4/7/2009 2:46:00 PM
App stores gear up for battle as BlackBerry unveils App World
Application stores were unveiled en masse last week, with BlackBerry announcing the launch of its store and Nokia’s Ovi store set to go live in May 2009.
The announcements came as Vodafone, Verizon Wireless, China Mobile and Softbank collaborated for an ‘app superstore’, which will provide developers with the opportunity to create widgets that can run across different handsets and platforms.
The planned app store will also have widgets that will work on mid and low-range handsets. The four operators are using the move to encourage developers to try the store before it is launched, and they will then revenue share on the applications.
BlackBerry owner RIM unveiled App World (pictured) last week, and Nokia released more information on the Ovi store ahead of its May launch.
Microsoft announced new partners for its Windows Marketplace for mobile, set to open later in 2009.
RIM chief Jim Balsillie said: ‘It’s not a big profit driver but it’s a kind of precondition.’ The manufacturer will share the revenue from applications with the developers, who pick up 80%.
Orange updated its application store – launched in November 2008 – in February to support more operating systems, and is adding another 200 phones to the service this week.
Google has already launched Android Market and Palm is planning to launch an app store for its Pre device in 2009.
Analysts have said a battle is likely, with Apple’s closed platform fighting against the more open systems emerging from operators and manufacturers, such as Android.
One analyst said: ‘There is definitely a battle between vendors and operators, and operators are thinking if you can’t beat them, join them.
‘But there is a friction over who owns the customer. Apple has such a strong brand and customer base, and has a strategy of propriety over everything from the handset to the operating system.’