Home › Newsroom › Smart launches “Borderless” Pinoy Apps
[Mobile World Congress, Barcelona, 27 Feb 2012] – Philippine mobile phone leader Smart Communications (Smart) unveiled Monday at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain three new home-grown smartphone applications that it said demonstrated the opportunity for Filipino developers to penetrate the global market.
These applications can be used on a variety of mobile devices using different operating systems in countries all over the world because these comply with the specifications of a unified and open platform developed by the Wholesale Applications Community (WAC), an organization composed of many of the world’s largest cellular operators. Smart is the only WAC member-operator in the Philippines.
One of these applications is a playful program called “Shoephoric”. Developed by Shoephoric.com, this app enables “shoe lovers” who are mobile phone subscribers of WAC members overseas – say, AT&T in the United States or NTT DoCoMo in Japan – to send small amounts of airtime load to Smart cellular subscribers in the Philippines in order to help them purchase their “dream shoes”.
Another is called “iCare”, which was developed by Oks Pinoy. This service enables mobile phone subscribers in Europe or North America for example to donate funds to non-profit organizations such as the Philippine Red Cross or the WWF using their phones. The donations are charged to their monthly bills.
“These services are very global and very Pinoy at the same time,” said Orlando B. Vea, Smart’s Chief Wireless Adviser.
“Because they are WAC-compliant, they show how Pinoy developers can reach the millions of Filipinos living overseas who use the mobile phone services of WAC member operators,” he added.
Now available in the Android Market, both Shoephoric and iCare feature the same over-the-air transfer service for cash or airtime load that is already very familiar to the vast majority of cell phone users in the Philippines who purchase prepaid airtime from retailers who transfer the loads phone to phone.
The big difference is that, in these two new services, the transfer of airtime or cash is being done between networks in different countries – something that was not possible before.
The breakthrough came in October 2011, when Smart subsidiary Chikka launched its “Chikka TopApp,” the world’s first “Global Pasaload” application.
This app enabled mobile phones users abroad to transfer airtime loads to Smart prepaid subscribers in the Philippines and have these amounts deducted from their own prepaid airtime or charged to their monthly bills.
To encourage developers to create WAC apps, Smart has set up a developers’ support network. Initially, the focus of its efforts is on developing Android apps that are WAC-compliant. So far, some 15 developers have registered in the network and Smart expects to sign up more in the coming months.
The natural initial customers for such WAC apps are overseas Filipinos who use the mobile phone services in their host countries.
“Filipinos abroad send funds back to their families and friends at home for all sorts of uses like household expenses, education, health expenses, including airtime loads. These new services offer them the convenience of sending funds directly from their phones,” Vea said.
The overseas Filipino community offers a good entry point for Filipino apps developers trying to break into the international market.
“There are anywhere from 8 to 10 million Filipinos living abroad, depending on whose count you use. That is a nice base to start with and gain experience and exposure in markets overseas,” said Vea.
Moreover, the WAC platform enables Filipino developers to charge and actually be paid for these apps.
“If an AT&T subscriber buys his or her app, the Filipino developer will get his or her share of the revenues,” Vea said.
“WAC thus opens the door for Filipino developers to venture overseas. We would love to see many more Filipino developers take advantage of this opportunity and make their mark in the rapidly growing global market for smartphone applications,” he added.
For more information about Smart and the Wholesale Applications Community, visit www.smart.com.ph or www.wacapps.net.
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