Mobile
Commentary
4/28/2009
09:18 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
Commentary
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More App Stores On The Way

Software maker Handmark has created a new platform of software designed to aid carriers and device manufacturers launch application stores for their phones, as reported by the Kansas City Business Journal.

Software maker Handmark has created a new platform of software designed to aid carriers and device manufacturers launch application stores for their phones, as reported by the Kansas City Business Journal.

"Developers around the world have created an amazing array of titles that complement the unique Windows Mobile experience," Chris Barnett, Handmark's executive vice president of global sales, said in the release. "Our new Mobile Store Platform solution makes it easier than ever for consumers to access and download these titles with ease on Windows Mobile devices and other platforms in the near future."

Obviously this is riding on the coattails of the enormous success of the Apple iPhone App Store, which enjoyed its 1 billionth download last Thursday. Research in Motion has launched an application store for its Blackberry platform and Google has one for the Android platform. Microsoft will launch one for Windows Mobile when version 6.5 ships later this year and no doubt Palm will have one for WebOS, which is what the Pre will run.

The problem with Microsoft's store is it will only work on Windows Mobile 6.5 and later. Presumably, Handmark is looking to fill in the void for the plethora of Windows Mobile 5, 6.0 and 6.1 devices still on the market. Heck, you can't even by anything newer than 6.1 right now.

I was afraid something like this would happen when MS chose to ignore the existing releases of Windows Mobile with their application store. It is instant fragmentation. Developers will get less revenue in the early years, and Microsoft's cut of the action will be porportionately less as well. Users of existing devices are left with a sour taste in their mouth, and prospective buyers of new devices this fall may remember what MS did to previous owners by ignoring them. If they are like me, they will not only look at what is out there now, but what the company has done for existing owners. This seems to be to be a losing situation all around, except for the one team at MS that doesn't have to bother making the application store software compatiblie with previous builds. That surely cannot be Microsoft's reasoning behind this decision can it - a bit of development time?

There is no information on how developers will be compensated, or whether previous devices from the carriers or manufacturers will be able to download the application store software. However, Handmark cannot afford to make the same mistake MS has by ignoring the existing market.

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