Ina Fried

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Verizon to Shutter Its App Store in January

Verizon Wireless said on Monday that it plans to shut down its own branded app store as of January.

Verizon set up the marketplace as Vcast Apps in March 2010, aiming to serve as an alternative spot for customers to get BlackBerry and Android apps.

However, the times, they are a-changin’, Verizon acknowledged. In January, the company will begin the process of removing its store, now known as Verizon Apps, from customer devices.

“We anticipate completing this process by March 27, 2013,” Verizon said in a blog post.

With the world shifting toward smartphones, and with each operating system having its own marketplace, the move isn’t exactly a shocker. Indeed, Verizon says nearly all the apps in its store are available from other marketplaces.

However, the major carriers have also been trying to get developers to do work tailored to their own networks.

Verizon has “innovation centers” in Massachusetts and San Francisco, while AT&T has various “foundries” that focus on this; several international carriers have also set up shop in the Bay Area in an effort to compete for developer attention.

Increasingly, this work centers on various programming interfaces or “hooks” into the network to take advantage of things such as location services, billing or other network-specific features.

Verizon had tried a revamp of its store last year, partnering with Chomp, though that company was later acquired by Apple.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus