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March is a time for madness, or so the local sports broadcasters in the U.S. would have us believe. And, as the month comes to a close, there have been some fun twists on the madness theme when it comes to apps, including our own bracket contest right here on Conversations.

There is one more app-specific bracket contest that is well worth a look and your votes. Our friends over at Windows Phone who are seeking the “Next App Star.” Last week, this bracket contest began with 64 apps from around the world, and as public voting continues on Facebook, the field has narrowed, and the competition is getting fierce.

The Grand Prize winner in the Next App Star contest – as selected by people like you and me – will be featured in a Windows Phone prime-time TV advertisement in the U.S. How cool is that!

How were the 64 apps chosen?

According to the Window Phone Developer Blog, “developers from more than 79 markets entered a total of 9,000 apps in the competition.” Judging was determined by a “scoring of 50% based on total app ratings scores for the period March 6-12, and 50% on app quality, as determined by Microsoft.” Among those 64 apps, they were split evenly among paid and free apps – 32 of each.

There is a great range of apps to be found, including utilities, news readers, photo-sharing apps and games. We know you will recognize some of these apps, and others will be new apps that deserve a closer look.

Between now and the end of this week (March 29) you can vote in Round #3 of the contest – the sweet 16 round.  And, it is at this point that making your decision about which app to choose that the decision will become really hard.

For instance, 5 of the 16 finalists in this round happen to be apps created by members of DVLUP – the Nokia-backed rewards system for developers. Those apps include Lomogram and ProShot, both photo-sharing apps; as well as the very handy utility Jack of Tools Pro (pictured below).

Jack of Tools Pro_screens465

The other two apps by DVLUP members are the news apps WPCentral, and the puzzle game Brain Cube Reloaded (game pictured below).

Brain Cube Reloaded_4screens465

And, as you can see in the bracket from Facebook below, ProShot is currently going head-to-head against Jack of Tools Pro – only one app can move on to the Elite 8 in Round #4.


Need another reason to vote?

Everyone who votes is entered to win a Nokia Lumia 920, and each vote you cast gives you one entry to win. So, even if you are late to this party, and even if you only vote for the apps in Round #3, you will still have 16 chances to win – share your votes on Facebook, and you double the number of contest entries that you receive by voting.

You may cast your vote for any of the remaining 16 apps on the Windows Phone Facebook page.

The winner will be determined after the final round of voting takes place from April 6 – 8.

Who do you think will win the Windows Phone Next App Star contest? Share your prediction in the comments below.

image credit: torley