App Stores for mobile phones do seem to be flavor of the month, judging by the announcements at Mobile World Congress this month.
Along came Apple and launched a highly successful iPhone App Store and now nearly all the major handset vendors – Nokia, RIM, Google to name a few – have or are jumping on the bandwagon.
This glut of mobile app stores is likely to confuse the market. I’m a developer, which store should I optimize my app for?
Whereas a mobile shop in the mobile internet removes a lot of the complexity of getting apps working across different platforms, devices and operating systems.
This is brilliantly summed up by Vic Gundoria, VP of Engineering at Google:
“You can build an application that spans devices if you use a modern browser. We’re seeing the emergence of a platform that spans devices. We don’t need to name it, it’s called the web.”
But Google don’t exactly walk the talk as they too have an app store for their handset but then I guess people will be expect that.
The other benefit of the web approach is you can integrate a range of payment methods into your mobile shop – on phone bill, credit/debit card and PayPal – and people always have a way to pay no matter where they are in the world.
Nearly all the app stores I’ve seen just support one payment method, limiting their market potential. You could call it financial suicide.