Orange, the mobile arm of France Telecom is the latest convert to jump on the app store bandwagon, writes Leila Makki. The latest fad isn't just for handset vendors as the mobile carrier will unveil its version of a storefront, dubbed Orange Application Shop, on selected handsets in France this week.
TelecomTV went to Paris last week to view Orange's latest products and services. In an exclusive interview with Jean-Philippe Vanot, Executive VP of Innovation at Orange, he explained that the Application Shop is his favourite because it offers consumers a one-stop app shop for their mobile device.
Unlike Apple's App Store which bills users via iTunes, or Blackberry App World which is linked to PayPal, the Orange Application Shop invoices customers via their mobile account.
The free and paid-for app store will carry a catalogue of mobile apps from horoscopes and games, to dictionaries and currency converters. The new marketplace will enable Orange subscribers to locate and download applications by category or ratings (ie. the 10 most downloaded or most recent) and users can download a trial version of the app before purchase.
But how will Orange's Application Shop be compatible with other handset app stores (iPhone, Blackberry, Nokia) or with other platforms (Android, Symbian), who all offer download stores of their own? Well according to Vanot, "We are working on all kinds of handsets, some are with special OS, some are Windows inside, some with Java. We are working on all these platforms in order to propose it to all of our customers."
Orange is currently in talks with handset manufacturers to combine their download store with other existing app store offerings.
The Application Shop will be tailored to different countries based on their local market needs and while some are free, other apps will cost up to €12. It will be available at the end of 2009 on pre-installed new phones for existing customers, first in France and the UK, followed by other countries.
You can watch the full interview with Jean-Philippe Vanot, Executive VP of Innovation at Orange in NewsDesk here.
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