China Mobile’s high-profile upcoming application store – Mobile Market – will be launched this month, according to a Xinhua report cited by Telecompaper. If accurate, a launch this month would be ahead of schedule and would follow an earlier trial that generated huge demand.
Last month, a website became briefly accessible that appeared to represent Mobile Market, giving a potential preview of the type of free and paid-for downloads the world’s largest operator could offer its 490 million customers. The site split categories into games, software, music, reading, video and theme download sections. The authenticity of the site was never confirmed, but it was interesting to note that it appeared to also support Nokia’s rival application store, Ovi. What is known about Mobile Market is that the store is part of China Mobile’s plans to adopt a more open business model. In February, Mobile Business Briefing (MBB) exclusively reported that the operator also plans to launch an Android-based software platform called Open Mobile System alongside the store. As for Mobile Market, China Mobile’s Chairman Wang told MBB at the time that “our major purpose is to gather the application developers via this developer community, better leverage resources of terminal vendors, and provide the users with abundant and high-quality applications that are easy to download, use and pay for.” Reports in May suggested that the operator is seeking a minimum 50 percent cut of all sales from the store, more than the 30 percent cut taken by rival store owners such as Apple, Google, Nokia and Microsoft. The launch of Mobile Market may see it become one of the world’s first carrier-operated application stores. Vodafone has announced plans to open its own store, though it has not specified the share of revenue that it will pass on to developers.