2015 AT&T Developer Summit and Hackathon [Sponsored]

2015 AT&T Developer Summit and Hackathon [Sponsored]

The AT&T Developer Summit has become the top annual pre-CES event for the mobile community. Held at the Palms Casino in Las Vegas, it combines a standard informational expo with a prize-filled Hackathon. This year the dev program team at AT&T was nice enough to invite XDA, including Jordan and I, so we packed our toothbrushes and boarded a plane.

When we arrived at The Palms on Saturday morning, there was a long line of eager developers waiting to register. More than 700 competed to win a share of over $500,000 in cash and prizes, with top prize of $25,000 to the most creative, most useful, most interesting, and most well-constructed app. After check-in and registration, developers found a table in the Rain nightclub, dubbed Hackathon North, or they made camp in Hackathon South. Once everyone was seated, the presentations began. All the sponsors had three minutes to pitch their available APIs and development kits.


At the conclusion of the presentations, development began. Teams were formed, concocted an idea, and spoke to API providers. Many coded through the night. During the Saturday afternoon session, Jordan took the opportunity to interview two of the teams–Team Red Alert and Team GamifiedHome–in a live stream.

Representatives from the AT&T Drive Studio were in attendance to help Hackathon teams use their development kit to integrate with the Connected Car. The term “Connected Car” means a number of different things: car cellular connectivity, infotainment services, and vehicle telematics. Being able to get telemetry and diagnostic data and perform remote operations are just some of the features AT&T Drive offers developers. Jordan sat down with Ransom Murphy from AT&T Drive team to learn more:

Back to the Hackathon: Each team found a problem that they felt needed a solution. There was a great diversity of teams covering a wide gamut of projects. Here’s a recap of the action:

After 24 hours of hard work, the teams were wrapping up their marathon development sessions and by ten in the morning, judging began. Official judges went around and evaluated all the teams’ projects,  selecting a top 20.  Then there was a lightning pitch, where each team lobbied for victory. The winners of the top prizes were announced the next day during the AT&T Developer Summit Keynote Address.  

The next day a bunch of exhibitors got together to talk to the attendees in the expo center. With great information sessions you could learn a lot more about Connected Cars, wearables and more. Finally, after the Developer Summit was over, they ended the event with a concert. Everyone got together to listen to the music of Neon Trees.

Overall, the event was an amazing experience. While we did not participate in the Hackathon ourselves, in interviewing the teams and observing the event we got caught up in the electric atmosphere. Like the developers, we felt an odd mix of optimism and exhaustion. If you ever have to opportunity to participate in this, or any of AT&T’s Hackathons, we highly recommend it.

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