WP7 has unified music and app store
Microsoft today provided full details of its previously hinted at Windows Phone Marketplace. The store is an improvement on the Zune Marketplace and puts not just apps and music in the same place but breaks out app updates, games and podcasts on the top level. Windows Phone 7's "panorama" layout remains intact and uses the space to both highlight a featured app as well as to delve into specific categories.
PocketGear, Handango join forces
On Tuesday, PocketGear announced it has acquired Handango, thus creating the largest cross-platform, open-source application store in the world. PocketGear itself already covered more than 2,000 mobile electronics and every main OS, while Handango offers nearly 140,000 apps for BlackBerry, Palm, Windows Mobile, Symbian and Linux platforms. The two are now nearly on par with the number of offerings in Apple's App Store.
iPhone and App Prices
A new study shows that iPhone and iPod touch owners are not only frequent buyers of mobile apps but are actively driving prices down and spurring interest in app development. The findings from an ABI Research survey in November note that the iPhone's App Store is successful enough to have skewed prices of mobile apps downwards, with software often selling for $1 to $2 instead of the $7 to $25 at other stores. This encourages a large number of purchases and is said to be forcing developers to choose between price and sheer quantity.
Windows Mobile 6.5
Microsoft today launched Windows Mobile 6.5, its next major update to its smartphone OS. The design completely revises the main interface with a new lock screen that shows quick notifications as well as a much more touch-ready main interface that includes a "honeycomb" home screen, Zune-like menus, and many other buttons and context-sensitive menus that are all sized and shaped to be used with fingers. A new requirement for a Windows button on all phones ensures every device can jump back easily regardless of where they are in the OS.
Nokia App Store Next Week
Nokia will chase after Apple and other rivals with a mobile app portal of its own, a pair of sources claim. The reported contacts explain to Reuters that the software store will be announced at Nokia's press conference for Mobile World Congress on Monday morning. When it will go live and how its pricing strategy will work are unknown, though the shop is likely to be limited to Symbian S60 devices like the 5800 XpressMusic and N97, which have a more complex operating system capable of supporting advanced mobile apps.
Verizon Any Device March
Verizon this afternoon said it would publish the first version of its Any Device, Any App specs on March 19th at the Open Device Development Conference. Simply titled Version 1.0, the spec will mark the earliest opportunity for companies and other device makers can produce or modify devices to have them work with the company's newly opened service. Future weeks will see Verizon help match software written for the Verizon network to the smartphones and other devices that will run them, the carrier says.
Handango CDA Controversy
Handango may be putting excess pressure on developers of mobile software to supply more of their revenues, according to a leaked rate card allegedly supplied to BGR. Known as the primary portal for purchasable software for BlackBerry, Symbian, and Windows Mobile smartphones, the store operator is purportedly set to significantly increase the amount of revenue collected from developers hoping to use the distribution system. Small developers who sell less than $250,000 in gross revenue will see exactly half of their income stripped from each sale -- up from 40 percent, Handango reportedly says. More profitable firms will see even more money siphoned away, with all businesses selling between $250,000 and $1 million supplying 60 percent of their revenue and all larger outlets conceding 70 percent.