Verizon Challenges Android Market with V Cast Apps Store

By Clint Boulton  |  Posted 2010-09-14

Verizon Challenges Android Market with V Cast Apps Store

In a move that could further stoke the rivalry between Google and Verizon Wireless, the No. 1 U.S. wireless carrier is asking for application submissions from developers writing for the Android operating system.

Verizon earlier this month began accepting binary Android app submissions for V CAST Apps, the application store the company is expected to launch Sept. 21 at its Verizon Developer Community conference in Las Vegas.

Available on Android 2.2 only, binary submission of apps is open for Verizon's HTC Droid Incredible, Motorola Droid and Motorola Droid X. As points of attraction, Verizon promises no testing fees, application placement within two weeks of submission and a 70-30 carrier split in favor of the app developer.

But Verizon's note to developers, as obtained by the blog Android and Me, added: "As you know, merchandising your Android app through other channels can be a challenge, this is how V Cast Apps can make a difference to you."

With that statement, V Cast Apps for Android appears to be a blatant shot across Google's bow, offering developers a salve to one of Google's biggest pain points with the Android Market.

Some 85,000-plus apps are offered via an Android Market widget on Android phones Verizon sells in the United States. Developers all over the country lament the fact that Android Market only enables payment for apps in nine countries.

By contrast, Apple's App Store supports paid apps in more than 90 countries. With V Cast Apps, Verizon is clearly trying to make it easier for developers to buy apps directly from its own store instead of the Android Market.

Verizon Taking On Android Market


Asked for more information, Verizon Wireless spokesperson Debra Lewis said in a statement to eWEEK: "The goal is to provide options for developers and choice and ease for customers (i.e. carrier billing). We hope they all agree." 

This means users can buy an app from V Cast Apps and have it billed to their Verizon phone account. Google is putting carrier billing capability in place for consumers who wish to purchase apps.  

Google declined to comment on Verizon's pending competitive strike vis-??í-vis the V Cast Apps store. However, Lewis indicated that the app store shouldn't come as a surprise to anyone, let alone a stealth attack on Google.

She noted that when Verizon Wireless announced Research In Motion as the first platform of record for the V Cast Apps store last year, the company pledged to support additional platforms over time.

Yet no one could predict the carrier might directly compete with Google's Android Market, which could become as crucial to Android phone proliferation as Apple's App Store has proven for the iPhone.

Google and Verizon appeared to smooth over their rocky relationship over the 700MHz wireless spectrum last October when the companies announced their partnership for Android smartphones. The companies are also working on Android tablets together.

Yet there still lies a strong undercurrent of competition, as Verizon has a deal in place with Microsoft to place the Bing search and Map apps on some of its phone.

The latest proof of this pact materialized in the Samsung Fascinate, which features Bing Search and Bing Maps instead of Google Search and Google Maps, which come preloaded on Verizon's Droid line.

The Fascinate is also loaded with several V Cast apps for music, videos, ringtones and navigation, perhaps foreshadowing the company's plans to insert the platform more deeply into its Android phones. 

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