Verizon Wireless promises imminent launch of app store

LAS VEGAS--Verizon Wireless is "on the cusp" of launching its own branded app store--an action that essentially stands as an answer to the wildly successful Apple App Store for the iPhone (currently only available through Verizon rival AT&T Mobility). Verizon's Todd Murphy, director of business development, did not offer a specific launch date, but said the carrier's VCast Application Store would initially be provided to five of the carrier's BlackBerry smartphones: the Storm 1 and 2, the Curve 1 and 2, and the BlackBerry Tour.

Verizon first announced its application store intentions in July, and at the time promised to launch it by the fourth quarter of last year. However, Verizon's Murphy indicated the carrier needed to delay the launch to ensure that the store contained enough applications to make it worthwhile.

"We're just waiting for that inflection point" of enough quality applications, Murphy said during a Verizon developer event here on the sidelines of the Consumer Electronics Show. Added Murphy: "We believe that when we put this out into the marketplace, it will have a significant impact."

Murphy said the carrier currently counts 3,500 developers registered into its program, and "thousands" of application "concepts" for its store.

Further, Murphy promised the application storefront would initially be available for BlackBerry devices, and would launch on Windows Mobile devices in the "middle of the year." Murphy declined to provide a launch window for Verizon's VCast Application Store for Android phones, but did note the app store is heading to Verizon Android phones.

Interestingly, and perhaps unintentionally, Murphy offered a jab at Apple and its trailblazing app store by noting that Verizon's storefront effort would focus on "quality, not quantity." Apple's App Store recently passed the 100,000-app mark, a number that dwarfs app store efforts by the likes of Android and BlackBerry.

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