Motorola Offers China Users Android Store, Search Engine Choice

Motorola will launch SHOP4APPS, an Android-based application store for Android-handset owners in China. China consumers will also get to choose the search engine on their Android phones, said Motorola, with Baidu among the options.

Motorola is bringing an Android-based application store to China.Called SHOP4APPS, or Zhi-Jian-Yuan, which translates roughly to "place for apps wisdom," according to Motorola, it will debut in time for the Chinese New Year - which this year coincides with Valentine's Day.

The store will be open to other manufacturers, or partners in China also supporting the Android ecosystem, Motorola said, and additionally offer a direct way for developers to market their Android apps.

Developers can now begin submitting Android apps to SHOP4APPS by visiting this Motorola site.

Finally, Motorola additionally announced, on Jan. 21, that it begin allowing Android handset owners to choose their search provider, with Chinese search engine Baidu included among the options.

"In addition to our close collaboration with the Android community, we are working closely with our carrier partners in China, and with ecosystem partners like Baidu to provide consumers with a full suite of services," said Christy Wyatt, Motorola Mobile's corporate vice president of software and services, in a statement. "These services will include search, email and maps for our newest China smartphones."

Among the new handsets for China will be the Motorola XT800 Zhishang, said a China Telecom spokesperson.

Features of the SHOP4APPS store include a tool for finding apps that best suit each phone owner, based on their preferences, region and carrier. A tool called My Locker will also act as a "storage" area, enabling users to keep apps when they switch phones, or to restore apps that have been erased.

For developers, the store will include tools for promoting and marketing their apps to end users.

"The ability to add applications and services is essential for people in China because increasingly we live our lives and express ourselves through our mobile phones," China Unicom said in the shared statement. "We want phones to reflect our lifestyle and our choices, and the ability to pick our own search sites, our own chat services, our own games, and to craft our own mobile experience is helping China Unicom deliver on the promise of 3G."

Research firm Gartner predicted, in a Jan. 18 report, that worldwide application store revenue will exceed $6.78 billion in 2010 and continue climbing past $29.5 billion in 2013.

"Application stores will be a core focus throughout 2010 for the mobile industry, and applications themselves will help determine the winner among mobile device platforms," said Gartner Analyst Carolina Milanesi, in a statement on the report.