Orange will open their own app marketplace with tried and tested apps for every type of handset they carry.
On offer will be apps for Symbian, Windows Mobile and iPhone, as well as that oft-ignored but massive market, Java phones (anything that isn't a smartphone).
You (if you live in France) will be able to search for apps by category, most downloaded or most recent. Apps will come in from publishers, Orange Partner developers and Orange's own lab team. Best of all, Frenchies don't even need to submit credit card info; the apps will automatically be billed to their Orange mobile phone account.
Application Shop will be open from Q4, starting with France and UK customers.
The question is, how will this go down with manufacturers who already have their own app stores? Orange says they are in ‘deep discussion' with RIM and Nokia whose app store has been running in closed mode since Feb, but no mention was made of Apple. Orange is the exclusive carrier of the iPhone in France, so it'll be interesting to see if and how the Application Shop and App Store coexist.
To see RIM's new BlackBerry App World in action, check out our video demo.