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Verizon Starts Over With Apps

12:00 PM -- LAS VEGAS -- VDC Conference 2011 -- Verizon Wireless has long had its own application store in V Cast Apps, but it's starting over -- revamping and rebranding the experience to lure customers away from the Android Market.

The company will be showing off its newly minted Verizon Apps this week in Las Vegas at its annual developer conference. Todd Murphy, director of Verizon's consumer solutions group, says the carrier has identified where it was weak and addressed those issues in its new store, which will run alongside the Android Market on Droid smartphones. (See Verizon Rallies Developers for LTE.)

A big weakness for developers was discoverability, which Verizon has addressed by teaming up with Chomp to improve search. The startup lets users search by what the app does rather than the actual name. The partnership was born out of Verizon's newest app innovation center in San Francisco.

Even with the redesign, Murphy says the goal of the revamped store remains the same -- to be the most secure and feature the highest-quality apps. "We want it to be that way so we have a safe shopping experience with easy discoverability," he says.

Promotion and moneymaking are two other big pain points for developers, but the carrier plans to spend the next 48 hours convincing developers it excels at both.

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

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sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:54:01 PM
re: Verizon Starts Over With Apps

Verizon isn't trying to compete with Android Market, but it will have some of the same apps. Devs should really benefit from the prime-time placement and promo, so it'd be advantageous to be in both.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:53:57 PM
re: Verizon Starts Over With Apps

But if nobody walks in the door of the store, there is no benefit. The problem is, Verizon spends most of its money and marketing pushing its phones and its big-money apps -- like NFL Mobile. I would wager that most Verizon customers (as well as most Verizon retail employees) have no idea that Verizon has its own apps store, or what its strategy for apps is. And its priority will always remain secondary to pushing the newest phone or the revenue-producing captive apps.


Just not sure how Verizon's store is supposed to make the customer feel better or feel like they are getting something better than they can get in the Android or Apple stores. Just adds a layer of confusion, not clarity.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:53:57 PM
re: Verizon Starts Over With Apps

But if nobody walks in the door of the store, there is no benefit. The problem is, Verizon spends most of its money and marketing pushing its phones and its big-money apps -- like NFL Mobile. I would wager that most Verizon customers (as well as most Verizon retail employees) have no idea that Verizon has its own apps store, or what its strategy for apps is. And its priority will always remain secondary to pushing the newest phone or the revenue-producing captive apps.


Just not sure how Verizon's store is supposed to make the customer feel better or feel like they are getting something better than they can get in the Android or Apple stores. Just adds a layer of confusion, not clarity.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:53:57 PM
re: Verizon Starts Over With Apps

That's a good point. I think Verizon Apps is definitely good for developers though, because if they can work out a deal, it'll help their discoverability tremendously. It's not unlike a retail store in which the store chooses which products to give the best spots to.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:53:57 PM
re: Verizon Starts Over With Apps

The problem with the "our store" thinking is that end users -- not Verizon -- are the best judge of what is best when it comes to an app. If there is no way for users to vote or judge apps within the Verizon store, it will have little traction. One of the main reasons Apple's store took off was because of its relative democracy. Until carriers learn how to cede some control they will remain on the outside looking in at the app revolution.

kaps 12/5/2012 | 4:53:57 PM
re: Verizon Starts Over With Apps

The problem with the "our store" thinking is that end users -- not Verizon -- are the best judge of what is best when it comes to an app. If there is no way for users to vote or judge apps within the Verizon store, it will have little traction. One of the main reasons Apple's store took off was because of its relative democracy. Until carriers learn how to cede some control they will remain on the outside looking in at the app revolution.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:53:56 PM
re: Verizon Starts Over With Apps

I also think they'll help get users in by where they place the store on the phone. If it's front-and-center, which I imagine it will be, it'll be easy for consumers to find it.


They aren't really trying to take on Android or iOS, just get some stake in apps. Plus, things like NFL Mobile will be what is promoted in Verizon Apps anyway.


But, the developers on the panel made it clear Verizon has a lot of work to do, even while spewing lots of love for Verizon Apps.

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:53:56 PM
re: Verizon Starts Over With Apps

On the confusion vs. clarity idea, I think one way they could/may be managing the whole store might be as follows: Find out what's popular on the big OS platforms, ask those devs to write the same apps to your network "store", provide customers with a "safe" choice of the most popular apps, tuned to your network.


If they're taking that approach, I say good on them. If they're just taking on iTunes, I'm not sure that's a great idea.


But Kaps and Sarah both hit on a common theme, VZ hasn't been terribly chatty about its apps strategy overall. I had a nice interview with its SVP of Prod Dev. on the FiOS side and they are very involved with mobile but I get the feeling consumers don't hear about that as much.

sarahthomas1011 12/5/2012 | 4:53:55 PM
re: Verizon Starts Over With Apps

I confirmed that the store will run on future Android phones as a native widget on the home page...and you can't delete it, so that's one way to get noticed!

DCITDave 12/5/2012 | 4:53:54 PM
re: Verizon Starts Over With Apps

I guess that's a point I keep overlooking -- real estate. A screen is only so big and if the handset vendor doesn't have the market power of Apple, the carriers can (should?) put links to services that they want consumers to use most.


It reminds me of what Dell computers looked like at one time. You'd get a PC home, switch it on, and half your hard drive would be full of software you never knew you needed :)

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