Wireless carriers unite to develop universal apps


Apple is the undisputed leader in Mobile Apps
Apple is the undisputed leader in Mobile Apps
Twenty-four wireless carriers around the globe have united to combat Apple’s growing mobile app store with their own joint effort.

The Wholesale Applications Community, announced at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Monday, aims to develop apps that will work on phones, regardless of carrier.

This will make it easier for developers to create the apps and for customers to use them, the group said.

“The alliance’s stated goal is to create a wholesale applications ecosystem that will establish a simple route to market for developers and the possibility to deliver the latest innovative applications and services to the widest possible base of customers around the world”, the group said in a statement.

“In the immediate future the alliance will seek to unite members’ developer communities and create a single, harmonized point of entry to make it easy for developers to join.”

Some of the world’s biggest wireless carriers are part of the group, including AT&T, China Mobile, Deutsche Telekom, Telefonica, Verizon and Vodafone.

Wind Mobile is the sole Canadian carrier to have joined. Device manufacturers Samsung, LG and Sony Ericsson are also members.

The alliance said that by using its platform, mobile app developers will be able to create software for use by their customer base of three billion subscribers.

The Wholesale Applications Community will compete with a number of proprietary app stores that have sprouted up in recent years.

Apple is the undisputed leader, but Google, Research In Motion and Nokia all have their own respective Android, BlackBerry and Ovi app stores.

Apple revolutionized the mobile phone industry when it launched its iPhone app store two years ago.

The app store provided users with a sleek and easy way to customize their phones with whatever software they liked, thereby wrenching control of what could be put on the handset away from the carrier.

The downside of several successful and competing app stores, however, means that developers must rewrite their software for each of them.

The Wholesale Applications Community hopes to change that by letting developers write their software only once.

by Ikechukwu Osodo