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Phones

Mozilla builds prototype app store that works across mobile and desktop

Mozill has developed a prototype Web app store, the first stage in creating a system that lets you download apps just once and have them work across any phone or computer.

Mozilla has revealed the first build of an ambitious attempt to create a Web app store that allows you to purchase and download apps that work across different browsers, whether you are on the desktop or mobile.

This shouldn't be confused with the app stores Apple and Android offer, which require you to download a program or game and use or play it offline. Instead, this a directory of apps hosted on Web servers that all require an Internet connection to use.

You're probably thinking these apps don't sound very different to just using a website, and you'd be right. What is new is the creation of a store where you can browse all of the available apps, and a dashboard where you can manage them. Click on the links to try it out.

This dashboard aims to work on any browser whether mobile or desktop, and allows you to buy apps that work everywhere, without you having to buy it again. So far the prototype works with Firefox 3.6 and later, Firefox for mobile, Internet Explorer 8, Chrome 6, Safari 5 and Opera 10. All the apps will be built using the familiar HTML, CSS and JavaScript languages.

Mozilla's work is similar to the Google Chrome app store, where you'll be able to buy and download Web apps through the browser, including big-name games. But Mozilla's way is different as you don't need its own browser to use it.

In essence, Mozilla is trying to standardise the concept of a traditional app store, creating something that works on all platforms. Whether it works is open to question, but we'll keep a careful eye on it.