Opera announced today the opening of its own mobile app store.
The new online Opera Mobile store is offering both paid and free apps designed for a variety of phones, including those running Java, Symbian, BlackBerry, Android, and Microsoft's Windows Mobile OS. The company launched the new store with help from mobile app marketplace Appia, which provided the storefront e-commerce technology.
Opera is specifically looking to reach users of its own mobile browser by setting up the store's mobile Web site as a Speed Dial link. Opening the site on a mobile device prompts users to either select their specific device or platform or check out the store in general. But for ease of use, people will want to select their own device to more easily zero in on the right apps.
In return, the site presents all the available apps divided into different categories, such as Featured, Free, Top 50, Top Picks, and New. Tapping on a specific category pops up a list of apps with brief descriptions, paid or free status, and the number of stars collectively awarded to the app by other users. From there, users can either browse the offerings or search for a specific title. Choosing an app lets people view more details and click on a download link to download the app directly to the device.
Launching the store across more than 200 countries, Opera said the settings are customized for each user's device and operating system and will display the local country, currency, and a list of downloaded apps. To help kick off the new app store, Opera has set up another site called the Opera Publisher Portal, which it says offers developers a way to get their apps directly into the Opera Mobile Store.
"The launch of the Opera Mobile Store supports Opera's core belief in an open, cross-platform mobile Internet experience by providing Opera users with an integrated storefront of mobile applications," Mahi de Silva, executive vice president for Opera's Consumer Mobile group, said in a statement. "Our partnership with Appia delivers to all Opera Mobile and Opera Mini users easy access to a wide variety of great content, on any device, all over the world."
Opera's new store faces an increasingly crowded field of mobile app stores, including Apple's App Store, Google's Android Market, RIM's BlackBerry App World, and Nokia's Ovi Store, as well as open app stores such as. Amazon also will soon offer some competition, at least in the Android arena, as it recently revealed that it will .