How Many App Stores is Too Many? Verizon Looking to Add to the App Store Mix

So, now its Verizon’s turn to start building an app store (from Gigaom)…

Verizon to Mobile Developers: Can You Hear Me Now?

A year ago, just after the Apple iTunes iPhone app store opened its virtual doors, it was obvious that there weren’t enough app stores to service other phones. A year later, I’m wondering if Verizon’s planned app store is one too many.

The iPhone’s app store is reasonably unique. It caters to one platform (iPhone OS) with basically one phone model (I’m not worrying about 3G vs 3GS or the iPod touch) and one wireless provider (for now). The Palm Pre emulated this model although we already know that a second wireless provider (Verizon) will emerge in 2010. Other phone platforms (Android, BlackBerry, Symbian, Windows Mobile) are mix and match in terms of phone models and wireless carriers. The Samsung Omnia provides an excellent view of the confusion multiple app stores might create. How, for example does a BlackBerry user decide whether to shop at RIM’s app store (which, we learned recently, forbids encyrption apps) or the Verizon app store which may have some BlackBerry apps?

My guess is that most non-techie consumers would prefer to shop at their wireless carrier’s app store. But, shopping at a carrier app store with multiple hardware manufacturers and phone models could make finding apps difficult that it is in Apple’s app store where all the apps run on the iPhone. Things are bound to get more confusing for consumers in the near future. It will be interesting to watch how all this sorts out over the next few years.