Device operating systems

OS Watch (Out): Here Comes V Cast Apps

Verizon Wireless 's V Cast Apps store will make its preloaded Android debut on the High Tech Computer Corp. (HTC) (Taiwan: 2498) Droid Incredible device next week.

The carrier began accepting Android apps from developers back in September, and a Verizon Wireless spokeswoman says a couple of hundred should fill the Incredible's shelves at launch. Whether those apps are also available elsewhere -- for instance, at Google (Nasdaq: GOOG)'s Android Market app store -- is up to the developer, she says. (See V Cast App Store Comes to Android.)

So Verizon isn't blocking developers from taking their wares elsewhere, but it already has some up in arms over the fact that the V Cast Apps storefront will come pre-installed on the Incredible, and it won't be uninstallable either.

This is Verizon's attempt to grab some relevancy in the app store sector with its introduction of carrier billing (the cost of apps purchased will appear on the customer's Verizon bill). But some fear Verizon's strategy could have a negative impact on the operating system app stores run by the likes of BlackBerry and now Google (Android). (See App Insights: VZ Wireless Lures With Ad Dollars and Verizon Outlines App Store Political Spectrum .)

Of course, Verizon's probably fearful too -- that V Cast Apps doesn't take off as it hopes.

  • Frag Watch: By creating its own app store, Verizon is compounding one of the main problems in the mobile app/operating system sector -- fragmentation. That's an issue usually associated with Google's Android, though the Web services giant isn't concerned about the impact Android is having.

    In its latest set of statistics, Google points out that more than three quarters of Android users are running an OS version 2.1 or beyond. That's good news, in that only about 25 percent are using out-of-date OSs, and less than one percent have obsolete versions.

    But the situation could change again very soon. Android 2.3 is set to be launched in the coming weeks, followed soon after by version 3.0. While 2.2 handsets could get upgraded, that hasn't always been the case in Google's fragmented past. The cooler the Android OS gets, the worse fragmentation could get. (See Android Gets Bigger (& Cheaper), OS Watch: Android's Fragmentation Makes Friends, and Android’s 5 Flavors of Fragmentation.)

  • Developers warm to WP7: Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)'s OS revival, in the form of Windows Phone 7 (WP7), is gaining more developer love before its official debut next Monday (November 8). (See Windows 7 Portfolio Unveiled.)

    According to a report from ad network Millennial Media, 20 percent of publishers are planning to focus on WP7 next year. It will still trail Android by 9 percent, but is set to be as popular as Apple's iPad platform (which is currently capturing about 30 percent of developers' resources).

    That's not too shabby for an OS many have already written off.

  • Microsoft's kill switch: Microsoft should be celebrating that show of developer support, but it’s also letting them know it can take it all away at any time. It will have a "kill switch" (security layer) that lets it disable or remove an app from a user's device, a practice for which Apple and Google have come under fire. PC Pro reports that Microsoft will use this only for worst-case scenario security measures.

  • AT&T's WP7 debut: The first WP7 smartphones -- the Samsung Corp. Focus, HTC Surround, and LG Electronics Inc. (London: LGLD; Korea: 6657.KS) Quantum -- will make their official debut on Monday on AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T). All three will retail for US$200.

    — Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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