As I think of how to best tell you what this means for developers and consumers as well as to let my excitement settle down to allow for objective thinking…someni. I had to rework this post after intel came my way right after I did the original one
Its about time one of the operators took the local developers developers by their horns and said…lets see what you’ve got by opening up their own app store. While essentially not a world first this move is bound to be taken well by serious developers while the the not so serious ones will soon look for another angle to excuse their not monetizing the space.
What I am hoping for is that whoever does go first, will adopt better revenue share models than they currently have on their premium rate services on sms and IVR and that they will offer subscription as a model as well. Case in point – for our stock market app, my customers can be billed on a monthly basis without the need to reengage them to say your monthly access fee is due. I am also hoping that they will not impose prohibitive access fees…for what its worth it should be free to access the store…only pay when you buy. Plus don’t kill us on the publisher fees as well
A number of other operators worldwide have also taken the plunge having realized that the voice market is dwindling and very fickle and guys are using their phones to do a whole lot of stuff that they (the operators) are not monetizing.
Bharti Airtel, (the chaps who have bought out Zain Africa) have their Airtel App Central, mobile customers can transform their basic phone into a Smart Phone by accessing over 1,250 Apps across 25 categories for their business, games, books, social networking and other needs.This perhaps has a more exciting spint to it if they also launch a local version that will gve kenyan devs access to over 100 million potential subscribers.Verizon have got VCast, China Mobile has China Mobile Market,T-Mobile rolls with Web2go,Sprint does it with Sprint Digital Lounge, Orange squeezes Orange App Shop, TIM’s got The TIM App Store is powered by Qualcomm’s Plaza Retail, Aircel have something in the works with Infosys Technologies,AT&T have the AppCenter (formerly known as MEdia Mall) is the storefront for downloadable content, including ringtones, graphics, games, and other applications.
Singaporean carrier M1 also just recently launched their own Appstore.M1 is one of the three main carriers in Singapore, and it just launched the M1 AppStore. The store supports multiple platforms: iPhone, Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile and Java. iPhone is an interesting one here. Currently there are no iPhone apps available in the store and when this changes, it will redirect users to the Apple App Store to download and purchase specific iPhone apps.
Just after launch, the store now contains over 400 content items, both free and paid. The store is only available for M1 customers, which will see application purchases billed via their monthly phone bill or they can purchase these applications using pre-paid credit. The store has both a web and a mobile storefront.
Besides offering customers a convenient mean to access applications, the M1 AppStore will also serve as a channel for M1 to reach out and actively engage the community of local content developers.
The Vodafone 360 store is part of the Vodafone 360 internet service for mobile, PC and Mac, bringing together phone, email, chat and social network contacts together in one place. Current app stats stand at 7,000 and they have the options of - one off puchases, sunscription billing or in-app billing
A look at other device manufacturer AppStore stats:
The Apple App Store
The Apple App Store was launched along with the iPhone 3G, and was initially available in 62 countries. At the moment the Apple App Store is available in 90 countries. The applications are downloaded directly to iPhone or iPod Touch and the store front is also available within iTunes.
BlackBerry App World
Research In Motion launched BlackBerry App World in the United States, United Kingdom and Canada. BlackBerry App World is available on all new BlackBerry handsets and went live on April 1, 2009.
Nokia Ovi Store
Nokia’s Ovi Store was launched along with the N97, Nokia’s flagship device. At launch, the Ovi Store was available globally to an estimated 50 million device owners across more than 50 Nokia devices.
Samsung Application Store
The Samsung Application Store was initally launched in the UK, France and Italy for Omnia users, containing Symbian and Windows Mobile applications. In July 2010, Samsung will start supporting content for HDTVs in the store.
Sony Ericsson PlayNow Arena
PlayNow Arena features music, games, applications, themes, wallpapers and ringtones for Sony Ericsson phones.
Palm App Catalog
The Palm App Catalog was initially only available on the Palm Pre, and featured applications for the webOS platform.
LG Application Store
The LG Application Store was first launched in Asia, and currently offers applications for several Windows Mobile phones.
SHOP4APPS is Motorola’s app store for their Android based phones. It is launched initially in China only.