App discovery outfit Xyo recently signed a deal with Deutsche Telekom and T-Mobile U.S., but now Android users on other networks can also try out its technology – on Wednesday, Xyo, released its first mobile app.
This isn’t a straight-up Play Store rival, as it just steers users to that store when they choose to download an app (Google’s controversial non-compete clause forbids any alternative), but what it does do is help users find new apps that they’d probably not find through monolithic “games” and “productivity” channels. This has been Xyo’s business for a long time, previously through a desktop service, and the firm takes a fine-grained approach, boasting around 800 app categories and 200 games categories.
The advantage of this approach is that it lends itself to an app-browsing experience, relying on touch-based navigation through subcategories rather than search queries:
“On a smaller device, fewer people type, and if they type it’s stupid queries,” Xyo co-founder Matthäus Krzykowski told me. What’s more, he said the app would launch this year on an unspecified smartwatch – with that size screen, typing really is a no-go.
Xyo’s app is out now in English and in Japanese. Indeed, the company is pushing hard into Asia because, as Krzykowski explained, that’s where a lot of its potential carrier and device manufacturer partners are located.
In other words, while direct consumer use of Xyo’s own-branded app will no doubt help it feed its algorithms, the app is also a showcase for those potential partners — all of whom want a slice of those lovely revenues that currently flow in Google’s direction. And those partnerships, for Xyo, are where the money’s at.