Verizon is killing off V Cast Apps, its media delivery network of games, music, movies and apps, and its replacement, Verizon Apps, is going to have a slick new keyword search for app discovery.
At the Verizon Developer Community Conference in Las Vegas Tuesday, Verizon announced that, starting this fall, V Cast Apps will be replaced by Verizon Apps and that the new storefront will come with an app search powered by Chomp, a startup that has created a search engine for apps that allows users to find apps based on what they do, rather than what they are called.
So, for example, if you search for "kids' games" in Verizon Apps, it will search for games meant for kids, whereas if you search for "kids' games" in iTunes, it searches for apps with the words "kids' games" in their title and description. (You can try out the new keyword search before it hits Verizon RIM and Android phones at chomp.com); the Verizon Apps storefront will not be featured on Verizon iPhones).
Though the announcement and press release focused on Chomp keyword search, there were also some details about Verizon Apps and the company's mobile strategy going forward. Verizon will be totally eliminating all references to "V Cast" and all "V Cast" brands will be replaced with "Verizon" brands to capitalize on the company's brand recognition. So, pretty soon there will be a Verizon Apps, a Verizon Media Manager and so on.
"Verizon is a pretty strong brand," a Verizon spokesperson told HuffPost, "and probably has a little more traction in the marketplace than we could have gotten in the with V Cast."
Verizon is the only major carrier in the United States to have its own app store, though the spokesperson told The Huffington Post that this announcement and the emphasis Verizon is placing on its new keyword search is not meant as a challenge to either the Android Market or the BlackBerry App World. They are simply meant to co-exist and give users more options for app discovery -- and payment. Because Verizon apps are "carrier-billed," charges for apps go onto your cellphone bill, which the Verizon spokesperson said was more convenient, faster and more secure.
Verizon has not given an exact date for the launch of Chomp keyword search and Verizon Apps, but it says to expect them both beginning this fall.