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June 2, 2009
2 Min Read
Verizon Wireless will be opening up to developers and will roll out an application store based on Java ME later this year, according to CEO Lowell McAdam.
Verizon is known in many circles as being more closed than its competitors, and McAdam acknowledged the carrier has been "overprotective" of its brand. McAdam said the company is trying to move away from that mind-set, and the app store should make it cheaper and easier for third-party software companies to reach Verizon customers. The mobile operator will provide these developers with proprietary information to help them create rich, compelling apps.
The Verizon-branded app store will first target smartphones, and it could eventually find its way to the majority of its 80 million subscribers. Mobile apps really came to the forefront with the success of the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch, which has seen more than a billion downloads in less than a year. But the App Store is still exclusive to Apple's products, and AT&T doesn't receive direct revenue from it.
Verizon will be taking a page from parent company Vodafone by having a carrier-wide app store that can target more than one device. McAdam didn't elaborate on the billing process, but the carrier will likely take a slice of the revenue from apps that are sold in the store. The company will publish the specifications for the store in late July, McAdam said.
The Java ME app store is just the latest move toward openness for the largest carrier in the U.S. market, as it's in the middle of an open network initiative that allows third parties to offer phones, software, and applications that run on Verizon's networks. While there aren't many devices yet that have passed Verizon's certification process, McAdam said he expects the floodgates to open soon, particularly as the carrier rolls out its 4G networks based on Long Term Evolution technology.
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