Vodafone to build app store for everyone

Vodafone is catching the app-store bug, big time: it's putting out a toolkit for developers to build cross-platform apps that can be used on all of the operator's phones

Flora Graham
2 min read

Sick of hearing about great apps that are only available on other phones? Vodafone wants to give everyone a chance to share the love by offering an app store that embraces every one of the millions of mobiles on its network.

It's putting out an API (application programming interface) this summer that will allow developers to write their apps just once, rather than creating various versions for BlackBerries, Nokias, Windows Mobile phones and the rest of the crowd. Apps will be widgets that will run on a "new layer of management technology", says Vodafone's geeksperson.

The Symbian Series 60 operating system, beloved of Nokias everywhere, will be the first platform to go live, but the others will be close behind, Vodafone told CNET UK's sister site ZDNet UK yesterday.

Applications will also be able to take advantage of Vodafone's existing billing system, so you can buy that fart app and see the charge right there on your phone bill, without having to sign up for a new payment account. Developers will get 70 per cent of the coinage, with 30 per cent going to Vodafone.

Vodafone says that it will also open up its location-awareness capabilities to developers -- that's right, the big red swirl is watching you. That means apps can offer location-based features -- nearby restaurants, for example -- without needing GPS on the phone. Vodafone promises it'll be clear how and when your location is used, so you can choose to protect your privacy.

Apps should be flying our way by the end of the year in the UK, as well as in Germany, Greece, Ireland, Italy, the Netherlands, Portugal and Spain. Eventually, we should be sharing pint-drinking apps with all of Vodafone's 298 million customers in 27 countries.