Windows Marketplace and Nokia Ovi To Take On App Store

Microsoft announced Windows Mobile 6.5 on Monday at Mobile World Congress at Barcelona. Mobile devices with the new version of OS will appear last quarter of this year. The next-gen mobile platform sports a new honeycomb cells home screen and take interface cues from Microsoft’s Zune, with new services that are similar to Apple’s iPhone offering:

  • Sports a new touch-screen honeycomb Start screen “designed for use with your fingers to accurately select the application, folder, game or setting quickly and easily.”
  • Will ship with a new version of Internet Explorer Mobile browser that promises desktop-quality rendering. It will comes with Adobe Flash Lite, which is still missing on iPhone.
  • A new My Phone service allows subscribers to sync mobile data, similar to Apple’s MobileMe offering. My Phone takes one step further, allowing you to backup the entire phone device to the cloud and then restore the image back to a phone device.
  • The more signficant announcement should be the plan for Windows Marketplace, an Apple App Store like service that mobile user can access directly from their phone to purchase Windows Mobile applications and games.

Meanwhile, Nokia unveiled its Ovi Store in the same Mobile World Congress event. Nokia Ovi Store is an app store for Nokia S40 and S60 phones that wil go live this May. Nokia highlighted that Ovi Store will make purchase recommendations based on your geographical location and past purchase. Nokia has launched an Ovi developer site, paid apps will get 70% reveuue share, which is the same as Apple App Store. Nokia is doing the right things by luring developers into its camp.

Apple’s App Store is a business model executed successfully by Apple. Extending on the resource and experience of its iTunes Store, Apple has the biggest advantage and lower cost of entry than the others. Apple has been touting iPhone’s over 10,000 apps as one of its selling point, it is surprised that Nokia and Microsoft, who were few years ahead than Apple in the mobile market, only now see this as a differentiating factor for their platform.

Let the competition begins!