Microsoft (MSFT) is working on an app store for its Windows Mobile phones — similar to rival Apple’s (AAPL) iPhone App Store — according to an alleged Microsoft job posting spotted by AppleInsider. The store, “Skymarket,” would work with phones running the new Windows Mobile 7, which is supposed to go on sale sometime in 2009.
If true, this is a smart but expected move: Apple’s App Store is one of the highlights of the iPhone experience, and Google is readying a marketplace for its Android phones, too. If there really is a mainstream market for smartphone apps — the iPhone’s early success suggests there could be — any platform without an easy-to-use app store and installer will be at a disadvantage.
The challenge: Building something that’s as elegant as Apple’s iTunes software yet complex enough to deal with the Windows Mobile industry.
Apple’s widgets work on two devices — the iPhone and the iPod touch, which are functionally similar, and have indentical user interfaces.
Meanwhile, Windows Mobile operates on dozens (hundreds?) of different devices, each of which could require its own set of apps. For instance: Some Windows Mobile gadgets have huge touchscreens, some have tiny screens without touch; some have QWERTY keyboards, some have virtual, on-screen keyboards, and some have old-school, 12-key keypads. Some have GPS, others don’t; same goes for wi-fi, 3G, Bluetooth features, user interface, carrier policies, etc. Which means some apps will work on all phones, and some apps will only work on a small subset.
Figuring out how to mix and match consumers, developers, carriers, and apps will have to be an easy, seamless, user-friendly process — or it’ll be a mess, and it won’t work.
Google Android App Store: Like iTunes, With One Big Difference
T-Mobile’s Big Idea: An iPhone-Like App Store For Every Phone
Steve Jobs To Developers, Investors: See? We Told You People Would Love Our Apps
Business Insider Emails & Alerts
Site highlights each day to your inbox.