Independent web store PocketGear announced a relaunch under a new brand, Appia, with the intention of focusing its activities to become “a pure-play white-label app store platform for mobile operators, handset manufacturers and mobile portals.” The company now describes itself not as an app store, “but rather an app platform with global reach, powering third-party app stores around the world.” It offers a catalogue of 140,000 paid and free products from more than 30,000 global developers, across mobile platforms including Android, BlackBerry, Java, Symbian, Windows and Palm. It already powers app stores for “more than 40 partners,” including “four of the world’s top five handset manufacturers, three of the top four mobile operators in the US, three of the top 10 mobile operators globally, and leading media and ecommerce companies.” Names cited include Samsung, T-Mobile, AT&T and Verizon Wireless.
In-line with its rebranding, the company also launched an updated developer portal, where developers can upload their apps for discovery, download and distribution globally. It said that “unlike other app stores, Appia provides developers with an easy way to broaden their reach across a variety of app stores, with the end goal of driving more downloads and increasing revenue.”
By ending its direct-to-consumer business, the company will end its rivalry with GetJar, which is arguably its closest competitor in this space. There are some differences between the businesses: GetJar only offers free titles, for example, while PocketGear also supports paid-for apps. GetJar says that it has more than one billion downloads to date, second only to Apple’s App Store, with a catalogue of more than 75,000 mobile applications. While this store is known for its own direct-to-consumer activities, it also has partnerships with operators including AT&T, DiGi, Virgin Mobile France, Sprint and 3 UK.
In August of last year, PocketGear announced a US$15 million series B funding round, led by Trident Capital with participation from BlackBerry Partners Fund and Tomorrow Ventures. At the time, it said it would use the funding to scale its technical operations, buildout its sales and marketing team, and expand its global reach. The company was founded in June 2008 via a spin-out from Motricity, a mobile internet technology company.