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In anticipation of the release of its make or break smartphone, the XPERIA X10, Sony Ericsson has been dangling a carrot in front of potential developers for the Android-based mobile by opening up the PlayNow app store to all comers.

PlayNow is already available for other Sony Ericsson handsets including the Satio, but with the XPERIA X10 it is hoped that a boost in user numbers will result in a parallel boost in independent interest in its unique application marketplace.

Those looking to sell their digital wares on PlayNow will be able to sign up for a developer account on the Sony Ericsson website.

Some are sceptical about the promotion of yet another app retail platform, especially since the Android Market is already well established and growing every day. Sony Ericsson is clearly attempting to establish its own identity in the app marketplace, although the fragmentary approach has baffled some observers.

The only way in which Sony Ericsson will be able to make its PlayNow service appealing is if it can offer apps that are both exclusive and high in quality, although ultimately it is the sheer volume, or lack thereof, that can dictate the success of a digital retail platform.

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