Operators take on Apple and Google with WAC app store
The Wholesale Application Community (WAC) has launched a new app platform at this year’s Mobile World Congress designed to take on the iPhone’s App Store and Android Market.
What is WAC?
WAC is a collection of around 68 operators and mobile phone manufactures, including Vodafone, Orange, LG, Sony Ericsson and Samsung. Who came together last year to develop their own standard of apps for smartphones.
The main reason for this coalition is that operators (and manufacturers) are a bit miffed at the likes of Apple and Google, who benefit tremendously by selling apps and content to smartphone users over operator’s 3G networks.
Simple put, operators and manufacturers want a slice of the app pie.
What are WAC apps?
WAC apps, will be pretty much like the apps you use on your iPhone or Android phone. However there is a difference. WAC apps are designed to be used across all platforms, so conceivably the same WAC app could work on an Android phone and an iPhone.
But there won’t be an official ‘WAC App Store’ appearing anywhere. The apps will be provided wholesale to manufacturers and network operators, who will then sell them in their own branded stores – like Orange’s App Shop.
Why should I care?
Well if WAC works the way it should, then you’ll be able to transfer your apps across different devices, operating systems and network operators.
WAC apps will also be able to take advantages of services that require operator integration. So you could, for instance, buy apps with your PAYG credit – a big deal, especially with more and more people buying smartphones on PAYG, who may not have a credit card to sign-up to Google Checkout.
Will WAC work?
Now that WAC is pretty much up and running (which some thought very unlikely given the lack of cooperation between operators in the past), its success will depend largely the app developers themselves getting on-board. There’s already Apple’s App Store, Google’s Android Market, BlackBerry App World and Windows Phone 7’s Marketplace vying for their attention.
Also WAC apps are only available on Android phones and – other than HP and Samsung bada phones – it’s unlikely that they’ll appear anywhere else (certainly not on the iPhone).
WAC apps certainly have some interesting new features to offer smartphones and it’s very early days to make any judgements. But given the burgeoning success of the Apple’s App Store and Android Market, and the confusion that a second app store may bring to Android users, it might be too little too late.
What do you think of WAC? Have you bought any WAC apps from the Orange App Shop yet? Let us know in the comments below.
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