Horizon: Symbian Directory In, App Store Out
The nice thing about being agile is that, depending on how circumstances roll out, you have the flexibility to change your mind. That's the case with the Symbian Foundation, anyway.
For instance, when the Foundation was formed in mid 2008, one of the cornerstones was to be a Symbian developer app store, along the lines of Apple's App Store, Nokia's Ovi Store, and the like. What a difference a year can make.
As Symbian Executive Director Lee Williams said in a welcoming keynote at the Symbian Exchange and Exposition, "the world doesn't need another app store for developer products."
Instead, the Foundation will be focusing on Symbian Horizon an application-publishing program designed to reduce barriers to delivering applications on the Symbian platform. Horizon will provide a service that lets developers write an application once, and publish in dozens of stores worldwide. Secondarily, Horizon is a directory of Symbian signed applications that will let developers display and advertise their applications. It will allow users to discover apps and find out which store they are available from by browsing the directory for all apps for their phone, or for specifc app categories cross phones.
"Think of Horizon as the 'yellow pages' for S60 applications," explains Symbian's Daniel Lee. "Unlike app stores, Horizon will point users to applications across many app stores." A total of seven stores support Symbian Horizon. In addition to the initial stores announced, Ovi Store by Nokia, Samsung Applications Store and AT&T's MEdia Mall, four new stores are now participating; China Mobile, Handango, Orange, and Sony Ericsson's Playnow.
From Symbian Horizon, users can find apps specific to their phone, developed by their favorite developer, or browse through them all.
Horizon also provides services to help developers to get the most out of the program, including assistance with application certification, technical development issues, language translation, application publishing to third-party stores, and co-marketing opportunities.