Wholesale Applications Community. Twenty four individual mobile companies are joining together to form the group, which will represent over three billion customers world-wide.The Apple App Store, the company's one-stop-shop for over 100,000 different mobile applications, is getting a new rival - the
While the applications will not be for the iPhone, and therefor not direct competition to the App Store, a centralized location for mobile applications may lure potential customers away from Apple and its iPhone.
According to the press release, the group is meant to be "an alliance to build an open platform that delivers applications to all mobile phone users." AT&T, China Mobile, China Unicom, Sprint and Verizon Wireless are among the companies joining the initiative. Three device manufacturers - LG Electronics, Samsung and Sony Ericsson - are also on board.
The alliance "aims to unite a fragmented marketplace and create an open industry platform that benefits everybody". The group will be conversing with W3C, the web standards consortium, to develop a standard for mobile application development. The group intends to make cross-platform development for a number a different mobile devices possible, with those applications available in one location, much in the same way that all Apple users rely on the app store.
The main question we have is, will this store also create the closed atmosphere that many complain about with the app store? Will there be a verification process for apps, giving the alliance the same sort of control Apple has, or will it be more of an open environment?
According to the release, the group aims to create "an ecosystem for the development and distribution of mobile and internet applications irrespective of device or technology," so on that end, things look good.
We would have to agree with Google, however, in noting that the number of different device technologies and platforms could make the dream of a unified mobile front against the dominant iPhone could just be a pipe dream.