Feature phones, which are less expensive and full-featured than smartphones such as Android and BlackBerry handsets, are about half the phones Sprint sells today and are making up a growing share, Brocket said.
Sprint also aims to add carrier billing for application purchases on all storefronts, including the Android, Windows Mobile, Palm and BlackBerry app stores.
This app store strategy will span all of Sprint's business units, including Nextel, Boost Mobile and its emerging WiMax network, Brocket said. On some networks, such as WiMax, it may be even more open, he said.
Some developers at the conference said they were already working in the iPhone arena and were exploring Sprint's various platforms for expansion.
Vinh Ton, director of product development at Vergence Entertainment, was encouraged by Sprint's goal of one-week application approval. Vergence is developing a casual game for the iPhone and also considering other mobile OSes. In addition to a quick path to market, Ton would like to see more ways of making an application stand out than a straight app-store popularity ranking by user ratings. Brocket's reference to marketing opportunities was encouraging, he said.
Another limitation of the mobile world is that it's hard for an application provider to get information from the carrier about the consumers who buy their products, Ton said. This type of information is a key tool in fine-tuning products and marketing for Web-based and desktop games, he said.
Sprint's story was not very promising on this point: Asked about this capability during his presentation, Brocket said Sprint may provide information about consumer preferences based on ratings or handset types but not demographic information, citing subscriber privacy.
"I don't think sharing full information about customers is something that we're going to be opening up any time soon, if ever," Brocket said.
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