Third-party app stores for Android aren’t doing so well in the U.S. and Europe. Manufacturers and carriers are closing their own app stores, and those that remain open are increasingly coming under fire as being sources of malware. Finnish startup Blaast is hoping that it will find better luck in Asia.
Blaast, which was founded in 2010, is focusing on building a platform that will allow carriers to sell data plans that include free access to apps. While Blaast could have targeted a more multi-platform solution, they’re putting all their chips on Android.
While Android is doing well worldwide, it is absolutely exploding in emerging markets, thanks to the availability of sub-$200 handsets. CEO of Blast, Joonas Hjelt told Reuters that “Android is going to own over 75 percent of smartphone sales in emerging markets.”
This is the exact market that Blaast is targeting. Carriers in Malaysia and Bangladesh have already launched Blaast on some phones, and the Blaast Android store will launch in Indonesia and the Sony Xperia J.
In addition to being useful for carriers wanting to offer bundled apps, this could be a boon to manufacturers who are unable to obtain Google certification and therefore can’t include the Google Play Store on their handsets.
Do you think this is a good thing or a bad thing for Android as a whole? On one hand, it introduces more of the dreaded “fragmentation,” but on the other hand, it offers users in emerging markets access to more apps. Where do you stand?