Report: Verizon in talks to launch its own app store

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Verizon, not content with being the biggest U.S. wireless carrier, also wants to jump into the app store game by offering a competitor to Google Play.

A report from The Information says Verizon is having conversations with hardware manufacturers about developing its own application storefront, though they have not developed into any specific plans. The concept is that Verizon would create a “different kind of app store,” allowing developers to tap into Verizon data to power app recommendations.

The store would proactively suggest apps to users based on time of day, location, and what apps friends are using. Verizon has also floated the idea of letting developers advertise in its store, something not available in Google Play or the Amazon Appstore.

While similar app recommendation ideas have been floated around before, it is difficult to see how this would benefit consumers. Customers of Verizon and other carriers already have an extensive choice of apps from the Google Play Store, which continues to narrow the revenue gap with Apple’s App Store.

If that isn't enough choice, the Amazon Appstore works on just about any Android device and gives away a paid apps for free every day. While Amazon has aggressively sought to grow its own store, which also runs on its Fire devices, it still does not offer the same depth of selection as Google Play.

This also would introduce another layer of fragmentation, something that Android certainly does not need, as developers would need to build software for carrier-specific versions of devices. They already must contend with whether or not to build their app for two ecosystems - iOS and Android - and decide to offer it through Amazon as well.

Additionally, carriers already preinstall some applications, sometimes derided as "bloatware," that can not be uninstalled from a device. Should Verizon launch its own app storefront it could open the door even wider for companies or software developers who want to have their apps permanently installed or otherwise prominently featured, adding further noise to your smartphone experience. 

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