SDK at the ready: Ubuntu has launched a new development competition for its mobile platform, with some swish prizes up for grabs for the winners.

The ‘Ubuntu Scope Showdown‘ is the third such initiative to be held by the project and the second pitched squarely at mobile.

But this time around amateur and l33t developers alike are being tasked with a new brief: creating custom home screen experiences — ‘Scopes’ — for Ubuntu on phones.

Er, What Is a Scope?

We often refer to Scopes as mini search engines, little portals that help you find content from a specific web site, service or topic — think ‘eBay’, ‘Cat gifs’, or ‘Restaurants Nearby’ — from the home screen, no need to open an app.

scopes customization

Thanks to the rich variety of result layouts content can be surfaced and previewed in interesting, intuitive ways. And when you’re happy with what you’ve found you can (typically) click through to open it up in an app or a new tab in the Ubuntu web browser.

Scopes can be added, removed, re-ordered and ‘favourited’ for easy access. Some Scopes can search multiple sources, others just the one.

It’s because of this multifariousness that makes the lack of a traditional home screen as we know it from Android, iOS and other mobile platforms  (pages and pages of scopes) less of a negative. There’s no desktop; no custom wallpaper you can cover with icons, folders, shortcuts and widgets, but there is, quite literally, a world of information at your fingertips.

The Competition

The Ubuntu Scope Showdown runs for five weeks (October 30 – December 3) giving participants just about enough time to take a project from concept to completion using the Ubuntu SDK and submitted to the Ubuntu Store.

The overall winner (decided by a judging panel of which, disclaimer ahoy, I am part of), will bag a brand new Dell XPS 13 Laptop (Developer Edition) preloaded with Ubuntu.

Runners up nab a Logitech UE Boom Bluetooth speaker, a Nexus 7 (2013) running Ubuntu, or one of two bundles of Ubuntu merchandise.

Interested in taking part? You’ll find more details on the entry requirements plus links to all the documentation you can eat on the mini-site. 

Will you be taking part?

Dev Ubuntu Phone appshowdown contest smart scopes