The Orange App Shop is finally open and it’ll be available to anyone with an Orange device. Though this includes smartphones from RIM, Android and Windows Mobile (all of which actually already have app stores of their very own) we suspect the biggest audience will be those with standard Java phones, which still make up the largest proportion of Orange’s portfolio.
Head of Orange Application Shop Dominic Lobo said a whopping 90% of their customers don’t use ‘multimedia services’ (that’d be the apps) on a regular basis, hence the drive to provide those very services just a click away on the homescreen.
So far, apps from Orange have largely been games – in fact, one of their content providers is EA Games – but Lobo said the operator will soon improve its ‘fun’ and productivity offerings too.
Developers wanting to submit apps should get in touch with Orange Partner, the operator’s developer support body. Apps and games will be priced between three and five pounds. And if that seems steep to you, well, according to Lobo, what you’re getting is the quality assurance of software that’s gone through the Orange vetting process.
How that will sit next to the 12,000+ mostly-free apps on Android Marketplace, we’re not sure. And while RIM and Microsoft are happy to allow another app store to sit on their devices alongside their own, the Orange App Shop will, of course, not be available on the operator’s newly acquired iPhone. Apps can be paid for either via a registered credit card - like it is on the BlackBerry, Android and Microsoft app stores - or charged to a user's monthly Orange bill.
The App Shop launches today with over 2,000 apps and 3,000 ringtones and wallpaper type items, and is available to download for more than one million customers in France and the UK. In January, the service will come preloaded on the Nokia 6700, Sony Ericsson W995 and the Sony Ericsson Yari U100i (France only), with roll-out later on to Samsung, LG, HTC and RIM handsets.