Application store competition becomes hot

I recently found interesting the fact that Vodafone planned to launch a multi-platform application store, which I believe introduces real competitions in these stores. Before that, all other application stores were mono-platform, including Qualcomm’s, of coure dedicated to the Brew platform.

This particular application store is far from new, and it has been quite a success, working in good intelligence with operators. Of course, it is not very well known in Europe, but Brew is a dominant platform in the CDMA world, and in particular in North America. The Brew store has been generating significant revenues in the past 8 years, which gives Qualcomm a significant experience in the field, and they now want to leverage this experience by offering a global service.

This service is aimed at other platforms, like Java ME, Flash, Blackberry, and later Android, Windows Mobile, Palm, and LiMo. Quite an impressive lineup, and most likely quite a few technical challenges to be addressed as well. Distributing content for all these platforms is not simple, as the constraints are extremely varied, for instance regarding application signature.

Of course, this service somehow looks like Vodafone’s application store, especially as Qualcomm usually goes through operators to market its application store, so their store will become the store of many operators.

Two last things. First, Apple is not mentioned in the list, and it is about the only significant platform not to be mentioned here. Of course, Apple has a strong competitive edge today, and developers are eager to work on their platform. But as touchscreen phones become more common and global application stores become able to reach billions of devices, Apple will need to remain very active in order to keep all their developers.

And last, I have the secret hope that all these application stores will encourage the development of many applications. And since they will not all be nice and clean, there should be a new window of opportunity for static analysis in the mobile application fields. Hopefully, I’ll be ready.

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