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New app stores must be given time to compete with Apple

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This week a report from highly regarded US market research group concluded that Apple’s iPhone app store is “miles ahead of the competition”. Global Intelligence Alliance Group’s (GIAG) study looked at existing application stores, such as the Android Market, as well as those set to launch this year, such as those from Nokia and Palm. The firm’s assertion was based on the range of apps available from the stores and the quality thereof.

In one respect, it’s hard to argue with the findings. Currently on offer at the Apple app store is a stunning array of practical and fun apps, including everything from a handy translator, great games and photo editing software. However, at the same time, GIAG’s judgement is more than a little unfair. Chiefly in the respect that for instance Palm’s app store Nokia’s Ovi store are in their very early stages.

So, granted, whilst say Nokia’s app store’s launch offerings may not be as inspiring as those on sale for the iPhone, Apple’s device has had a huge headstart. And the vast sales that Nokia’s app compatible handsets are set to rack up will mean that developers will flock to create applications for its phones in months to come. As a result, it surely won’t be long before Ovi is brimming with a similar breadth of apps as Apple’s store.

GIAG assessment of apps for the G1 handset can be afforded more credence, purely on the grounds that its app store is up and running and as yet has not matched the level of choice that iPhone owners enjoy. This is borne out by the fact that Android Market currently has just 132 free apps on offer and nine for which you must pay. However, this is chiefly due to the fact that at the moment there is just one Android phone available. Only a clown would predict that this situation will not change once other manufacturers’ planned Android phones are unveiled this year.

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