Orange looks to mobile web

"It's different to how people are used to using application stores. The experience people have when using the Apple or Android application store differs. Some like it, some don't," Maitre said.

"With thousands and thousands of applications available on the other application marketplaces, all around for doing the same thing, for example mapping applications and currency converters, people don't know what to choose."

The Orange application store will be more straightforward, Maitre promised.

The third option for getting widgets or applications on your Orange device is a push application platform. It's already available across the manufacturer's board including Samsung, LG, Motorola and Nokia.

The service literally pushes specially-optimised applications onto the device.

"It gives more freedom because of the screen size and handset features. Orange selects fewer applications compatible for that particular handset that are fully tested and validated by Orange. You can download apps Orange has specifically developed for your particular handset over the air it's pushed to the handset," Maitre explained.

Going forward

In addition to developing new services to encourage people to use internet on mobile, Orange will also be expanding its relationship with manufacturers. The operator has recently sealed a groundbreaking two-year deal with Sony Ericsson to produce more content for the Finnish manufacturer's devices.

Maitre also hinted that LG will take a bigger part on the operator's strategy, noting the social networking attributes of the low-range KS360. The device was a marketing success, featuring a re-designed user interface specifically for Orange, integrated content and a huge marketing scheme.

The next step for Orange at this time is to concentrate on mobile multimedia and My Social Place is yet another example of Orange's drive to hit targets concerning the nation and its mobile internet habits.

My Social Place encourages social networking by providing users with one click access to all social networking sites. All communities including Facebook, MySpace and Twitter are in one place with a single login and a single password.

The same method is also being developed for email. Many email users have more than one account, whether they have Hotmail, pop, Yahoo, Gmail. They can access up to 10 different email addresses in one place using Orange ID with services planned by Orange in the next six months.

Looking further into the future, Maitre sees mobile payments becoming more of a focus for Orange.

The operator has already implemented Orange Money in Africa, which allows people to pay for low-value items using points'. A customer can simply exchange money for points on their mobile phone and then use these to pay for small-value items or transfer money to other people.

"Mobile payments have become a trend thanks to schemes such as Orange Money, and we expect this to become a bigger trend out of developing countries in the future too," said Maitre.

Orange's 2009/2010 strategy is no different to almost every other operator and manufacturer as smartphones become more and more advanced. Companies are beginning to concentrate on encouraging everyone to use mobile phones for more than just phone calls and messaging - they are becoming fully converged devices and a way for everyone to access the internet anywhere at any time.

Click here for more news from Mobile World Congress 2009.

Clare Hopping
Freelance writer

Clare is the founder of Blue Cactus Digital, a digital marketing company that helps ethical and sustainability-focused businesses grow their customer base.

Prior to becoming a marketer, Clare was a journalist, working at a range of mobile device-focused outlets including Know Your Mobile before moving into freelance life.

As a freelance writer, she drew on her expertise in mobility to write features and guides for ITPro, as well as regularly writing news stories on a wide range of topics.