Verizon App Store To Compete with Android Market
The Android Market, Google's online shop for purchasing mobile applications, has a serious new competitor -- and it's not Apple's App Store, but instead a close partner. Verizon Wireless has opened up its own app store, V CAST Apps, to the Android crowd and is inviting developers to submit apps for inclusion.
Verizon, the nation's largest wireless carrier, announced earlier this month that it was accepting applications for Android. It has yet to state when V CAST Apps, already available for Research in Motion (RIM) devices, will go live, but there may be an announcement forthcoming at its Verizon Developer Community (VDC) conference, taking place in Las Vegas Sept. 21-22.
Initially, at least, V CAST Apps will be limited to Verizon-branded smartphones running Android version 2.2, also known as "Froyo."
Expanding the presence of V CAST Apps into Android territory is the latest muscle-flexing step by Verizon toward Google, following on the heels of an earlier announcement that Bing, Microsoft's search engine, would be installed as the default search program on select Verizon Android phones. In addition to search, Bing Maps will also be the default on those phones, pushing out Google's popular versions of those apps.
The Web site Android and Me obtained a copy of an e-mail Verizon sent to developers, listing reasons to develop for V CAST Apps. Some of them take direct aim at problems developers have with the Android Market, which has turned off many with its less-than-seamless experience for users. The improved experience, Verizon says, includes billing through the carrier, quick placement of apps in the store (14 days is the goal), and strong promotion of apps -- "Get the visibility you deserve, not just a quality-crushing algorithm!", the e-mail states.
Verizon is offering the same profit split as Google: 70 percent for developers. But since the billing is done through Verizon, developers are assured that they'll get timely payment for their apps. Submitting apps to V CAST Apps is free, but requires an approval from Verizon. The three phones currently eligible for V CAST Apps are the Incredible, Droid 1 and Droid X.
Keith Ward is the editor in chief of Virtualization & Cloud Review. Follow him on Twitter @VirtReviewKeith.