Nokia has made no secret of the fact that improving its long-tepid relationship with the North American market is a priority -- but we'll admit, we didn't expect AT&T to throw its weight behind a rather massive Symbian developer contest this quickly. The concept is simple: develop and submit an app targeting the N8 by January 28 of next year; the best one (in Nokia's eyes) gets a cool quarter million, while 17 (yes, seventeen) runners-up get $150,000, which is still a pretty gigantic number. What makes this fascinating is that although AT&T had dipped its toes in the Symbian waters a few times over the years, it currently offers nothing but the Vivaz and refurbished E71x units -- and it hasn't announced any plans to carry the N8. Considering the size and scope of this contest, Nokia's definitely putting its money where its mouth is -- it seems to understand the importance of building a healthy third-party app catalog to drive a platform's success -- and we imagine AT&T's got some announcements of its own in the coming months. Just a hunch.

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Nokia's latest Calling All Innovators developer contest features AT&T involvement