Just last week, I wrote that despite little direct revenue, app stores are critical for telecoms’ success in reducing churn and selling more data.
AT&T seems to agree. Already, the company is tied into the most prominent application store with Apple’s iTunes, but it’s a partnership that leaves AT&T with none of the application revenues and little control.
As MediaPost reports, however, AT&T is getting more proactive serving applications to their millions of non-iPhone using customers. The telecom recently announced it is opening up an “Apps Beta” section on its Media Mall store, which will let developers trial their applications — free of charge — to early adopter customers, who can then provide ratings and feedback to the developers.
It sounds like a win-win: Users get free sneak previews at exciting applications, developers get free user testing, and AT&T gets a PR boost of its own store front (and more developer interest, possibly) just as RIM opens up its own app store. RIM’s store, will not directly compete against AT&T (AT&T’s BlackBerry phones will also be able to access it), it raises the visibility and demand of user-downloadable applications a bit more.