A US firm has sought to capitalise on the growing popularity of application stores by launching a solution that will allow operators and handset manufacturers to launch stores based on a customisable platform. Kansas City-based Handmark, a mobile media solutions provider, said its new ‘Mobile Store Platform’ will allow companies to launch their own native, on-device mobile store offering mobile games, apps, ringtones, themes and more. Handmark said the platform is currently only available for Windows Mobile devices, but will soon be available across a variety of other smartphone platforms. The solution features a customisable user interface built specifically for each device, including support for touch screen capabilities, allowing operators and handset makers to rebrand the platform. It supports both carrier billing and standard payments for application downloads.
Handmark’s platform – and rival products from the likes of Handango and GetJar – could lead to the further proliferation of application stores as they do not require operators or handset vendors to build platforms from scratch. Apple’s pioneering App Store, which clocked up its 1 billionth download this week, is credited with starting the application store phenomenon when it launched last summer. Since then similar rival stores have been launched by a plethora of mobile industry heavyweights, including Research In Motion, Google’s Android, Microsoft and Nokia.