updated 12:20 pm EDT, Tue April 14, 2009
SK Telecom app store due
The largest wireless provider in South Korea, SK Telecom, announced at a gathering of over 1,000 industry professionals and software developers on Monday that it will launch an application store in trial stages this June, with a full-fledged debut coming in September. The store will differ from originator Apple's App Store as it will cater to four cell phone operating systems, including Windows Mobile, Symbian, Android and Linux. As well, all cellphone users will be able to access the store, regardless of their carrier or type of phone they own.
Even those with entry-level handsets will be able to access the store, though the benefit such users will have is questionable. Also, just 300,000 or 0.04 percent of South Korean cellphone users own smartphones that could take better advantage of the store. Smartphone users will be able to access the store from their handsets, while others will need to view it through an Internet-connected PC and then synchronize their phones to upload the new content. SK Telecom subscribers will have free access to the store, not having to pay connection or data fees.
Software developers still need to sign onboard, and SK Telecom has not yet said how it will share its revenue with them or other associated fees involved in partnering with the provider. It has already provided them with a software development kit, however. Programs developed by partner companies will need to be reviewed by the Korea Contents Industry and Business Association (KIBA) before they can be distributed.
SK Telecom's most notable competitor will be KTF, the wireless division of the country's largest telephone company, KT. It is expected to create its own online content store, due to launch sometime around July. Its store will differ from existing ones and SK Telecom's as it will also include apps for VoIP handsets in users' homes.
The most recent big name to offer an app store for its devices was RIM with its BlackBerry App World. [via MocoNews]