In an effort to enhance the appeal of its 360 service, Vodafone has confirmed that it will be submitting its application portal for use on the iPhone and Android platforms.
According to Bobby Rao, marketing director for Vodafone internet services, the company plans to submit elements to the iPhone App Store, such as Maps, People "and whatever else they choose to accept." However, this move would seemingly conflict with the strictly Apple-only software environment of the handset, with its carefully policed App Store and vendor-defined look and feel.
Rao said that Vodafone would submit elements of 360 to the Apple store and planned to run the platform on branded smartphones such as Android handsets, not just on its own-brand, midrange phones. The first 360 cell phones run the LiMo operating system.
Rao also pointed out that other manufacturers already working with the company were keen to take 360 and Vodafone Shop on board. "We already have agreements in place with several handset manufacturers [to offer 360 services], which are data compatible but not all on an open OS. Plus being able to access the Shop on things like S60 devices extends the reach of the portal."
Whether to accept applications like 360 Maps and People will be a key challenge for Apple. Rejecting them would offend a major channel to market, at a time when it is seeking greater volume for the iPhone, and could even attract antitrust attention as with its Google Voice dispute. Accepting them would be a significant step along the way to dual-branding and a greater influence for the operator over the user's mobile web experience.
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