The internet-based app purveyors of last decade are probably already seeing a hit to their business now that there’s an official on-device app store for most major platforms. As this shift continues, we wonder how these companies like Handango, MobiHand, and PocketGear will stay afloat. One way is through acquisition (strength in numbers!), as we’re now hearing the PocketGear is buying Handango to create an app catalog of 140,000, although we wonder how much of this consists of overlap and apps that aren’t compatible on modern systems. According to the CEO of PocketGear:
“Our vision is to facilitate an open app store ecosystem that supports every mobile device, every application, and every carrier network globally,” said Jud Bowman, President and CEO of PocketGear. “By combining the two largest independent app store companies, weâre creating significantly more scale and value for all of the stakeholders in the open app store ecosystem. Handset manufacturers, carriers, and media companies now have a single marketplace where they can quickly and easily connect with developers, source a catalog of apps developed specifically for their supported devices, and create a branded, revenue generating storefront and app discovery engine that works across all devices, platforms, geographies, and carrier networks.”
So it seems that on Bowman’s radar is an “open” app store, meaning they’d make available applications that aren’t accepted by the major app stores. But that begs the question: are the apps any good if they’re not in the app stores? Also, we’re not quite sure if OEMs and carriers want to make their own branded app catalogs. This would create a lot of fragmentation and consumer confusion.
It’s a difficult time right now for companies like PocketGear and Handango. If you were running their ships, what would you do to change course?