Korea has swept first and second prize in the Windows Phone 7 category of the Imagine Cup, the first time for the country to win the top two spots in the so-called IT World Cup.
Korea has made history by winning an award at the championship for four straight years, including in the short film category in 2008, embedded category in 2009, and next-generation Web category last year.
Founded in 2003, the Imagine Cup is the world’s largest IT competition and is open to students age 16 or older. More than 350,000 students from 183 countries took part in qualifiers and those who advanced competed in the finals in New York this year.
More than 500 students from 128 teams in 73 countries took part under the theme “Imagine a world where technology can resolve challenges facing us” from July 8 to Wednesday.
Five teams advanced to the finals in the Windows Phone 7 category. Among them, the four-member “Homerun” team led by Choi Go-un, 24, and the five-member “Jipijigi” squad led by Cho Gyeong-taek, 25, were from Korea.
The Homerun team took the top prize for creating “Pikkappu,” a smartphone application that allows parents busy with work to efficiently communicate with their children.
The Jipijigi team developed the app “Hot Potato,” which is designed to help people to discuss global issues and prompt participation in relief support or donations. The winners received plaques and prize money (8,000 U.S. dollars for the grand prize winner and 4,000 dollars for second prize).
After winning second place, Cho of Jipijigi said, “In the finals, I directly experienced how big a world participating students see and how deeply they agonize to develop ideas,” adding, “Rather than being complacent with today’s victory, I will step up efforts going forward.”
Walid Abu-Hadba, vice chairman of Microsoft’s platform business group who followed the Korean team’s activities, said, “The team had no shortcomings in any of the areas of creativity, technological prowess, practicality and design. They have shown outstanding skills that enabled them to match professional app developers.”
Microsoft Korea added, “It is especially notable because these students won though the Windows Phone 7 has yet to be introduced in Korea.”