LG, the world’s third-largest handset manufacturer, will tomorrow launch an online store for mobile phone applications, becoming the latest company to make its move in the app store market. Reuters reports that the store will have an initial focus on Asia – including such countries as Singapore, Malaysia and Australia – and provide around 1,400 applications including 100 free programs, available in 15 languages. The ‘LG Application Store’ will reach Europe and South America by the end of this year, by which time the number of applications offered will be more than 2,000. No mention of a US launch was made, Reuters added. 

LG’s plans follow those of handset market-leader Nokia, which launched its Ovi Store earlier this year. Apple remains the original app store specialist, offering over 50,000 applications and claiming over one billion downloads. Such a model has also been imitated by the likes of Google’s Android operating system, Research In Motion and Palm. LG plans to become the second-largest handset manufacturer by 2012, overtaking South Korean rival Samsung. LG expects to launch about 80 handset models globally in 2009, of which 12 will be smartphones.