Thirty years after a bunch of far eastern companies (and other) got together to develop a common application platform, a bunch of far eastern (and other) companies have got together to develop a common application platform.
The snappily named Wholesale Application Community is a consortium of mobile phone manufacturers and service providers that are banding together to (supposedly) challenge Apple’s App Store control over the mobile application market.
The WAC’s current member list: América Móvil, AT&T, Bharti Airtel, China Mobile, China Unicom,Deutsche Telekom, KT, Mobilkom Austria Group, MTN Group, NTT DoCoMo, Orange, Orascom Telecom,Softbank Mobile, Telecom Italia, Telefónica, Telenor Group, Telia Sonera, SingTel, SK Telecom, Sprint,Verizon Wireless, VimpelCom, Vodafone, and Wind, as well as device manufacturers Samsung, LG, andSony Ericsson.
The idea is that they will promote a common set of APIs that all manufacturers can implement and allow a common set of applications to run cross platform on OS’ like Symbian, Android, Windows Mobile.
Is it just me that thinks this utopian ideal sounds a little like the ill fated MSX initiative but with a modern, connected spin?
It is a chicken and egg situation, the only reason the App store has been successful is that there was a large user community of early adopters – rich pickings for eager developers. If the APIs ever ship (lets not underestimate the technical challenge in doing this) and it delivers on it’s promises, will there be the demand for the applications? How will the payment for the apps work, who manages the cash?