It’s still early days in the mobile application marketplace and Apple’s App Store hasn’t won yet, competitors told game developers during a panel at the Casual Connect conference this afternoon.
A new version of Microsoft’s equivalent, a Windows Mobile marketplace, will start taking submissions from developers on July 27, said Steve Hegenderfer, Windows Mobile group product manager. The company’s still trying to figure out things like whether to set price tiers.
Hegenderfer said Apple has “early mover” advantage but the industry is still in its infancy, with all sorts of new opportunities, he said.
“If anyone thinks Apple is going to run this thing they’re sorely mistaken,” he said, adding that “we are so early, we are barely scratching the tip of the iceberg, and it’s exciting.”
Nokia launched its “Ovi” mobile application store on May 23, said Patrick Stanton, the Finnish phone company’s director of content operations.
Stanton didn’t comment directly on how it will compete with Apple’s App store, but noted that the Ovi store software is being preloaded on Nokia phones and the company ships about 300 million units per year.
There will eventually be half a dozen big marketplaces and developers are going to offer their applications in all of them, Stanton said.
“We’re all playing in similar spaces so you’re going to have to look at how these things evolve over time,” he said. “It’s going to be a competitive marketplace for some time to come.”
Hegenderfer said the winning mobile marketplaces will be the ones that enable developers to make a living.
“That’s what its gong to come down to … who is going to allow you to make more money than anyone else,” he said.
But developers in the audience said it gets complicated to develop for platforms with multiple devices.
“If I build for you I’ve got to build for nine form factors,” one told Hegenderfer, before telling Stanton that writing for Nokia’s Symbian platform “doesn’t do me any any good on the PC platform or Mac platform” and “it’s wickedly hard to develop for because of your memory model.”
If an Apple representative was in the room, he continued, he’d tell that company to open up its platform.