Wednesday, October 7, 2009

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Are Apps the Answer for Verizon?

Despite being known for its great 3G and voice coverage, Verizon has struggled lately compared to AT&T with its phone selection and applications. has looked into why the smartphones aren't there, but they also mentioned something briefly that's equally as intriguing.

When Verizon launched the LG enV Touch, the phone I currently use, they repeatedly claimed that it was "app friendly." Great, what apps? All I see everyday are things like the Guitar Tuner and a WeatherBug app I have to pay $3 a month for! The ridiculously small selection makes Verizon's recent price increases for data plans even more infuriating for the consumer. Luckily for me, I locked into my $15 unlimited date VCast plan before they eliminated the option with the launch of the highly touted Samsung Rogue.

One reason for the price increase, however, may be the looming launch of Verizon's App Store this holiday season. Verizon would like to avoid the same network troubles that AT&T's been having with Apple's iPhone, and increasing the prices, as well as placing caps on data may be their way of avoiding it. The App Store is supposed to drastically lower any fees that developers have normally had to pay in order to get their applications on the Verizon network, hence the monthly subscription fees. Also, everyone knows that Java's been a bit easier to develop for than Verizon's BREW, and rumors have it that Verizon may be switching to Java as a result.

The new data caps may take away from the potential for Verizon to make its own footprint in the mobile apps sand, but the removal of subscription fees could push the pendulum in the other direction. Applications for Twitter, which was apparently just released using BREW, but with a subscription fee, Facebook, and Gmail would be great for Verizon feature phones. But hey, you could always just go all-out and pay $30 a month for data on a new Verizon Google Android smartphone, right?

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