The Wholesale Applications Community today announced nine more companies joining its initiative to build applications that will work across multiple devices and multiple operators, with Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC), Sharp and Russian operator Vimpelcom among the new group. The GSMA’s OneAPI was also confirmed as the standard of choice for the group’s network APIs. But still no news about actual apps, or when we might be seeing them.
The group, which was founded in February this year in a bid to produce mobile apps that compete against the more established app operations on Android and Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) devices, now has 57 members, including some of the world’s biggest mobile operators like AT&T (NYSE: T), France Telecom (NYSE: FTE), Telefonica (NYSE: TEF), Verizon and Vodafone (NYSE: VOD), as well as some of the bigger handset makers, including Samsung and LG (SEO: 066570). Notably absent are the likes of Nokia (NYSE: NOK) and HTC, however.
If building a cross-operator, multiple-device app store sounds like an impossible task, you are probably on the same page as the WAC itself. The group is embracing the HTML5 model and looking to deploy the apps on a web-based framework, using OneAPI to support this.
In a release, the WAC describes GSMA’s OneAPI as “a commonly supported set of lightweight and Web-friendly APIs to allow mobile and other network operators to expose useful network information and capabilities to Web application developers. It is designed to reduce the effort and time needed to create applications and content that are portable across mobile operators and is critical in enabling WAC developers to quickly and effectively develop web-based applications that span platforms, devices and operators.” In other words, the kind of interoperability that probably should have been initiated in the earliest days of the mobile web.
The fact that these APIs were only announced today points to just how development-stage the project still seems to be, and there are still some questions unanswered: for example, if HTC or Nokia choose never to join the WAC, will the apps still work on their devices?
In addition to Sharp, Sony Ericsson and Vimpelcom, other new members include Aepona, Camber Tech Inc (BVI) Limited, GClue, Gemalto, Infraware and KT Innotz.