Neil Enns: Why is it so hard to distribute mobile phone applications across operators?

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    You mentioned that there is one operator in the US that doesn't require apps to be signed. Could you be more specific?

  • User profile image
    @Neil: You are not right.

    The main problem is that you ALWAYS need a privileged signature to write a useful phone enabled application (except you want to write the 27th port of a 8 bit classic game or the 113th version of a calculator for smartphone).

    Unfortunately your own logo testing (Mobile2Market) prohibits giving a signature to an application which interferes with phone functions. But this is (in my opinnion) the main area of applications for mobile phones.

    Next thing is the high price for certification (apx. $1500) and signatures (apx. $100) !!!per version!!. Why can't you certify a company and give them a developer certificate? It's not practical to take money for every update.

    Last but not least with the current model only Microsoft and/or their Partners (Mobile2Market) earns money since you locked down any possibility to implement a working software protection (e.g. DeviceID or anything unique will require a privileged signature...). If I had payed for the signatures for my applications (not to mention that I never will get them since I "interfere" with phone functions) I would still have a big loss of money (not to speak about the development costs...). Reason for this is that there is no way to prevent illegal copys right now.

    Mr. Mobile

    BTW: The $25.000 competition was only available for USA, Canada and UK citizens...

  • User profile image

    I appreciate that deployment in the world mobile phones is more complicated than in the world of PCs. In fact Mobile2Market was designed so the developer doesn’t have to contact the hundreds of different operators just to get their application on each one. Are we there yet – no, but over the course of the next several months you will see more and more operators worldwide, who will ship with both privilege and unprivileged Moble2Market certificates in their phones. In the developer section of the Windows Mobile website, we have posted a matrix of the current top operator security configurations. Over the next few months we will be updating this to include a majority of the operators shipping Microsoft Smartphones.


    I can’t speak to the pricing of the operator specific signing programs, but I just checked on Verisign’s website, and they charge $350 for an ACS publisher ID and 10 signing events. After the initial cost, additional signing events are between $6-$12. To receive the Designed for Windows Mobile logo we do require you to pass the guidelines verified by an independent testing facility. The cost is between $400-$500 per test, and once passed, you can upload your data to the catalog which is immediately exposed to over 30 distributors and 100,000 website hits per month.


    It is true – the contest is only available for developers in certain countries (see the rules on due to legal complexities. Sometime within the next year, we hope to have a contest that includes more countries. 


  • User profile image

    Here is a brief matrix of Mobile Operators and their current security configurations:

    We plan to expand this list by end of summer to reflect all/most of the shipping Smartphone operators.




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