HTC Jumps on the Bandwagon, Plans to Launch Own App Store



It’s no secret that HTC wants to push their software agenda stronger than ever now that it is — other than stellar hardware — the main point of differentiation between the Android and Windows Phone 7 devices they offer and their competition. After the cloud-centric launched aside the Desire Z and Desire HD, it makes perfect sense that the logical progression from their HTC Hub app discovery assistant would be to launch a full-blown app store. According to Financial Times, this is exactly what the company plans to do.

HTC is said to be in the process of hiring staff to get the store — which will sell both applications and e-books — up and running. When it could launch is not known at this time.

While HTC will no doubt offer a great market experience, the idea of all kinds of third-party app stores popping up gets me nervous about a certain Android ‘F’ word. Fragmentation.

[Financial Times via Engadget]

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  1. Another company trying to cash in on Android while they still can. I have lost a little respect for HTC today.

  2. I’m OK with this. HTC is pretty much the only company to have come out with a competent software layer on top of Android.

    HTC Sense is leagues above MOTOBLUR et al. and their “cloud” services are actually useful.

  3. Agreed.. I don’t like this.. Just one market is the way to go. I think everything else open is okay, but Google should have not allowed this from the start. They may regret this down the road… :(

  4. I don’t see how this even REMOTELY makes sense from a business standpoint. Good idea. Lets fragment our software for no reason.

  5. I bought
    I rooted
    I flashed
    I won!

  6. Greenleaf, you won’t need to root and flash. This isn’t INSTEAD of the market, it’s as well as.

    Whilst fragmentation is a shame, if the handset manufacturors are going to “win”, they’ll need to offer more than just hardware. We might not like it, but it’s this kind of stuff that keeps a lot of different handset suppliers in the Android game, and that IS good for the OS.

  7. Droid_FTW: It’s in keeping with the ideal of an open Android. Google don’t want (or don’t want to be seen) to be restricting anybody. That said, the Android Market and sideloading are fine for me. If they were to remove the Android Market capability from their phones and only allow their own store, that would be troublesome and I would not agree with it.

  8. This is getting messy

  9. I’m a developer, I don’t like it. I want to concentrate on one market instead of 10. Call me lazy.

  10. I thought fragmentation of the os across different hardware specs as well as multiple markets were not big issues for devs. At least thats what i have seen on this and other forums…I have always wondered how it could not be a pain in the a&&. Down the road what with the carriers adding their software and markets as well as the handset makers themselves doing the same, android will be a watered down convoluted mess and no one will really know where android begins and ends. When that happens, problematic software implementation by a carrier or handset maker will sully android. People wont know it’s not android but a badly managed market or app by whomever.

  11. Is this going to be similar to carrier markets though? Orange UK have one and I very much doubt anybody uses it.

  12. Why, HTC? -.-

  13. Um, NO.

  14. This will soon become Android’s biggest issue. It WILL piss people off when they buy a phone and find out that there are 3 or 4 different app stores on the phone (device maker, carrier, Android Market, ?). Worse yet – when the carriers feel that there app stores are big enough, say good-bye to the Android Market on the phones (why would they want to share revenue with Google if they don’t see it as an advantage).

  15. I have the same objections to this as I’ve felt about carrier specific markets, getting tied in. The great joy of android is the diversity of products offered, having chosen to get a smart phone and gone the android root, you can then pick a manufacturer, handset, and carrier to suit your personal needs, and if those needs change just switch, and you can keep all your contacts, data, and apps because they’re there in the cloud. But once you start buying apps from restricted access stores you’re locked in, what if I spend £50 on apps on the HTC store, and the same again on some exclusive carrier apps, and then when it comes time to upgrade I like the look of the new Motorola phones, or Samsung, or whoever, but I can’t pick it because I’ll lose all the money I spent, and I can’t change carrier either. This all leads to a big win for the companies and a major fail for consumers. And before anyone starts saying how awesome HTC is and that it’s got the best phones anyway, or that this won’t happen, it does, I have friends who were duped early on into buying into the whole apple iPhone cult thing, and even though they’re now convinced of the error of their ways, after seeing all the things that Android can do that they can’t, they’re still reluctant to change, because they’re committed, with all the apps they’ve bought, and their music on iTunes, and if they switch they lose it all.

