be some very sleepy people by the end. There were over 80 registered participants with all groups of all sizes, from individual developers to a family of three. The set up appeared very well executed, with lots of space, large tables with plenty of chairs ensuring a space that encourages collaboration between participants. Snacks, the fastest wifi at SEMA and even a ‘chill-out’ room with couches and an Xbox made it a place a lot of people wanted to be — the set up looked so good in fact, there were even a few reports of SEMA attendees trying to sneak in.

To help get the word out, Pioneer pushed the event through their social media outlets and set up a microsite with information on the event. A camera crew, with host Sarah Austin were on-site to document the event as it played out. Judging was done by a varied panel which included members from Pioneer Electronics, SEMA as well as one of Geek magazine’s editor’s Milosh Nikodjevic who covers topics that include over-clocking, water-cooling and all other forms of PC mods for Geek.

The Results

So who took home the prize money, the glory and the chance to have their app included in the Pioneer AppRadio application? After 69 hours of development effort and so many great entries, it was set to be a tough choice for the judges.

First place in the Social Networking App category went to Tiles, a social networking app that automatically aggregates the most relevant social media content by taking into account current time, location, and social activity of the user. Content is served in tile format, with each tile contains two “action buttons,” allowing interaction with the content using AppRadio’s speech-to-text and voice recognition technology allowing the user to hear a Facebook posting or tweet and focus on driving.

First place in the Location-Based Service App category went to CarTourin’, a sightseeing app that helps showcase a series of destinations based on the vehicles current location. It was designed as an alternative to traveling on overcrowded tour buses, and lets you discover interesting destinations from the comfort of your own vehicle. Tours, pricing, ratings and categories are all presented for the specific destinations.

Finally, first place in the SEMA Member Automotive Accessory App went to CAMBUDDY Drive, a very cool app that actually integrated with two SEMA Member products, the GoPro Hero3 and the PLX Kiwi 2. In addition to capturing video footage from your car the live video feed is integrated with performance data coming from the PLX Kiwi 2 and iPhone sensors.

Be sure to check out more info about the AppRadio Hackathon on their microsite, or to let Pioneer know what killer app you’d like to see next directly through Geek.

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