MWC 2010: Mobile firms take on Apple's App Store

Some two dozen mobile companies have joined forces to compete with Apple on mobile applications.

mobile applications

A 27-strong team of mobile firms is teaming up to take on Apple's App store.

Mobile application stores have taken off over the past few years, lead by Apple's own App Store.

While Google's Android Market and other mobile app shopfronts have popped up, Apple has dominated the space with billions of downloads.

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Now, the market is hotting up, with a group of 24 mobile operators and three manufacturers teaming up to create their own monster application ecosystem.

At the moment, the Wholesale Applications Community is in the development phase, working on a set of standards to be released over the next year.

It's also looking for more industry members to join its team, which includes the likes of Sony Ericsson, LG and Samsung, as well as Orange and Vodafone. With its existing membership, it already has access to more than three billion customers.

The community is looking to streamline the creation of apps by letting developers focus on one system. However, with Apple's big market and shops run by major players like Nokia and BlackBerry, it's hard to believe developers won't have to make multiple versions of their apps.

The Wholesale Applications Community does have the support of the GSMA - the body that organises Mobile World Congress, where the announcement was made.

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Rob Conway, chief executive of the GSMA, said in a statement: "This approach is completely in line with the principles of the GSMA, and in fact leverages the work we have already undertaken on open network APIs (OneAPI)."

"This is tremendously exciting news for our industry and will serve to catalyse the development of a range of innovative cross-device, cross-operator applications," he added.

Read on for more news from Mobile World Congress 2010.

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