Sprint unveils mobile web apps storefront, wallet solution

Sprint Nextel (NYSE:S) introduced a new browser-based mobile applications ecosystem promising developers the tools to create value-added services spanning across multiple operating systems and device form factors. Powered by mobile web solutions provider Openwave's Integra scripting engine technology, the Sprint Browser-VAS ecosystem touts applications that execute within the browser, within the Sprint 3G network or in the cloud, eschewing the familiar software download  model--Sprint will introduce a Browser-VAS apps storefront sometime in the first half of 2011, adding it will be "similar to what exists within the application space today."

According to Openwave, the Integra solution comprises Application, Mediation and Data Mediation engines with open APIs, giving developers the means to quickly build network-based applications that leverage location information, analytics data, content adaptation, security and related resources. The Integra-based technology also enables a host of monetization models like ad targeting, flexible billing options, paid downloads for one-time billing, content targeting and conversion services, syndicated data reports/subscriptions, mobile wallet and subscriptions.

The Sprint Browser-VAS ecosystem follows the recent launch of Sprint ID, a series of mobile content packs collecting apps, widgets, ringtones, wallpapers and related media into a single download experience, bundled together under one overarching brand or category. Last week, Sprint named a series of new ID pack partners, including AOL, UPS, Canvas, IHG, BodyMedia and Deluxe. For now, Sprint ID remains limited to Android smartphones--subscribers can add up to five ID packs plus the My ID basic Android experience with a single touch, promising seamless movement between a host of applications.

As previously reported by sister publication FierceMobileContent, Sprint also unveiled a new mobile wallet solution slated to go live in mid-November. Sprint Mobile Wallet enables subscribers to use buy physical and digital products directly from their phones, entering a universal PIN code and billing purchases to their existing Visa, MasterCard and Amazon Payments accounts. Sprint stresses that the Mobile Wallet tool is not a carrier billing mechanism, instead calling it a "container" for on-the-go customers to leverage traditional payment methods. Authenticated payments services provider CardinalCommerce will host all transactions--merchant partners include SkyMall, Gameloft and Namco. Sprint Mobile Wallet will initially roll out as a Sprint Zone download, with the carrier preloading the service on new devices beginning in 2011.

In a recent interview with FierceMobileContent, Sprint director of open enablement Kevin McGinnis said the Mobile Wallet solution will assist publishers looking to charge for mobile content like ID app packs. "We don't feel like it's our role to determine the value of their content," McGinnis said. "If a brand or a special interest or an individual feels like a consumer has an interest in their ID pack and will pay a price for it, then by all means, they should have the opportunity to do that. We'll provide monetization vehicles."

For more on the Sprint Browser-VAS ecosystem:
- read this release

Related articles:
Sprint's McGinnis talks Sprint ID and redefining the mobile app experience
Sprint introducing mobile wallet to simplify app purchases
Sprint customizes Android devices with pre-packaged apps, widgets
Sprint re-emerges as mobile content innovator
Sprint adds GetJar's free mobile apps catalog

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