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Samsung to open App Store for UK phones

New applications launching for Omnia handsets

Samsung Electronics will launch an application store on Sepember 14 with applications and content for its Omnia smartphones, it said on Monday.

Users in the UK, France and Italy will have access to the store first, with the service rolling out in another 30 countries in the coming months, according to Samsung. The company did not elaborate on the launch details for other countries.

Users will be able to pick from approximately 300 applications, including games and e-books. The number of applications will increase to about 2,000 by end of the year, Samsung said.

To access the site, Omnia and Omnia HD owners will have to upgrade their phones with the download icon, which will be available on the store's site. The store will also be available on the upcoming Omnia II, Omnia Pro, Omnia Lite and some new devices. Users will be able to pay via credit card or mobile phone subscription.

Currently, there isn't much to see on Samsungapps.com. Visitors are greeted with the message: "Samsung Application Store is coming soon! Please visit us again soon."

Mobile phone application stores are trendy, and Samsung has seen that application stores and the available programs have become a differentiator for phone buyers, according to Ben Wood, an analyst at CCS Insight.

Samsung's challenge will be to attract developers, and it will look to take advantage of the applications and content that is already available for Symbian and Windows Mobile, according to Wood.

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