Vodafone is targeting its Android smartphone users with the launch of its own content channel. The company said that the new service, the first of its kind in Europe, will highlight the best Android apps--its own and those from third parties--to subscribers using Google's smartphone platform.
The operator said the channel, branded the Vodafone Android Market, will offer selected news, sport, information and gaming apps, with a promise of frequent exclusive offers and price discounts. The service is currently going live in the UK, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands and Spain. The service will come later to Greece, Ireland and Portugal.
Commenting on the new channel, Vodafone's group content services director, Lee Epting, said in a statement: "Together with Google, Vodafone has made it really simple for customers to get to the essential apps they can trust, and we are committed to giving them the best possible experience. This focus on quality over quantity helps deliver on that commitment."
This attempt by Vodafone to gain a level of control of the burgeoning apps market will be seen as reminiscent of its past efforts with its own content portal, the most recent of which has been its Vodafone 360 initiative.
While Apple has kept mobile operators firmly out of its iOS app eco-system, Google is being more amenable and not hindering operators from launching their own Android app stores, or hosting them within the company's Android Market store. Verizon Wireless and AT&T Mobility have already opted for the hosted service, with Vodafone now following their example.
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