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Is Samsung’s new app store too little, too late?

September 2, 2009

Samsung is launching an application store in Britain, France and Italy for its Omina smartphone on Sept. 14. But will it be a formidable force in the application market?

The application store is not yet available in the United States. Samsung said its new store will be available in other countries as the year progresses. The new application store joins several other brands like the Apple App Store, RIM’s BlackBerry App World and Nokia’s Ovi Store in a bid for smartphone application dominance.

“The strategy behind Samsung’s launch is short answer: make money,” said Neil Strother, analyst at Forrester Research, Kirkland, WA. “But I mean isn’t that the bottom line of all app stores — to make some money?”

Mr. Strother said he has not looked specifically at Samsung but he assumes the strategy is to enable and encourage a flourishing application environment for its devices and generate revenue for developers.

Forrester Research is a technology and market research company that provides advice globally in the business and technology sectors.

Samsung Electronics is a global manufacture of electronics including mobile devices.

Users can visit but will only be met with an image reading “Samsung Application Store is coming soon!”

Samsung’s application store could help the South Korean company compete with other original equipment manufacturers like Nokia, Motorola and LG.

“Samsung is coming out behind the other brands,” Mr. Strother said. “They’re followers, not leaders so they could be less likely to gain success because they are less likely to capture that early momentum. It gives them one more weapon in their tool kit that the others have and it helps them counter, sort of a ‘me too’ thing.”

According to Mr. Strother, Samsung hasn’t been that strong in the smartphone space.

“They had a few out there but it’s not as robust in terms of other brands,” he said. “Creating an application store says they recognize clearly that especially in the U.S. and Europe and other advanced markets, the smartphones are a hot area and the hottest thing is the app store. They’re going after their share of them.”

When it comes to buying phones, Mr. Strother said application and application store availability is still not as high a factor as carrier and data plans.

“Applications and application stores are part of the combination in deciding, but I don’t think app stores are the first thought, but a consideration more often its choice of carrier and the right services like voice and text plans,” he said. “Apps are a part of that, an ingredient. I think it’s more of a secondary issue. App stores are fairly new and more a secondary choice. It’s only a piece of the equation.

“I think Apple’s done a really great job of educating people of what’s available in terms of applications, but they also say ‘We have the most on our phone, so come with us,'” he said. “I don’t think consumers have enough experience to say ‘I’m going to buy this phone because this app store is better than the other one.’”

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Chirs Harnick is editorial assistant on Mobile Commerce Daily and Mobile Marketer. Reach him at

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