The battle of the app stores

Do any of the other mobile application stores stand a chance against the behemoth that is Apple's App Store?

Android Market doesn't feel as intuitive to use as the App Store, although the ability to scroll down the full list of applications in each category rather than just the top 25 makes you feel as though you are getting more value from your finger taps.

Although the Android Market is a little behind the App Store in terms of number of apps - there are currently approximately 6000 applications so far - there's plenty of scope for Android Market to become a serious competitor in the applications game.

BlackBerry App World

The BlackBerry is probably the best-equipped smartphone for business applications, and RIM's app store certainly adds another element to the smartphone, allowing you to download an even wider selection of apps than you can directly from software manufacturers.

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There are free trials of various applications, which is a bonus if you want to try the apps before you buy. Although both Android Market and Apple offer lite' versions of their apps, trialling the full app is second to none.

BlackBerry App World has recently seen an update and although the majority of the update was dedicated to getting rid of bugs, the interface has also been tweaked slightly.

You can now view the top paid and the top free apps, just as you can on rival app stores, and the lists are all shown in full, like on Android Market.

App World lags seriously behind its rivals in the volume stakes though, with only around 600 applications to choose from - although you will find well-known apps such as Documents To Go, Repligo Reader and eOffice available, in addition to CRM, ERP, SFA and field service software that sync with your work server.

Windows Mobile

Although you won't find evidence of a Windows Mobile applications store on a Windows Mobile device as yet, it's due to make an appearance along with Windows 6.5 later this year.

According to David Weeks, Windows Mobile Product Marketing Manager, Windows Marketplace is due to launch in the fourth quarter.

So what can we expect?

"The service empowers people to customise their phones whether it be games, cool apps, or rich enterprise applications," he said.

Like with the Apple App Store, Windows Marketplace will be available both on device and on computer so customers can have the choice of downloading direct to their phone or via the PC.

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