Too many apps on the market today? Looks like we may be seeing a lot more soon. On the heels of reports that Yahoo is planning to launch a new personalization platform next week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, two other new mobile app initiatives are launching that point to big brands increasingly looking to capitalise on the smartphone app explosion: the web apps giant Conduit is launching a new mobile publishing portal; and the talent agency CAA and Qualcomm (NSDQ: QCOM) are backing a new mobile app factory.
Conduit, which has built a business developing web apps and widgets for websites, is now launching a new mobile service that lets publishers build apps that can be deployed across different devices running iPhone, Android, Blackberry, Windows and Nokia (NYSE: NOK) platforms — tackling the fragmentation that we are already seeing in the mobile marketplace today. In addition to being able to create and publish apps, users are able to use the platform’s tools to promote the app, manage updates and analyse how it gets used.
This is not the first time a developer has tried to capitalise on fragmentation in the market by offering a “build once, deploy everywhere” solution — appMobi is a recent one that picked up $6 million in funding.
But what Conduit does potentially have to its advantage is that it has a sizeable user base from which to start its business: it claims that “260,000 publishers & 230 million end users” are already using its web apps, toolbars and widgets. Given that smartphone penetration is still only at 50 percent in the U.S. alone, and much lower in other markets, there is still a lot of opportunity.
Conduit says that it will formally launch the service next week during MWC in Barcelona.
— Meanwhile, Qualcomm’s mobile services incubator Qualcomm Services Labs and the megawatt talent agency Creative Artists Agency are backing a new content enterprise that looks to link up talent represented by CAA with mobile developers, to develop a new wave of mobile entertainment apps.
The idea, it seems, is to use mobile to create new franchises, as well as use the platform to experiment with new characters that can be developed for other screens eventually, too.
Looking to “professional” talent already on CAA’s books does sound encouraging, but even so, mobile-first entertainment has had some definite ups and downs: At best, the Labs will build on the success of mobile-first entertainment brands like Angry Birds. At worst, more mediocre mobisodes that no one cares about, much less watches.