US operator Verizon Wireless has expanded its V Cast Apps storefront by offering it across a range of BlackBerry smartphones. Owners of the BlackBerry Bold 9650, Storm2 9550, Curve 8530 and Tour 9630 can get one-click access to apps and are charged for download via monthly bills from Verizon (known as ‘carrier billing’). Verizon said the store will expand to the Storm 9530 and Curve 8330 over the next few weeks. The operator will send all BlackBerry Internet Service-enabled smartphones an icon that links to V Cast Apps, promising hundreds of productivity, navigation and education apps in addition to games and entertainment. A V Cast Apps Block feature is also available to subscribers who wish to decline access to the storefront. The service competes with an app store from BlackBerry manufacturer Research In Motion, called BlackBerry App World. However, BlackBerry App World does not currently support carrier billing, although this feature will be enabled soon.
Verizon Wireless introduced V Cast Apps in late March, first making the store available to Storm2 users. V Cast Apps was first announced in July 2009 at the maiden Verizon Developer Community Event. Verizon claims that the Verizon Developer Community has now attracted more than 5,000 participants, adding that V Cast Apps can go from concept submission to consumer availability in as few as two weeks. At the time of launch it was reported that the store would make its debut with about 300 applications, with thousands more to come. Verizon is giving developers 70 percent of sales and letting them set the price for their apps. The company is believed to want the store to be complementary to other partner stores, so if an app is launched on RIM’s App World, it will quickly be distributed on the V Cast Apps store as well.