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3 goes after Apple's App Store

Samsung's arrives in a fortnight

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The race for control of the palm continues, with 3 launching a branded version of Handango's inHand on-device shop as Samsung announces its version will be up and running in a fortnight.

Samsung will be launching its on-device mobile-application store on in the 14th September, at least in the UK, France and Italy, with the rest of Europe to follow, while 3 will be pushing Handango content onto S60 handsets

Having web-based application stores isn't enough these days: everyone is trying to enable purchasing directly from the palm top, in the hope of bringing in incremental revenue and maintaining that vital link with the customer.

Until Apple changed the rules, it was network operators who ran application stores, mainly full of Java games and ring tones, with the duopoly of Handango and Motricity providing the back-end processing and application catalogues. Operators have been slow to respond to the iTunes threat, but now 3 has at least announced a branded version of inHand; the on-device store operated by Handango, if only for S60 devices.

That limitation is strange, as inHand has been available for Windows Mobile for a few years now. It seems 3 is focusing on S60 devices, which are more likely to be found in the hands of consumers interested in downloading applications.

We're not clear exactly which platforms Samsung will be supporting. It will certainly include both Windows Mobile and S60, but it will be interesting to see if there is an Android version to compete with Google's Marketplace. ®

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