The world’s biggest handset vendor, Nokia, is the latest gadget maker to jump on the app store bandwagon, announcing plans to open its own marketplace in May.

Billed as an extension of its mobile services platform, the Ovi Store will allow content providers and developers to upload their own applications and sell their wares to Nokia using consumers and enterprises.

The Ovi Store will consolidate the vendor’s current content services, including Download!, MOSH and WidSets to a single channel. Available content will range from applications, games and videos to widgets, podcasts, location-based applications and personalisation content for Nokia Series 40 and S60 devices.

The Nokia N97, available in June, will be the first device to include the storefront preinstalled, with tens of millions of existing Nokia Series 40 and S60 users able to use new service starting in early May.

The vendor did not gives details of the revenue sharing agreement developers are likely to encounter in order to sell their apps, but Nokia did say that when the Ovi Store opens in May, it will also offer content providers and developers dashboard reporting to monitor how well their content is selling on the Ovi Store through

At Mobile World Congress mobile application marketplaces are all the rage and speculation is mounting that Microsoft is preparing to introduce a similar service too. In what appears to be a slip up, US software firm Microsoft published the holding page for its My Phone web service.

According to the site, Microsoft My Phone syncs information between a user’s Windows mobile phone and the web, paving the way for backup services, photo publishing and social networking tools.

Apple kick started the trend with its own successful App Store and the Open Handset Alliance (OHA) recently introduced Android Market for Android, while BlackBerry maker Research In Motion (RIM) is known to be working on its own Applications Storefront, and Samsung has its Mobile Applications platform.