Tuesday, August 12, 2008

T-Mobile App Store

T-Mobile is reported planning to create it's own app store to compete with Apple and iTunes.  How will this work?  And how this will impact the wireless dynamics in the market?

First, this many settle put some rumors to rest.  There have been speculation in the past that Apple could be teaming up with T-Mobile sooner than expected.  It looks like this may not be the case, not that Onxo put any stock in it. 
Already, many are speculating iTune like stores from Google, RIM, Microsoft, and Nokia.  But exactly like Apple's app store?
It will vary quite a lot.  And this should impact purchasing decision to a large degree.  Whether a buyer's decision is based largely on one's perception of Apple or the iPhone, the app store is a boon for developers and app buyers as it is largely independent of the carrier (see note below).
We may think that Apple is able to freely operate its app store but that is not the case.  For example, Netshare, a tethering app, was recently added, pulled, then added, and finally then pulled permanently for the last time.  While ATT has stated the app store is operate by Apple, a technically correct statement, how Apple operates the store is subject to prior agreement between ATT and Apple. Also, VOIP app will not be allowable over the wireless network but the iPhone may use WiFi to make VOIP calls.
So, for others who are currently setting up their own app store, it will owe largely to the cooperation of the carrier.  Google's win in getting the 700Mhz winner, Verizon, to open the network for use with outside devices will likely be messy and we'll likely see a lot of fighting going on to define what "open" access means.
And with Verizon Wireless pledging an open network, it probably means it the network is open so long as certain conditions are met.  
Regardless, Onxo is betting the conditions are likely stricter than the agreement between Apple and ATT.
It'll be interesting to see how T-Mobile's app store concept will work and how phone makers fit in with their plan.  If anyone cares to wager how it'll work, let us know.

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