Vodafone India has launched VStore, Vodafone’s mobile application store, which is powered by Appia. Targeted at Vodafone India’s nearly 145 million subscribers, VStore offers more than 10,000 free and paid applications for GPRS-enabled handsets across major mobile operating systems, including Android, Java, Symbian and BlackBerry.
The VStore includes apps in categories such as games, entertainment, social networking and local culture. The catalog includes content from local providers, including Hungama, India Games, Nazara and Spice, and Vodafone-branded applications such as Portfolio Tracker, Vodafone TV and Chhota Comic.
Appia’s application discovery and distribution network provides all the content for Vodafone’s mobile application storefront, as well as a managed service platform for storefront merchandising and commerce. The store supports more than 3,500 different devices and is optimised to match applications to each subscriber’s specific device, offering thousands of applications across all major mobile operating systems. Vodafone used the Appia Developer Program to work with local Indian content providers to aggregate content.
Appia, formerly known as PocketGear, offers application discovery and distribution services supporting more than 3,500 different devices. The company powers app stores for more than 40 partners in 200 countries; its developer program includes over 30,000 application developer partners and more than 140,000 free and premium applications. In March, Appia completed a $10 million investment round led by venture capital firm Venrock.
Vodafone’s VStore follows the trend of telecom operators and device companies unveiling their own stores for the app market. Reliance Communications has partnered with GetJar Ltd., while Idea Cellular and Aircel Cellular have linked up with Ericsson AB and Infosys, respectively.
While the strategy to go the app way seems to be the next step for the smartphone era, the business model on how well their operators derive revenues seems to be evolving as OS and device companies build their own app stores as well.