Previewing the Verizon Developer Community Conference

The first-ever Verizon Developer Community Conference takes place July 28 in San Jose, promising programmers an overview of the operator's overall strategy around mobile applications, information on its new developer portal and, last but certainly not least, details on its forthcoming applications storefront, including insight into technical, marketing and network specifications. In addition to Verizon brass, the event will also feature executives from Research In Motion and Japanese operator Softbank, Verizon Wireless' partner in the Joint Innovation Lab, a multi-carrier, multi-national initiative to encourage the development of mobile web widgets. According to Ryan Hughes, VZW's VP of business development, partnerships and innovation, the presence of RIM and Softbank embodies one of the key themes of the conference as well as one of Verizon's larger goals moving forward--specifically, forging a more collaborative industry environment to minimize fragmentation complexities.

"We're looking to simplify the process of getting applications distributed on the Verizon network, and we're working with our friends at RIM and Microsoft and Google and Palm to create a world-class app store experience," Hughes said in an interview with FierceDeveloper. "All of our interests are really the same. This is about all of us walking together arm-in-arm. It's not a cage match."

While Hughes did not address the specifics of the Verizon app store, including its name, he said the storefront is poised to dramatically simplify and strengthen the operator's relationship with the development community. "We will offer a streamlined process to get your app distributed," he said. "We are the secret sauce on top of the ice-cream sundae that allows you to make your apps better by offering ease of distribution and massive scale." While the Verizon Developer Community Conference will supply most of the specifics, Hughes did say the app store will offer direct-to-carrier billing. Moreover, he suggested the storefront will live harmoniously alongside existing retail portals like RIM's BlackBerry App World, adding "You don't need to rewrite your RIM app to bring it to us."

Most of all, the Verizon Developer Community Conference is an acknowledgment of the fast-evolving dynamics of the mobile marketplace, emphasizing the growing influence of the developer segment on carriers, handset makers and consumers alike. "We are taking new steps into building a developer community," Hughes said. "This conference will be very forward-looking--we're going to lay out our vision for which network elements we'll expose to developers. [The event] effectively represents Verizon taking control and setting up its own distribution platform, and it also represents a preview of the community-like experience we'll foster. We'll have a constant dialogue with our developers on the web. We are firmly committed to knocking down the walled garden." -Jason

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