  16. @Vinnie….EXACTLY

  17. I’ve got an idea… so we don’t we lose money, what if Google made it so they combined all the markets into the android market but had sub categories to each market. then we could have access to all of them and they would carry over on our phones too. that might work.

  18. Andrew, I don’t think you understand why they want to do this in the first place, do you?…

  19. @ Vinnie – Couldn’t agree more
    @ Andrew53517 – Let’s hope that’s what ends up happening

  20. So they are going to try to get carriers to continue to enter into contacts with them by saying don’t worry I know you have/want your own Android marketplace on stop of Google’s but trust us when we say ours is better than both. Loudly fail and not quite brilliant if you ask me.

  21. @DanGrover I do, money. If Android fails because of it they will have Windows phone 7 to fall back on.

  22. OMFG!

  23. This is getting out of hand. all of This could kill android. With Android’s rise in popularity manufactures are beginning to take advantage of Androids open-source. Carriers need to stay out of android. Stop forcing bing,yahoo,sprint id, and V cast up our ass because we dont want it. No more alternative app markets. Google, Take pride in your beautiful daughter android and stop letting carriers rape her so easily.

  24. Why reinvent the wheel, unless you are going to add tyres.

    There is a perfectly good app store already.

  25. Dont panic.

    There is no loss for developers to not post their apps at this store. This is a great way for HTC to offer apps directly to their devices; but the Market Place will still be on all HTC devices. This means that there is no reason to think developers will have to change they do things.

    Now if HTC has some sort of advatage for devs (takes a smaller cut? better interface with a large library) then great. Thats a second option availble for the developer to put his apps on both stores if he so chooses. People will use what they want, and natural selection will kill dead weight.

  26. @DanGrover, to make a profit of course. That’s why. But maybe Google has a solution to this. Or maybe they are okay with it. Either way, they need to come out and say something about it one way or another.

  27. You will always be able to install Android Market, even if it doesn’t come pre-installed. Obviously HTC wants that 30% cut from app sales, which makes perfect sense. Google needs to offer a way for the carrier to create an app store as a tab in the market (like someone said), but Google will have to make it worth it.

    Developing and maintaining your own marketplace isn’t an easy feat, but perhaps if Google offered a way for carriers/manufacterers to host the apps in the app store and get 10% of the cut.

    For example: User1 goes to download Beautiful Widgets. This app has never been downloaded from HTC so it is pulled from Google and Cached on HTC’s servers. Google gets 30% of the cut. The next time someone goes to download the app they never talk to Google’s servers (unless there is a new version), and instead get the copy from HTC’s server. Google then gets 20% and HTC gets 10% because HTC just supplied the bandwidth.

  28. I think people are getting worked up over the use of the term “app store.” I don’t think that they are planning on starting a competitor market. I think it’ll be more comparable to the Amazon MP3 store. A place that sells extra things not available through the normal store. Perhaps it is some HTC software (or just upgrades for their pre-installed apps) or eBooks and things like that. I can almost guarantee you that this won’t be the place where you download Angry Birds.

  29. This is bad for both consumers and developers

  30. As long as they don’t starts replacing the Android Market with this, I’m fine with it really.

  31. Why in the Hell is everyone so against having access to a secondary marketplace??? The last time I checked, this is a free market society. A little competition is great for the economy, especially to the consumer. Have we all forgotten about basic economics??? Supply and demand??? The way I see it, it would also give developers another venue in which to sell their wares. I don’t think it would hurt, only help. Rest assured Google is NOT going anywhere, and nor will they lose any revenue from having carrier or manufacturers specific markets. The ones who REALLY win are the developers and consumers.

  32. Competition can be a good thing. I just don’t think consumers will support this many app stores. The ones that are easier to use and offer the most content will be successful, the others will fall by the wayside.

  33. sooo, now developers have to send (and update) their apps in the Android Market, Verizon’s App Store, Amazon’s App Store, and now HTC’s App Store? Google just need to update the Android Market so all of these other stores wont be necessary because they’re all trying to achieve what Google isnt doing and thats making the good Android apps stand out from the garbage ones

  34. Horrible idea. All this will lead to is another stupid place I have to go in order to get my apps. In a way I blame the Android market, its not that intuitive and offers little features.

