MobileMonday announces Peer Awards finalists

MobileMonday, the global organization for professionals in the mobile business, just announced a list of 20 finalists for its annual Mobile Peer Awards contest to be held in Barcelona on Feb. 16. The companies — including 12 early-stage startups and eight seed-stage startups — were selected by an international jury from a pool of 42 nominees, each representing a specific MobileMonday chapter from around the world.

In the early-stage category:

Addict Digital Media (Buenos Aires chapter): An online advertising agency that creates and integrates marketing campaigns like banner ads, widgets and applications into mobile content.

Aka-aki networks (Berlin chapter): The German location-based mobile social network — very similar to American startups Loopt and Skout — allows users to see which of their friends are close by, and to access profiles of others who just happen to be in close proximity.

Babajob.com (Bangalore chapter): Commonly described as an Indian combination of Monster and LinkedIn for the “informal job” sector, Babajob lets employers looking for service workers like cooks, maids, drivers and construction workers post listings targeting specific villages. Both a job site and social network, it says it is optimized for mobile platforms because many of its job seekers access the web primarily through their cell phones.

Big in Japan (Dallas chapter): Developer of shopping network ShopSavvy, Big in Japan identifies itself simply as a builder of “cool applications for mobile devices,” including the iPhone and Google’s Android. Its flagship (and only) product, ShopSavvy, nabbed Google’s Android Developer Challenge last year.

BioLocate (Jakarta chapter): Maker of an application called FireAnts, BioLocate aggregates and delivers real-time traffic data to users’ cell phones to help them make informed decisions about how to get from point A to point B before they even leave the house (it uses the data it collects to suggest alternative routes too, not just warn against jams).

Dial2Do (Dublin chapter): This voice-recognition app allows users to call one number to complete a variety of different tasks. For example, you can call the number, say “Twitter” and proceed to speak your tweet, which automatically goes up on the site. Available in 24 countries (including the U.S.), it also purports to send email and text messages, record task lists and stream internet audio content.

More after the jump…
Fortumo (Estonia chapter): Fortumo allows even layman mobile users to establish and earn revenue with their own text messaging services. There are several pre-defined services to choose from. For example, you can establish an SMS-info service, like ChaCha, where you send information to users who text you queries. You can also set up your own, fledgling text-to-win campaign, or host mobile ads that others text you on your social networking profile or blog.

Mob4Hire (Vancouver chapter): This network connects mobile app and game developers with a pool of potential testers. The company claims that it lowers costs for companies by speeding up the testing phase and provides a channel for testers to make money for their work.

Orbster (Munich chapter): A provider of entertainment apps for mobile GPS systems, Orbster integrates maps into navigation games like scavenger hunts and silly guided tours.

Oxynade (Brussels chapter): This mobile app aggregates event listings across thousands of web sites and makes them searchable via its engine, Happenr.

Tellmewhere (Paris chapter): Using compatibility metrics to take the concept behind Yelp a step further, Tellmewhere determines which users you have the most in common with and then recommends restaurants, day spas and activities based on their preferences. It’s a lot like concert recommender Songkick, only it asks users to input five places they like instead of bands.

Xumii (Sydney chapter): Much like Meebo, Xumii lets users chat with friends (even in group chat mode) regardless of which service they use — including Facebook, imeem, Googletalk, etc.

In the emerging startup category:

Aradiom (Istanbul chapter): The company gives developers a platform to quickly create and deploy Java applications across different mobile platforms and continuously update them after the fact.

Fring (Tel Aviv chapter): Using VoIP technology, Fring provides free mobile voice calls via services like Skype, AIM and other chat clients.

GetJar Networks (Lithuania chapter): Basically a library of free downloadable mobile apps and games, GetJar lets users browse by platform and handset model, share their thoughts in forums and sign up to test betas.

Keynetik (Washington, D.C. chapter): The only finalist to work with the physical orientation of phones, Keynetik is working to build mobile applications that take more advantage of device accelerometers and motion sensing capabilities.

Mobintech (Copenhagen chapter): Seemingly borrowing a concept from Sprockets and European high-design, Mobintech lets users watch mobile shows, movies and videos via a sleek pair of special viewing glasses that connect to their phones to give them a big-screen feel.

PopCatcher (Sweden chapter): Leave your favorite internet radio station playing on your phone, and PopCatcher records the stream as an mp3, removing the talk and ads for seamless playback later, according to its web site.

Soonr (Silicon Valley chapter): Users can download Soonr apps to both their iPhones and computer desktops to create a mini personal computing cloud of their own.

Unkasoft Advergaming (Madrid chapter): This network connects game developers with advertisers looking to build brands into mobile gaming experiences.

Members of the international jury selecting these finalists (and the ultimate winners) will be identified in the coming week. Past jurors have been drawn from Google, Yahoo, AdMob, Telefonica, Vodafone and Nexit Ventures. A list of past winners can be found here.

The February ceremony will also include a keynote address from Anssi Vanjoki, executive vice president and general manager of markets at Nokia. Registration to attend the event, sponsored in part by VentureBeat, is also now open here.