The Gracious FewIntroducing the Big app on Campus campaign where Microsoft and the Windows Phone team is out to reward student developers for all the time and effort poured into the platform. They are partnering with the band The Gracious Few to create an awesome experience for ten lucky students at SXSW. The lucky chosen few will attend a private concert, receive backstage passes, go to a private dinner with the band, and be interviewed on national radio about their apps.

If that wasn't enough, two $15,000 cash awards are to be given to the developers for the two apps that will be named "Big App on Campus" (one award going to the top free app and the other for the top paid app). The campaign is open to U.S. college and university students who build apps for Windows Phone. Each app created from August 1st 2011 until February 14th 2012 can be entered and students can submit multiple entries. Submissions are due by February 14th and the campaign ends on March 13th.

How will the submitted apps be judged?

  • Innovation (40%): How innovative is the app? Does it do something new or does it accomplish something in a new way?
  • Experience (40%): Does it feel seamless and like a native experience on Windows Phone? Does the app have a polished feel?
  • Potential (20%): Does the app have potential in the market (lots of users, making money, both) or not?

Public voting will include the combination of number of app downloads and Facebook "likes" accumulated. To enter, you'll need a submitted and approved app on the Marketplace and complete the entry form. Be sure to check out the official rules

Source: Windows Phone Developer Blog