Everyone wants an App Store these days

Apple has changed the world with the iPhone. Developers (and users sometimes) complained there were no open APIs to build native applications. Apple noted the request and changed the world again with the App Store.

Everyone in the mobile space seems to be running now to create his own store. Google has launched its store called Market (also see a short review with some nice screenshots) and while at this time it’s all free, it is going commercial next year.

RIM has its own BlackBerry Application StoreFront.

T-Mobile, who is already benefiting from Google’s Market, is going to create its own based on Apple’s experience.

Now Orange comes with Orange Downloads.

There are probably more that haven’t announced it, or simply I haven’t heard of.

BUT, did any of these guys ever think that the great thing about Apple’s App Store is that it is one place and there’s no fragmentation? How are these guys going to cope with this? Replicating and renaming won’t solve those issues. They will all be just like the existing “Decks” or portals, simply on a pre-installed application. That will not make them win.

Orange Partner site

While doing my normal research for new device descriptions resources I discovered this new developers’ site. New to me, at least.

Orange Partner sounds a lot like a site that will provide info only if you sign strict NDA’s or pay something to Orange. All this is not true! What a good news! 😀

Orange partner requires a registration, but it’s free and takes just a couple of minutes.
Once registered you can access a lot of valuable information about devices distributed by Orange all over Europe. The great thing is that it also lists devices that were customized for Orange. Descriptions are fairly well detailed and list most of the information that you will need about a device.

Lists of devices can be accessed in various ways, depending on the device type, country or Java platform. Not bad at all.

Here’s an example, the Motorola V3. Gives a fair description of the browser markups, messaging features, ringtones, etc. Also provides a sample user-agent and a UAProf URL.
Could go in more detail about J2ME features, but still it’s a lot of good information.

The site also features articles, an online FAQ and forums.

As you would expect from the site name (“partner”) there is a number of services to get your applications and services certified and be served on the Orange network.
Technical support request is also available.

The site is really well promising and already provides a lot of valuable information.

I am always surprised when I see a good site for mobile develoeprs, but maybe, eventually, big corporations have understood that the better support for third parties, the more services for their devices and customers (see my other posts about SonyEricsson, for example).