NETGEAR'S Million Dollar App Contest


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Apps are moving everywhere, even into your Internet routers. Netgear is validating that point with the announcement today of a $1 million contest to find the best app for a Netgear router.

Sometimes I wonder about these contests, but they sure are a great PR stunt. And let's face it, we all use apps. Take for instance the apps that allow you to play US slots which are US player friendly websites. Both iphone and the droid have apps for online casino players. Initially, one of the problems it was tricky to find USA casino apps for Android was because Google didn't allow real money Android casinos in the Play Store. But never fear, there are noe hundreds of different Android casino games offered to Android users. Most of the online casino Android apps have the most popular gambling and card games such as poker, video poker, blackjack, baccarat, roulette, keno, faro and slots. It is up to you to see if the types of games offered live up to your standards, or if you want to look at a different internet casino. And likewise, there are lots of online casino games for the iPhone that are available through the app store in the US. Whether you want to play for money or for free, the range of casino and slots games available has multiplied in the past few years. Having an online casino app, I can understand, but really, an app for router gear makers?

It may seem crazy for a router gear makers to jump on the app bandwagon, but it’s moving to apps for all the same reasons others are. Now you’re likely to see a wider variety of networking apps, from parental control apps to mobile apps that can troubleshoot networking problems. The technology in routers, which are essentially computing platforms, is good enough to run more sophisticated app programs than they have been able to do in the past.

There is a big benefit in tapping the creativity of independent developers to build apps  that can run on top of open platform routers. The apps can generate additional income. And Netgear can generate routers that are customized at the app level for different market segments, allowing it to reduce the number of separate custom hardware devices and thereby reduce costs.

San Jose, Calif.-based Netgear launched its Netgear Genie+ app marketplace last year as it changed the hardware platform underlying its raft of router products. Those routers had been evolving over the years, but they became much more app-ready in the past two years because they had enough dynamic random access memory to actually run apps, said Cedar Milazzo, vice president of software engineering, in an interview with VentureBeat.

“We recognized a need for differentiation from a software view,” Milazzo said. “We built the software development kit across all our platforms and built out the cloud services to enable an app store.”

Netgear already has 1,000 developers who have downloaded the software development kit tools for its Smart Network Developer program. About 60 apps are live in the store now.

Netgear will take applications until Sept. 30. Then it will screen the finalists and have a panel of judges (including me) vote on the winners at the Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas in January 2014. The three top app developers will get a free trip to Vegas, and the final winner will get $10,000 and a chance to win the $1 million, 40-year annuity grand prize.

Milazzo said Netgear is changing how consumers interact with connected devices in the home so that the software and hardware experience can be seamless. The apps will be able to run on millions of Netgear devices that are already in consumer home networks. Most new Netgear products, except for low-end models with not enough memory, will be able to run the apps. Among the product lines that can run apps are Netgear routers and ReadyNAS network-attached storage devices.

The deadline for the contest is midnight Sept. 30. Apps are likely to fall into categories of business productivity; gaming; health; home energy; home monitoring; media (music and video); network management; network security; storage (backup and file sharing); printing; and support for both tech and non-tech services.

Judges will select winners based on criteria including ease of use; features and functions; originality; indispensability; and integration of hardware.

Milazzo said the need for better apps is clear because most home networks aren’t yet smart enough to optimize themselves for things that users need, such as improving bandwidth for streaming video that will be viewed on the main TV in the home.

“We realized the devices are always turned on and aren’t utilized most of the time,” Milazzo said. “It’s a great platform to let people do other things. We realize that we can’t do all of these things ourselves. It has endless possibilities.”

For example, he said that a coffee shop with its own router could set up a social network for its local customers, so that it can get to know more people and serve them better. Home automation and home control are also ripe areas for apps running on routers. All of the apps have to go through Netgear’s approval process for security and quality-control reasons. Milazzo said that apps are not allowed to open ports out into the open Internet, for fear of hacking.

Netgear will take a 30 percent cut on any sales related to apps.



  • Create a Smart Network Developer account. If you are already registered as a Smart Network Developer, please log in.

Download SDK

  • Once you have registered, you can download the SDK and get started on developing your app.
  • Become a Subscribed Developer
  • Submit the annual subscription fee and request an App ID.

Develop Your Application

  • Submit an App
  • Apps must be submitted by 9/30/13.


Open to legal residents of the 50 United States and D.C., excluding MD, CO, VT and PR, 18 years of age or older. Contest ends 9/30/13. For complete official rules and details visit Void in MD, CO, VT and PR and where prohibited or restricted by law. The winner(s) of the Contest will be determined by a panel of judges from Sponsor. Only the one (1) eligible Semi-Finalist Entry receiving the highest total score from the panel of "Celebrity Judges" will be designated the Top App Developer ("Grand Prize Finalist") and eligible to participate in the Million Dollar Number Guess contest for the chance to win the grand prize. The grand prize is: $10,000 cash (awarded in the form of a check) with the chance to win a $1,000,000 40-year annuity. The $1,000,000 40-year annuity, if awarded, is payable as 40 equal, annual installments of $25,000 cash per year, without interest. Maximum of (1) Grand Prize Finalist Attempt. In order to claim the $1,000,000 40-year annuity grand prize, the (1) eligible Grand Prize Finalist must correctly guess the winning 3-digit number in its exact order as contained in the sealed prize envelope present at the event. In the event that the eligible Grand Prize finalist does not successfully complete the grand prize contest requirements, then the $1,000,000 40-year annuity grand prize will not be awarded. All Federal, State and Local laws apply. Sponsor: NETGEAR, Inc.

Technical Requirements

To deploy an application in genie+ marketplace, you must first package the application in the appropriate format. If you already have an existing application written in C or C++, simply wrap your application with an OSGI bundle. The details are in the Developer Guide, Chapter 2. Remember to include your logo (logo.png), metadata (info.xml), and privacy policy (privacy.txt). These are mandatory. Please be sure to read the NETGEAR genie+ Marketplace Store Developer Program Policies.


Important Dates

NETGEAR'S Million Dollar App contest runs 5/1/13 – 9/30/13. The contest consists of five stages as outlined below:


App Submissions

May 1, 2013

September 30, 2013

Round 1 Judging to determine
Top 3 App Developers

October 1, 2013

October 31, 2013

Top 3 App Developers Notification

November 1, 2013

December 1, 2013

Round 2 Judging, Celebrity Judges
to determine Top App Developer

December 31, 2013

January 6, 2014

Top App Developer Announced &
Million Dollar Number Guess Contest

January 6, 2014


Current ranking as of May 06, 2013
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