IT leaders interested in developing and distributing mobile apps could look to the new app store from Opera, which works across a range of smartphone platforms.
The store can already be accessed at mobilestore.opera.com from almost any mobile browser on any major phone platform.
It is built straight into the company's Opera Mobile and Opera Mini browsers, currently used by more than 100 million users, according to Opera, and the app store is available in more than 200 countries.
The Opera Mobile Store uses Appia's storefront commerce technology and has a wide range of applications for phones with Java, Symbian, BlackBerry and Android operating systems.
It does not currently offer iPhone apps, but Opera said that it plans to integrate with Apple's App Store in the future, as the Opera mobile browser was only recently added to the company's own App Store.
According to Opera, the Appia storefront experience is customised to each user's phone, providing a tailored catalogue based on the phone's operating system, local language and currency.
"The launch of the Opera Mobile Store supports Opera's core belief in an open, cross-platform mobile internet experience by providing Opera users with an integrated storefront of mobile applications," said Mahi de Silva, executive vice president for consumer mobile for Opera Software.
However, one stumbling block for Opera could come in the shape of Apple, which has only just agreed to allow the Opera mobile browser to be downloaded from its App store. The company will only allow users over 17 to download the browser, citing easy access to adult content through the browser as its reason.
Opera's vice president of desktop products, Jan Standal, is unperturbed though and is seeing the funny side of Apple's move.
"I'm very concerned. Seventeen is very young, and I am not sure if, at that age, people are ready to use such an application. It's very fast, you know, and it has a lot of features. I think the download requirement should be at least 18," he said.
To support the mobile app store, Opera has also launched the Opera Publisher Portal, providing developers with an easy way to get their applications onto the Opera Mobile Store and in front of millions of Opera users every month.
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