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The three-month, global competition is designed with the goal of encouraging developers to create consumer and business mobile apps using Watson’s powerful “cognitive technology” which allows for more human-like processing of information.

Readers may recall Watson’s capabilities on display when it beat Jeopardy! champion Ken Jennings two years ago. As Mike Rhodin, Senior Vice President, IBM Watson Group, stated in a press release: “The power of Watson in the palm of your hand is a game-changing proposition, so we’re calling on mobile developers around the world to start building cognitive computing apps infused with Watson’s intelligence.”


IBM Watson Group Unveils Cloud-Delivered Watson Services
Credit: IBM

The announcement of the IBM Watson Mobile Developer Challenge came as part of Rometty’s keynote address at Mobile World Live in Barcelona last month, where she spoke about “key shifts changing the technology industry” as well as what she sees as three industry defining trends—“data, cloud and engagement.”

Describing this as both an “exciting” and “disruptive” time for “every one in every industry,” Rometty used data on mobile trends to help highlight Watson’s potential applications in the areas of “medicine, financial services, retail and travel” while establishing context for the challenge announcement.


Infographic: IBM MobileFirst datagram Credit: IBM

Contrasting Watson as a service offering as opposed to a device, Rometty invited “content providers, software developers, clients, you name it…” to rise to the challenge of building businesses “on top of Watson.” At the end of the challenge three winners will be selected to join the Watson Ecosystem Program, receive design consulting and support from IBM Interactive Experience, and seed funding to turn their concept into a viable commercial app.

For more information or to apply to participate in the challenge, visit Interested readers can follow the conversation at @IBMMobile and @IBMWatson and check back here at for updates