Verizon Wireless reaching out to application creators

July conference will offer guidelines for software makers who want their products used on company’s mobile devices.On July 28, Verizon Wireless will host a conference in San Jose, Calif., to help would-be designers create software for use on the company’s wireless network. The wireless service provider, based in the Basking Ridge section of Bernards, hosted an event last March for third-party device makers to share parameters and guidelines for working with Verizon Wireless.

According to Jeffrey Nelson, executive director of corporate communications for Verizon Wireless, the next conference is aimed at giving the makers of software applications an overview of the company’s open-development program.

“This is our first foray into the applications development community,” Nelson said. “This is a pretty big deal for us.” He said he expects household names as well us as homegrown developers among the attendees. “We are looking for developers from all sizes and shapes,” he said.

Nelson said Verizon Wireless will provide guidance and specifications to the gathered software developers to develop a wide array of applications, from games, to music, to location-based services. The San Jose venue will put the conference in the midst of a high concentration of software developers in Silicon Valley. Registration is free for qualified developers, and Nelson said the conference also will be transmitted live over the Web. More details on the conference can be found at www.vdc2009.com.

Robert Rosenberg, chief executive of The Insight Research Corp., in Boonton, said applications are key ingredient to making wireless networks and mobile devices attractive. “It’s not the device. It’s about the applications that reside on the device,” he said. Insight Research is a telecom market research firm.

Mobile communication devices increasingly use and transmit data, making software development key to winning customers. Rosenberg said smartphones makers such as Nokia and Apple are leveraging the application functions of their devices.

“The value of smartphones would be measured in the nature of the applications that are available, not on the voice capability,” Rosenberg said.

However, he said, network providers may attempt to continue a walled garden approach, where the applications must first be certified for use. In a totally open environment, applications will be portable and interchangeable from service to service.

“Your tether to the network provider is loose in that regard,” Rosenberg said. “If you can take your applications from one phone to another, from one provider to another, you really don’t care.”

If applications become the priority in consumer choice, network providers may see the landscape change yet again. “The network will be a bit pipe,” Rosenberg said. “The role of the provider who certifies the applications available to customers will be a business model of the past. The carriers’ ability to maintain exclusivity will be loosened.”

E-mail to jpruth@njbiz.com

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