Samsung is expected to announce a new mobile application store at Mobile World Congress on Feb. 16, which will be wider in scope compared to the storefront Samsung launched in the UK market late last month, a spokesman confirmed today. On Jan. 29, Samsung launched an online store in the UK that sells applications for phones using the Symbian and Windows Mobile operating system. The announcement in Barcelona is expected to involve the U.S. market and encompass more operating systems. Samsung is clearly trying to follow in the footsteps of Apple (NSDQ: AAPL), which has been very successful with the iPhone App store. Besides Samsung, many other copycats are in the works, as well, including RIM’s Blackberry Application Center; Microsoft’s SkyMarket, which is also expected to launch at Mobile World Congress; and Nokia’s Ovi approach.
Samsung’s store is expected to be similar to the App store in that the phone’s portal is expected to reach millions of handsets and provide an over-the-air way for mobile users to browse, purchase, download, and install applications, InformationWeek reported. Many of the details are unknown, such as how the payments are handled or how much Samsung will share with developers or even the carriers. It will be interesting to see how Samsung and other handset makers compete against Apple and the carriers, who are arguably much more in tune with the retail space.