Like all wireless carriers, T-Mobile needs its subscribers to start doing more with their phones than just making phone calls and sending text messages. So, perhaps inspired by the early success of Apple’s iPhone App Store, it’s reportedly making a smart decision: Opening up its phones to more mobile software, and making it easier to download apps.
This fall, T-Mobile is planning to gut its current, lousy method of distributing mobile apps — favouring software companies that it has revenue-sharing deals with, according to MocoNews. In its place: An iPhone-like app store that’s organised by popularity, not payola. The platform will be open to “almost any developer” that agrees to T-Mobile’s revenue split, which one developer says is “very generous.”
What does this mean? In theory, more apps and a better shopping experience. That’s good news for consumers, and if it gets more people to buy apps and sign up for mobile Internet access plans, good news for T-Mobile, too.
This is a no-brainer for T-Mobile’s smartphones, like the Sidekick series, its forthcoming phone running Google Android, and whatever Windows Mobile phones the carrier sells.
But we doubt it will do much for T-Mobile subscribers using cheap, mass-market phones. We just tried to find the “old” T-Mobile app store on a brand new, mass-market phone, and got so frustrated with the terrible, crippled user interface that we stopped before we could even find a list of available apps. That’s a much bigger problem that T-Mobile will need to solve — even the best app storefront in the world won’t fix it.
T-Mobile confirms the report, but doesn’t provide any details: “T-Mobile is working with the industry to foster an open wireless services platform which will provide developers with the tools and information they need to make new, innovative experiences available to T-Mobile’s more than 31.5M customers,” the company says in a statement. “The devPartner Community site, which is in its alpha stage, is just a taste of what T-Mobile has in store and we encourage you to stay tuned for more details in the coming weeks.”
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