  35. Why is multiple app stores such an upheaval to people? Competition dr ives down prices. Last time I wanted to buy some new software for my PC I searched through the retailers – online and high street to find the best price and bought it from the cheapest place. Why is this any different? People are just lazy these days

  36. I don’t see this as being bad. The thing about it that gets me excited is the fact that HTC has quality widgets(and choices of how they show) and a beautiful sense to work with. I see it more like it won’t really make much more fragmentation and the reason is because I feel since most likely the apps only work with sense so what would happen is they just need to only take time to make the sense UI. I think I would like it more if it was only HTC software that is real high grade quality but most likely It’s going to be open to everyone. I do think they will also change some things to separate it from the default Google market. Like maybe other developers could include more variety of choices of the widgets in a neat package like htc widgets. I don’t know about other apps but maybe you will be able to use certain features in like the cloud. Or maybe even be able to use the app on the site and sync up with the phone (more like for games.) Idk I think this will be good

  37. this just makes no sense, i love android but i see things like this only hurting android in the future. The average person don’t really care about things like this but avid users and developers see this as a huge problem. I don’t like this one bit

  38. Yes, the Android market is becoming a disappointment for it’s lack of features to help users find what they’re looking for. There need to be sorting options based on popularity, reviews, anything else that can be quantified.

  39. HTC sucks, Sense sucks and their app store will suck. One of the reasons apple and rim own their respective markets is because they have full control over their products & ecosystem. This is actually not a bad thing especially when the competition is losers like Microsoft who has no f’ing clue about phones.

    HTC should focus on improving their mediocre hardware rather than trying to create software and app stores. They are after all a hardware manufacturer.

    Sense is the reason every HTC handset will be getting Gingerbread 6 months late. Do they really think they can improve on googles ui? What’s next, an OS? Seriously.

  40. All these custom markets makes “end-user” confused. Try telling any older user who is not geek, and then “oh ya you need to search that app in this market”

    Frustrating, why can you not just put your apps in Google Market and work with Google.


  41. I do not like this. Looks like we will have the Android Market, Verizon Vcast App Store and a HTC App Store. Personally, I think this is a waste. I don’t know about the HTC App store but developers will be able to upload the same app to the Android Market and the Vcast App store. The only thing that I think will be good about that is the ability for people to buy an app from Vcast and have it charged to their cell phone bill instead of CC.

  42. @mindo, that statement was pretty ignorant. Can you name another another company that let’s you have default control over all your information, let’s you use the functions of the phone without it having to be with you, and that can change settings and locate your phone even when its on silent and can make the phone ring. I consider that a leap in the right direction and that should be what companies do. They should give you the option to choose, if you don’t like it then don’t use the market. I think HTC has shown over and over again that they are about innovation. What HTC wants to do is set their android phones apart. Why should we have to stick with the default ? The only reasonable reason to dislike HTC is that the sense so far has caused a slight delay on the update but from what I understand , this isn’t the fault of HTC, but of the phone provider. I think its a shame that such hard work and innovation isn’t appreciated. You might not agree with HTC opening up a market but you have to respect the fact that it is all optional and they aren’t shoving this down our throats

  43. There should be one central android market that works world wide. Period.

  44. What nonsense. If the HTC ‘Market’ is a free for all then yes there is fragmentation and dilution of integrity and quality.

    If however you have a decent product and have built up a distinct loyal following and brand how do you ensure your apps stand out and are controlled viably? You open your own so called ‘Market’ which in reality may be nothing more that a widget to ‘Sense’.

    This is a market economy so of course there will be some sort of ‘buy-in’ to help maintain your loyalty.

    Android is open, so there is a significant amount of dross on the market. HTC have a brand, they have a rapidly increasing customer base so why not take the best of both worlds (user choice (google philosophy and app integrity (Apple commercial wisdom))to ensure you maintain that reputation and build brand loyalty.

    Of course if they go the way of duplication of the Android market as seems to be the hysteria on here then yes the platform will get messy.

  45. While the whole market place fragmentation has a danger of damaging Android I believe it also has the potential to make it better.

    The downside for developers and the users are: Developers may not get their app seen if they only make it available from one market. The users may not realise apps exist that they want as it’s not checking all the markets.

    The upside: More markets means competition and therefore potential consumer savings. Also this competition could benefit the developers as publishing could become cheaper.

    The solution to these problems would be a market place portal. This could happen either by an app that is simply a window to all the other market places or my preference would be if Google extend their market to become that portal.

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