SAN FRANCISCO - Google Inc., owner of the world's most popular Internet search engine, plans to offer $10 million in prizes to developers who create applications for its mobile phone operating system, known as Android.
The cash awards will range from $25,000 to $275,000, the Mountain View, Calif., company said yesterday. Winners will be selected by a panel of judges.
Google is expanding into mobile phones to attract more spending from online advertisers, which are moving beyond personal computers. The new software, due in phones by the second half of 2008, will add to mobile versions of Google's maps, e-mail, and calendar software.
Google said last week that it is working with 33 companies, including Sprint Nextel Corp. and T-Mobile USA Inc., to create software that runs mobile phones. The operating system is based on open-source Linux software, allowing it to work with a range of phones and services.
Spending on mobile phone ads may jump to $11.4 billion worldwide by 2011 from $2.17 billion today, according to Informa PLC, a London research firm. Google gets 99 percent of its more than $10 billion in annual sales from advertising, mostly by selling text links next to search results on its own pages and on partner sites.
Google shares fell $31.90, or 4.8 percent, to $632.07. They have gained 37 percent this year.