Opera is launching a designated, web-based mobile app store today, called the Opera Mobile Store. The store will be a featured Speed Dial link in the Opera Mini and Opera Mobile browsers.
The Opera Mobile Store is actually powered by Appia (formerly PocketGear), which recently shifted its business model to providing white label mobile app stores for providers. For now, Opera will offers both free and paid applications for a variety of mobile platforms and devices, including Java, Symbian, BlackBerry and Android operating systems .
The storefront experience is customized to each user’s device, providing a tailored catalog based on the phone’s OS, local language and currency. Opera Software has also launched the Opera Publisher Portal, which allows developers to submit apps to the mobile storefront.
Opera says that in its pre-launch state, the Opera Mobile Store attracted more than 15 million users in February from 200 countries, achieving more than 700,000 downloads per day. Clearly this is a big win for Appia, which now powers app stores for world’s top five handset manufacturers (Samsung, T-Mobile, AT&T, and Verizon Wireless) as well as Opera.
Opera’s iPhone app and mobile browser continues to grow in terms of usage, especially outside of the U.S. It makes sense for Opera to offer a mobile app store for its browser but I’m curious to see how much traction the store will get with the proliferation of app stores nowadays.