More App Stores, but is it all as seamless as the iPhone?

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Nokia announced their own App Store, which will be first seen in their N97 model – it will be available for download on existing Nokia phones later. May. Not to be outdone, Microsoft announced their version Windows Marketplace with 20,000 applications (what’s better – a handful that work great or tonnes of mediocre stuff?). There are others too, as outlined here. As one of the chewing gums ad in India asked, ‘pehle kyon nahi socha?’ (why didn’t you think of it earlier?). It took a company outside the purview of the traditional mobile phone industry to come and shake things up.

This may not be a popular perception among smartphone buyers and potential smartphone buyers in India – but the iPhone + iTunes system is the best in terms of seamless app & music management. And in terms of branding opportunities on the mobile, the iPhone presents the best option thus far for mobile handsets.

The Obama app is considered to be one of the most successful ‘branded apps’ on the iPhone. Zippo, Kraft, British Airways, Chanel and Coke all have iPhone apps. I had written about Kraft’s iFood Assistant – I can’t imagine any of the current applications on a regular smartphone being as integrated, simple and a delight to use. Even on my Nokia E61i (which is not a comparable phone) there are apps from CNBC and others which simply lie unused or sporadically used. Getting online is a chore and the apps are not as beautiful as the ones on my iPod Touch. The simplicity of syncing everything through iPhoto/iTunes is something which the other App Stores have a lot to catch up on.

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