Back when Vodafone 360 was announced, I sat on a teleconference with a load of other media people listening to various Vodafone executives describing the concept of 360 and their JIL efforts. They explained that the 360 store would be accessible from not only their 360-branded devices, but from an array of platforms. I did try and ask a question about this at the end of the teleconference however the media relations team studiously avoided me and gave the floor to the bored, tired and couldn’t-give-a-toss mainstream media who proceed to ask pedestrian rubbish about Vodafone’s share price. That’s mainstream media for you, eh? I don’t blame the media relations chaps either. I’d go for ‘brand’ too. Now the answer to my question 6-months ago has been revealed. How are Vodafone ensuring the 360 suite of services, in particular the 360 app store, is easily accessible from their Android range of handsets? Simple. They’re putting a store on Android. Right on the home screen so you can’t miss it. Nice. The store will, of course, support carrier billing, so anything you buy will just be billed to your Vodafone account. I am thus about a billion times more likely to use the 360 Android store to buy stuff rather than messing around with my Google Android Market account. What’s the gossip? Well, I have pasted the full announcement below as I know that’s going to be very relevant for developers. If you haven’t yet given Vodafone 360 a glance, perhaps it’s time to do so. And if you’ve already got a native Android app that’ll work on the HTC Wildfire or X10 Mini, you might as well stick it on the 360 store too — there will be a lot of inquisitive consumers having a peer through the store soon.
Vodafone today announced that it is to extend the reach of the Vodafone 360 services with the launch of a 360 Shop for Android. The announcement highlights Vodafone’s commitment to bringing the 360 Shop to popular, market-leading handsets and, in so doing, offering developers a highly attractive native or cross-platform proposition.The 360 Shop on Android has been designed specifically to ensure that customers can easily search for and browse the applications most suited to their needs and interests. This is achieved through a sophisticated personalised recommendations tool and dynamically changing promotional areas such as best rated, top downloads, categories and filtered lists. Feature content promotions will be run by local market editorial experts to further showcase locally relevant apps. All paid-for content is charged to the customer through operator billing, with funds regularly transferred into the developer’s bank account, making it simple for developers to keep track of revenue. Through the 360 Shop on Android, Vodafone is giving apps developers the ability to publish either JIL or native Android apps in the 360 Shop. Developers can also take advantage of existing Vodafone features such as clear pricing, a transparent review process and in-depth reporting. “Developers want to know that their app will be seen by consumers, and the 360 Shop on Android has been designed to maximise opportunities for content promotion,” said Lee Epting, Director of Content Services at Vodafone Group. “Initial data is showing that up to a third of the catalogue gets exposed in a single day. This is a market-leading approach which will allow both customers and developers to get great value out of the 360 Shop.” Tailored for the Android operating system and directly accessible from the handset home screen, the 360 Shop on Android will launch this summer on the HTC Wildfire and Sony Ericsson Xperia X10 Mini Pro. The 360 Shop is a single destination for all digital content, integrating music, video, ringtones and apps, ensuring it will continue to serve the millions of existing Vodafone live! customers. Furthermore, the handsets will come with 360 Music services embedded and Vodafone People soon available as a download. To date, over 8,500 apps have been published to the 360 Shop. Eight European markets range over 100 different handsets capable of accessing the Vodafone 360 services. With further handsets due to launch throughout the year with the 360 Shop pre-loaded, Vodafone 360 will continue to provide the developer community with greater access to more customers. For further information about developing for the 360 Shop, including for Android, go to: http://developer.vodafone.com