The Symbian Foundation is wading further into the mobile app industry, with a new service called Symbian Horizon. Horizon will be both a distribution platform for apps, and a consultation/development assistant. The overall aim is to make distribution to all mobile devices easier, and to make it a lot cheaper to get an app onto Symbian devices.
So how does this work?
Basically, Horizon is there to help sell apps. The philosophy behind it is that the easier it is to develop and sell apps, the more apps will get sold. And that ‘s better for everyone, including Symbian. It’s the ultimate result of the “Application Warehouse” model that Symbian announced in April – where numerous application stores can all access a huge pool of apps maintained by Symbian. Horizon won’t sell apps itself, but it will take a big role in licensing apps out to App Stores. Symbian says that while the developers will still retain the rights to their product, it will have to get “fairly broad licenses” in order to promote and sell it properly.
What help does Horizon provide?
Symbian will be providing technical assistance to developers in order to make apps for Horizon. Once you get an app on Horizon, it is automatically viable for multiple app stores. At the moment, Symbian has preliminary deals with Nokia’s Ovi Store, the Samsung App Store and AT&T Media Mall. There are 7 more stores in talks with Symbian, but none more have signed on yet.
How much does that cost?
Nothing, for the time being. Symbian claims that getting technical assistance and getting on to Horizon will always be free for developers. However as the platform develops Symbian might offer benefits to those willing to pay.
The service should be launched in October.
From the Symbian blog:
“Symbian Horizon is an application publishing platform modeled after book publishers. The purpose of the platform is to simplify the process for developers to publish applications to the dozens of the existing Symbian app stores. Horizon services will include assistance with application certification, technical development issues, language translation, application publishing to third party stores, and co-marketing opportunities.”
What we think?
Symbian may have announced their warehouse idea a long time ago, but this most recent announcement is pretty late. There are a lot of services out now that promise to get your app onto multiple platforms and store. Sure having Ovi on board is great, but considering the number of S60 devices there are, Nokia was a guaranteed partner. Having a manufacturer- and an operator-specific app store on board isn’t good enough yet. I do like the service Symbian is offering, but it will get more exciting when (or if) Symbian gets a bigger selection of better partners on board.