Verizon Wireless to launch VCast Application Store in Q4

SAN JOSE--As expected, Verizon Wireless officially announced the pending launch of its VCast Application Store at its first Verizon Developer Community event here. Scheduled to go live in the fourth quarter of 2009, the VCast Application Store promises to complement application efforts from partners like Research In Motion and Microsoft, not conflict with them, according to Verizon Wireless CMO John Stratton. "Those platforms are developed and those SDKs are established--we do not intend to create our own SDK and create further fragmentation," Stratton explained. "Instead, we want to complement and enhance those environments with tools that make it easier to consume applications."

What VCast Application Store offers is scope and reach--Verizon Wireless said it will complement the carrier's existing on-device portal with a new online portal to better distribute and promote smartphone applications. Stratton notes that Verizon's corporate website is the now the 26th most visited U.S. Web destination, with 60 million registered users, half of whom visit the site each month. "Tremendous visibility is already there," Stratton said.

The VCast Application Store also promises developers a set of open network APIs compatible with the underlying SDK for all supported operating systems, giving programmers access to network-specific data including presence, messaging and carrier billing. "Billing is the single highest barrier to consumption," Stratton said. "Our goal is to develop a one-click process for consumers to buy applications."

Other key details of the VCast Application Store: Developers will earn 70 percent of revenues, to the applause of the audience. ("We were gonna do 68 percent, but we said no, we need 70 to get over," Stratton joked.) Developers also expressed their approval for Verizon's vow that applications will go from submission to launch within 14 business days.

"We're thrilled to see [VCast Application Store]--this is an enormous strategic shift for them," said RIM co-CEO Jim Balsillie. "We want a channel for our developers to make it easier to get their applications deployed and adopted."

For more:
- see this announcement of the Verizon advisory panel

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