PocketGear Aquires Handango

Before the iTunes App Store, the Android Market, or the Windows Marketplace for Mobile, there were mobile application stores on the Internet. Today PocketGear, which is one of the oldest of the mobile application stores, announced it is aquiring another long-time mobile application store, Handango. In a highly competitive market, PocketGear differentiates itself from Apple, Google, and Microsoft’s stores by selling applications for multiple mobile platforms. With the aquisition, PocketGear’s application catalog grows to 140,000 paid and free applications. Currently 32,000 software developers sell their applications on one of PocketGear’s network of eight web stores.

PocketGear will face stiff competition from Apple, Google, and Microsoft who pre-install and feature their application stores in their operating systems. In the past Handango and PocketGear have partnered with popular mobile web sites to provide application stores for those sites. An opportunity may exist for PocketGear to partner with handset manufacturers and mobile carriers, all of whom have expressed interest in having their own app store, to quickly produce stores to compete with the mobile operating system vendors. If PocketGear can work with a handset provider to get a store pre-installed, it can compete with the mobile operating system vendors by having a larger application catalog, and if they combined that with taking a lower cut of the sale price, giving more money to developers, and possibly having lower prices, developers and consumers could win.