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Vodafone Debuts Own Mobile Application Platform

Mobile phone giant Vodafone is expected to launch its own mobile application development initiative to populate millions of its customers' smartphones with apps.

The plan will see the operator allow developers to access its billing and location based services APIs in a bid to speed up application deployment. This will allow developers for example to charge customers who will be paying through their monthly bill.

Vodafone is partnering with China Mobile and Japan-based Softbank through the Joint Innovation Lab project whose aim is to create a "single global platform for mobile app developers".

The company is aiming to secure a sizable chunk of the mobile application market which is currently dominated by Apple and its iPhone. Vodafone will ensure that the installation of a revenue-share model, similar to the one pioneered by Apple, and could get up to 30 percent of the revenue.

Not many other networks have been so bold in their approach; O2 is the only one in the UK to have done so. Handset vendors have been the one who took the initiative with the likes of Apple, Nokia, RIM, Palm and Samsung bringing the concept of mobile application marketplace to life.

Vodafone's chief executive Vittorio Colao said, "By giving simple access to our global customer base and network assets, such as direct billing and location awareness, we will help them to make more money while providing our customers with the innovative services that they want".

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Our Comments

Vodafone differentiates itself from the rest of the industry by being the first one to actually offer applications that will be usable across all the phones Vodafone carries. In comparison, just like for gaming consoles, developers have had to program different versions of their applications for other phones.

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Désiré has been musing and writing about technology during a career spanning four decades. He dabbled in website building and web hosting when DHTML and frames were en vogue and started writing about the impact of technology on society just before the start of the Y2K hysteria at the turn of the last millennium. Following an eight-year stint at ITProPortal.com where he discovered the joys of global tech-fests, Désiré now heads up TechRadar Pro. Previously he was a freelance technology journalist at Incisive Media, Breakthrough Publishing and Vnunet, and Business Magazine. He also launched and hosted the first Tech Radio Show on Radio Plus.