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Vodafone cheers on developers with 360 vision

Facebook is building its talent pool ahead of its imminent IPO

Vodafone 360, the UK operator’s social media interface and aggregation platform is making some headway. The UK firm said Tuesday that more than 7,000 apps have been made available to customers across eight European markets in the three months since the service launched.

By March 2010 the operator also expects to have shipped two million Vodafone 360 capable handsets, with the platform featured on some 50 different handsets.

Vodafone 360 features a specially designed user interface using Vodafone’s ‘proximity algorithm’ (it brings the most frequently contacted to the front of the list), which was built and designed on the LiMo Foundation’s Linux platform. The native functionality of 360 will focus on content aggregation – bringing together all contacts and content in one place and allowing customers access to different networking sites including Facebook, Windows Live Messenger and Google Talk. Users can also create different contact groups across social networks, so as to share different information with different groups of people.

To keep up momentum with the developer community, Vodafone will hold its first 360 Developer Conference at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on February 15, 2010. The conference will feature interactive discussions on developer topics, providing tips on how to create and publish apps across Vodafone 360 devices, with developers given the opportunity to audition their apps and be rewarded with prizes.

With its 360 strategy, the carrier is looking to avoid becoming a bit pipe provider by tapping into what it hopes will prove a lucrative value added service and application revenue stream by acting as the gatekeeper. But it has been questioned as to how this strategy, first pioneered by former CEO Arun Sarin around own-branded handsets, will sit with those giving the power to third parties, such as Vodafone UK’s recent launch of the iPhone.

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3 comments

  1. iPad Developer 02/02/2010 @ 2:44 pm

    A nice play by a bit pipe provider, trying to be more…
    Voda – you’re a pipe – get over it and concentrate on being a good pipe!

  2. Vanessa Daly 03/02/2010 @ 1:37 pm

    Interesting numbers from Vodafone, and encouraging news that more handsets will be supported by March this year. But we have to wait and see if yet another app store helps move more developers into the mobile marketplace. In fact Bango has done a survey amongst developers and found that 45% want to monetize their apps directly, the full results can be found here http://wp.me/pd71o-gY

    • TelcoBoy 04/02/2010 @ 1:16 am

      The Bango survey is interesting but would love to know how the questions were asked, i.e. if you ask someone if they would like more money the answer is going to be obvious!

      Basically the App Stores are like Walmart / Tesco etc. And (as well documented) small produce providers would love to keep more margin for themselves but simply need the distribution reach of the supermarkets to give them any scale.

      Perhaps we will see co-ops of independent mobile app developers come together to give greater distribution scale without need for app stores or to get better pricing with the app stores

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