Nokia and Samsung launching app stores at MWC '09

Expect mobile application stores to dominate headlines and conversation at next week's Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona--reports state handset makers Nokia and Samsung will both unveil virtual app storefronts during the conference, joining Microsoft, which appears poised to officially launch its long-anticipated Windows Mobile portal SkyMarket as well. Nokia is expected to introduce an over-the-air mobile application storefront spotlighting the Symbian OS--Russian blog Mobile-review reports the Nokia store is already up and running, albeit in closed mode. "At first glance, for now, the app portal looks so-so..." the site notes. "But they are trying, polishing it and a lot has changed for the better in a matter of days. A step in a right direction... And the distribution and revenue sharing model between app makers and Nokia looks very attractive." Mobile-review does not specify precisely how the revenue sharing model breaks down, however--nor is it known how the new app store will co-exist alongside Nokia portals like Download!, N-Gage, Software Market and Mosh.

The Nokia storefront will face competition from Samsung's rival mobile applications marketplace, which will offer downloads for both Symbian and Windows Mobile devices. Samsung already has confirmed it will introduce the virtual storefront at MWC '09--an extension of the Samsung Mobile Innovator developer program first announced last year, the portal will offer consumers over-the-air application browsing, purchasing, downloading and installation. According to Samsung, the store--initially limited to the U.K. market--will offer about 1,100 free and premium applications at launch. The handset maker has yet to disclose how it will handle billing, or what percentage of revenues it will award to developers.

For more on the Nokia app store:
- read this Unwired View article