Orange has launched an app store and a Beta version of a contact aggregator service for its customers.
The app store, App Shop, will launch in three weeks and will initially be available on the Sony Ericsson W995, Yari U100i (France only), C905, C510, W595, W910i, Nokia 6303 and Nokia 6700. Orange claimed the service would initially reach one million customers in France and the UK.
In January, the Nokia 6700, Sony Ericsson W995 and the Sony Ericsson Yari U100i (France only) will be preloaded with the App Shop. Later next year, the app store will also be preinstalled on a range of Samsung, LG, HTC and BlackBerry devices.
At launch, the App Shop will offer 2,000 games and applications and 3,000 screen savers, wallpapers and ringtones.
Customers will pay for the applications through their monthly mobile bill.
Later next year, the App Shop will be available in other markets including Spain, Poland, Romania, Switzerland, Slovakia, Belgium, Austria, Moldova and Portugal with local content.
Orange head of application shop Dominic Lobo said the unique selling point of the App Shop is that all applications will be compatible with different operating systems.
“We will be working with some developers to have exclusive content made available for our customers, but the main point of different for us is that the applications are available to any of our customers using a range of different operating systems.
“The App Shop has been available as a portal for some time now, but we wanted to make the experience more convenient for our customers by embedding it onto the mobile.
“The users are our customers, we know who they are. This will mean billing will be easy and paid direct through their bill.”
Orange Technocentre executive vice president Yves Tyrode added: “We are giving customers a tailor-made shop window on the mobile that makes it easier to discover, download, use and manage content. Whether it’s a Smartphone user, or someone using a simpler device, we know the demand for content is there – it’s just about getting that experience right.”
Orange’s ON service is currently in Beta form, and is being trialled by over one hundred testers. The service combines contact details and lists individual contacts with their social networking profiles, email addresses, instant messaging and mobile phone number.
Customers can also update their mobile’s status. If busy, the incoming caller receives a text message or is diverted to voicemail.
Customers can group contacts to enable some calls to go through and others to be diverted.
Orange head of ON Giles Corbett said: “Content and the way people interact with each other is a core part of Orange.
“We started this project 18 months ago because we wanted to improve the way people communicate.”
The Beta application can be downloaded on Android devices and will extend to other devices next year.