iPhone application store opens its doors

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Apple has officially launched the iPhone applications store.

The online store is the first effort by Apple to promote third-party applications which run natively on the iPhone and iPod Touch, a move it had originally opposed.

The company has already made 500 applications available to users by way of iTunes and the iPhone 2.0 software upgrade. The update foreshadows the release of the iPhone 3G, which is set to go on sale tomorrow.

Companies who are already offering iPhone applications include Facebook, Flickr, Cisco and eBay.

Google is offering a search application that scours both the user's iPhone and the web and can offer map information based on the user's location. Game vendor Electronic Arts is already offering Sudoku, Tetris and Scrabble games for the handset.

In addition to being the first native applications, the first round of iPhone app store offerings are also the first to be developed with Apple's iPhone SDK.

Tim Westergren, founder and chief strategy officer for music service Pandora, told vnunet.com that the development experience for the iPhone was more like a desktop app than a mobile phone application.

The company developed a stand-alone player for the device which taps into a user's online Pandora account and syncs stations and song preferences from the service. Westergren said that the iPhone player was such a success, elements of it will be used for the next web-based Pandora player.

"The nice thing about it is, it has all these tools," Westergren said of the SDK.

"It allows us to do a great application."
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