Not Enough App Stores For You? Just Wait

PocketGear, a major mobile app store, sees more opportunity in powering other app markets than in selling directly to consumer. The company is relaunching itself as Appia, a white label app store provider to take advantage of a potential explosion in app stores.

As Pocketgear, the company was already partnering with companies to provide back-end app store service. But now as Appia, the company will give up being an open app store and will concentrate on providing an app store platform for carriers, manufacturers, portals and brands, where it believes the larger payoff is.

“The opportunity for us as an infrastructure company is better than building a consumer brand,” said Dov Cohn, vice president of marketing. “We’re going to let our partners leverage their consumer relationships they have and we’ll bring them great technology and developer relationships to try and reach as many people as possible.”

Appia already powers the app stores for 40 partners such as like Samsung, T-Mobile, AT&T (s t), and Verizon Wireless (s vz) and boasts a catalog of 140,000 apps for Android (s goog), Blackberry (s rimm), Java (s orcl), Symbian (s nok), Windows (s msft) and Palm (s hpq). Cohn said native app stores like Android Market will continue to be important destinations for consumers. But he expects many companies like large retailers and brands with big followings are going  to move into mobile app ecosystem. And why not? App Store revenues are now forecast to hit $15 billion this year, triple the figure from last year, according to Gartner.

Recent studies suggest the market for apps in third-party independent stores is poised to grow markedly in the coming years. A report by MarketsandMarkets last month forecast that independent app stores will become the major driver of mobile app downloads by 2015. Another report by Chetan Sharma Consulting, commissioned by independent app store GetJar, said third-party app stores will take in the majority ofthe mobile apps revenue by 2012.

We’re already seeing independent apps stores become major sources of app revenues and downloads. GetJar and AppBrain have become important alternative stores for Android apps. Verizon has launched its own V Cast App Store on Android devices while Amazon (s amzn) is planning to launch its own Android app store. If it seems crowded already, expect many more app stores before it’s all said and done.

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