Add another name to the list of companies following Apple’s lead with the iPhone App Store and launching their own online marketplace for smartphone programs: today, South Korea’s Samsung announced it will be launching its own online marketplace for smartphone applications in Europe on September 14. Initially, applications will be offered for the company’s Omnia smartphones; Samsung said it expects to have 300 applications available at launch, and believes the number of apps will climb to more than 2,000 by the end of the calendar year.
The store will launch on September 14 in France, Italy, and the United Kingdom, and Samsung will be showing it off at the IFA trade show in Berlin later this week. Users will be able to tap into the store via cellular data networks or via Wi-Fi connectivity.
Samsung plans to launch the service in more than 30 additional European countries in the next several months; the company says it is also working on application stores for Asian and North American markets, but offered no time table. The move should help Samsung keep up with other smartphone platforms, which offer users increased flexibility through third-party applications; the real question is how many developers and worthwhile applications Samsung will be able to attract to its Omnia phones.
Samsung joins a large number of companies hoping to cash in on the smartphone application bandwagon: after Apple ignited the category with its iPhone 2.0 software, companies like Microsoft, RIM, Google, Palm, and Nokia have all scrambled to open their own application stores, both to increase the appeal of their smartphone platforms and create new revenue streams.