At Mobile World Congress in February, one of the prevalent topics was application storefronts for the mobile phone. Apple (NSDQ: AAPL) wasn’t in attendance, but there was plenty of talk about mimicking its iTunes strategy. A month later, we are finding that the red-hot subject hasn’t cooled one bit. At CTIA Wireless 2009, which kicks off next Tuesday, the subject will once again dominate. The keystone event will likely be the launch of Research In Motion’s BlackBerry Application World, which expected to take place on April 1 when RIM’s president and Co-CEO Mike Lazaridis keynotes.
Although RIM (NSDQ: RIMM) has not confirmed that it will be launching the store, we’ve heard from companies that anticipate being featured in BlackBerry Application World store that their products will be available in the storefront next week after the service launches. BusinessWeek also reported that it also expects this to be the likely venue for the launch.
As for other application stores, there likely won’t be much news at the show. The one possibility is Sony (NYSE: SNE) Ericsson (NSDQ: ERIC). At Mobile World Congress, it unveiled its “Entertainment Unlimited” strategy, which will most likely rolled up into an application storefront of some kind. Otherwise, the roadmaps of most other players are fairly settled. After unveiling its Ovi Store last month, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) said it will start being pushed out to phones in May and June. Microsoft (NSDQ: MSFT) will launch its marketplace later this year when Windows Mobile 6.5 devices start to ship. And, two weeks ago, Apple announced a slew of upgrades to the App Store, which will launch this summer when it upgrades the phone’s software to version 3.0.