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Opera plans to provide subscription based, differentially priced app store globally


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Norwegian browser company Opera has launched Opera Apps Club globally, a subscription service that allows users download unlimited curated set of apps, reports Mobile World Live. The report mentions that Opera initially tied up with Idea as its first partner, however post the TRAI ruling against differential pricing, Idea has backed out.

As of now, the Opera Apps club has carrier billing partnerships with various carriers and tie ups with hardware manufacturers to preload the storefront on smartphones. Interestingly, Opera mentions that no mobile data plan is required to download apps from the store, signifying that the storefront will be available only through carrier tie-ups in countries that allow differential pricing. Given this, we don’t expect the app to be available in India anytime soon.

As an alternative for entering markets like India, Opera can tie-up with OEMs to offer the storefront as default on phones, with a free month or two to get consumers used to the idea of using a paid app. Carrier billing will be useful as well, if the company can convince telecom operators to offer this feature. As of now, the store claims to list the most popular apps in each category from Google Play.

Opera Mobile Store: Opera also operates a mobile store, which lists free and paid apps for Android, Blackberry, iOS, HTML5, Java, Symbian, Windows Phone and Windows Mobile. Interestingly, in the first half of last year, Microsoft shut down Nokia Store and migrated users to the Opera Mobile Store. Apps for phones, including those running on Series 40, Series 60, Asha, Symbian and Nokia X platforms would be made available through this store.

Amazon’s underground store: In August last year, Amazon launched Amazon Underground, a a shopping app on Android that doubles up as an app store. The store offers various paid games and apps from Google Play as free apps on its platform, as well as options to shop for items on Amazon. The company pays developers on a ‘per minute of app usage’ basis in exchange for waiving the normal in-app fees.

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Micromax Indic store: In May, Micromax tied-up with Mumbai-based MoFirst Solutions to offer translation and transliteration services with messaging on its phones and also provide access to about 10,000 local language apps available on MoFirst’s App Bazaar. MoFirst’s website mentions that App Bazaar has over 5000 Indic apps and content. App Bazaar currently features frequently used apps such as Skype, among others, in 10 Indian languages.

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