Samsung Application Store to Compete Against Windows Mobile, Apple App Store

Samsung's new mobile applications store, due to launch in Europe on Sept. 14 before expanding to 30 countries through 2010, will be available on phones running the Windows Mobile operating system, putting the Samsung Application Store in direct competition with Windows Marketplace for Mobile. Both Microsoft and Samsung will be hoping to take mobile-application market share away from Palm, Apple, RIM and other IT giants that have made substantial gains in the space.

Samsung plans to launch its own mobile applications store in certain European countries on Sept. 14, to be followed by a more global rollout throughout 2010. An as-yet-inactive Website for the company's store can be found here.

The Samsung Application Store will initially roll out in France, Italy and the United Kingdom, to be followed by 30 other countries within a few months. Applications will initially number 300, with close to 2,000 hoped for by the end of 2009, and will run on Samsung phones that have either the Symbian or Windows Mobile operating systems installed.

Along with LG, Samsung saw an uptick in market share of its handsets during the second quarter. Although global handset shipments fell 8 percent during that period to 273 million units, Samsung's market share increased to 19 percent, with 52.3 million handsets shipped worldwide.

This represented a jump for the company from the same quarter in 2008, when it moved 45.7 million units. LG saw its own year-over-year shipments increase by 8 percent, to 29.8 million handsets.

Samsung's upcoming store has the potential to directly compete with Microsoft's Windows Marketplace for Mobile, which is slated to open in fall with some 600 applications. Microsoft has already been campaigning to convince developers to create applications for the store, which will debut on the Windows Mobile 6.5.

Windows Mobile 6.5 is intended as Microsoft's answer to mobile operating systems from RIM, Palm and Apple, with features such as build-in Flash support and multitouch capability.

Rumors earlier in August suggested that Microsoft might also offer Windows Mobile 7, designed with higher-end functionality, by the fourth quarter of 2010. If these rumors prove true, Windows Mobile 7 phones would compete against more expensive devices such as the iPhone and the Palm Pre, while Windows Mobile 6.5 would be expected to challenge the low- to middle-range of the market.

However the competing application stores pan out, Samsung and Microsoft are both fighting for slices of a mobile-application pie that Juniper Research estimated will reach 20 billion downloads annually by 2014.