In the Works: Cross-platform Carrier App Stores

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Although Microsoft recently closed its applications store for old mobile platform, users are deemed to see more cross-platform app store options in the future. That is according to Shira Levine, directing analyst at Campbell, California’s research firm Infonetics.

Last Monday, the research firm released a report on the obscure nature of service delivery platform software. Basically, SDPs enable carriers to create and deliver services to subscribers and bill them accordingly. Major companies like Hewlett-Packard, Oracle and China’s Huawei are part of this market which increased to 16% or $3.2 billion between 2010 and 2011. Levine believes that it will grow to $5.8 billion by 2016.

Why Should You Care about SDPs?

According to Levine, AT&T learned that they’re excluded from Apple’s revenue value chain for iPhone apps. That’s why carriers would like to have an OS-independent app store, which consumers can access regardless of the device they’re using.

SDPs can be a solution to the problem of carriers because it will let them offer application for other mobile operating system and browsers. In turn, they can enter the app store space and compete against other phone makers and third-party app stores.

How can Carriers Distinguish their App Store?

It’s a wonder how carriers will be able to distinguish their app stores. Levine pointed out that while they can create walled garden applications, they have to learn to create in an open ecosystem. However, carriers are deemed to set their differentiation from applications that make use of specific user information.

The Infonetics analyst said that “One advantage that carriers have over device vendors is that they have access to subscriber data beyond the device itself.” To compete against other app stores, they need to leverage the network-side information that they have. Simply put, they have to reveal co-existing preference information based on the relationship that they have with the consumers.

How Carrier App Stores might Work

Theoretically, users can download an app and enable carriers to share their preference information to third-party developers. The developer will then integrate the information on their apps accordingly.

Assuming that consumers will put privacy issues aside, this can be a great opportunity to create a more personalized app. However, not every user would like to expose their preference detail to third-party developers. Thus, cross-platform apps stores sponsored by carriers are a great way to make personalized apps for those willing to expose their preference detail.

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