The New and Almost Complete App Store
Written by 7 February 2010 | by Willem Reyners Tay   
Wednesday, 17 February 2010

More than twenty leading mobile carriers have joined forces in an attempt to create a universal mobile application platform. Its a move that directly competes with Apple and Google's platform based app stores in the lucrative mobile application market which is predicted to be worth $17billion by 2014.
Dubbed the "Wholesale Applications Community" (WAC) the initiative includes AT&Y, China Mobile, Orange, Singtel and Vodafone as well as Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson.


The WAC will allow developers to write mobile apps for one platform which will be able to used on multiple devices and platforms. The application landscape is getting ever more fragmented as more smartphone platforms are hitting the market.
According to a statement on the organisations website:
"The primary role and objective of the alliance is to create a ’wholesale applications community’ that will establish a simple route to market for developers, in turn, providing access to the latest and widest range of innovative applications and services to as many customers as possible worldwide. This alliance will deliver scale unparalleled by any application distribution ecosystem in existence today."
The alliance already claims to have a customer base of over 3 billion users.
In addition to the iPhone, there are now app stores for Android, Blackberry, Nokia Ovi and Windows Mobile (and the upcoming Windows Mobile 7). Samsung have also announced the first device on its new Bada operating System, with Nokia announcing yet another platform dubbed MeeGo in collaboration with Intel.
The fragmentation of the smartphone application market has led to concerns that it would leave many devices without thriving ecosystems as developers would be reluctant to write applications for multiple platforms.
Whilst the consortium is at pains to stress that WAC will be a boon for developers, the real motivation is the desire of carriers to tap into the lucrative mobile application market which has largely bypassed them up till now. The concern by carriers has even led to reports of Optus blocking access to paid apps on the Android Market in favour of it's own cross-platform application store.
Carriers could also be nervous as social networking sites like Facebook and Twitter are increasingly being used on mobile devices, potentially cutting into revenues from SMS and MMS messaging.
Many analysts are predicting that the carriers will find it hard to make such an ambitious plan work.  Google's vice president of engineering Andy Rubin told the Guardian that he was sceptical that such a plan could possibly work.
"There is always a dream that you could write (a program) once and (have it) run anywhere and history has proven that that dream has not been fully realised and I am sceptical that it ever will be," he said "I just hope that the people who are managing that (WAC) really understand technology deep enough to fulfil that promise because it's an awfully big promise."
Last Updated ( Wednesday, 17 February 2010 )