Microsoft Launches OneApp Platform

The application will bring lightweight versions of Twitter, Facebook, and other programs to feature phones.
While the iPhone, BlackBerry, and Android get most of the attention in the mobile application space, most cell phone subscribers around the world use entry-level devices or feature phones.

With that in mind, Microsoft introduced Monday the OneApp platform with the goal of enabling mobile apps to be accessed by handsets with limited processing power and memory. Primarily targeted at emerging markets, OneApp will allow users of various phones to download versions of Facebook, Twitter, and other programs without using much bandwidth.

The software has a footprint of only 140 KB, and it will launch just the part of the program the user wants to use, in order to save system resources. Additionally, Microsoft will store some of the programs' data on its server to ease constraints on feature phones. The company said it will be partnering with Blue Label Telecoms Group of South Africa for the initial launch of the store.

"Microsoft OneApp will be able to help people do things they could not do before with their feature mobile phone -- anything from paying their bills to helping diagnose their health issues or just staying connected with friends and family," said Amit Mital, corporate VP at Microsoft, in a statement.

The move comes as mobile apps are moving to the forefront in the cellular space thanks to the popularity of the App Store for the iPhone and iPod Touch. Major handset makers like Nokia and Samsung are also rolling out ways for mobile users to download new programs over the air, and in the fourth quarter Microsoft will be bringing out its app store for Windows Mobile smartphones.

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