3 min read

Smartphone Apps For The Rest Of Us

Even if you use Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon -- or don't have an iPhone for your AT&T connection -- you can still get games, music, location-based services, and other mobile content on your phone. Here's how.

Verizon's Get It Now content storefront has been around for years. Many of Verizon's feature phones run the BREW platform, and Verizon, Qualcomm, and their many developer partners have forged a veritable goldmine of downloadable applications and services. The Get It Now store is accessed through Verizon's menu system on most phones. In it you'll find ringtones, music, games, wallpapers, video clips, mobile TV, and more.

The Verizon Wireless Web site has a neat tool that lets you pick a phone based on the activities you want to use it for. For example, if you want to watch mobile TV, you select that as an option and it will show you which phones support that service. Same goes for things such as music downloads, turn-by-turn directions, and locating your kids.

"We've been in the downloadable app market for some time now," said Ryan Hughes, VP of multimedia content for Verizon Wireless. "With upwards of 70 million subscribers, you end up having a huge slice of the general population as your targeted customer base. That's a large target to hit. We don't have the biggest store or offer the most applications, but we're bringing the products and services to market that matter most to our customers."

Hughes noted that Verizon has learned a lot about how to effectively deliver applications ever since its Get It Now store debuted more than five years ago. It evaluates each mobile platform in the market and makes sure that the most appropriate content is always available to those platforms. It also believes in a uniform experience. This means if you switch from an LG phone to a Samsung phone, you will have the same experience on the phone when it comes to finding and downloading content.

Verizon's Get It Now deck is one avenue. The company is also in the middle of opening up its devices and network for off-deck applications. But it's not as open as you might think.

"Currently in the off-deck environment, we only distribute text messaging campaigns, downloadable wallpapers, and ringtones," said Hughes. "We don't allow uncertified apps though. The issue there, quite frankly, is that our customers expect quality from us. We can't just raise our hand and say, 'That's not our fault.' We certify that content works, not because we are control freaks and want to police what our customers can get, but because we're all about providing a good experience. That requires a hands-on look at applications before certifying them."

Other Carriers

The Big Boys aren't the only ones offering content. Smaller, regional carriers and even mobile virtual network operators are all in on the content game. No one is without a strategy.

Whether you subscribe to Cricket, Virgin, Helio, Alltel, U.S. Cellular, Southern Linc, TracFone, or MetroPCS, you can find and download content to your mobile phone.

So what are you waiting for? Great content is right on your phone!