Finnish app store startup bets on Android in Asia

HELSINKI Wed Nov 21, 2012 8:48pm IST

A Google Android figurine sits on the welcome desk as employee Tracy McNeilly smiles at the new Google office in Toronto, November 13, 2012. REUTERS/Mark Blinch

A Google Android figurine sits on the welcome desk as employee Tracy McNeilly smiles at the new Google office in Toronto, November 13, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Mark Blinch

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HELSINKI (Reuters) - Finnish technology startup Blaast on Wednesday opened an Android application store hoping to tap into booming demand for affordable smartphones in Indonesia and other emerging markets.

The 2010-founded Blaast has built a platform to distribute apps to mid-range cellphones, enabling carriers to sell more data packages bundled with free access to applications.

"Android is going to own over 75 percent of smartphone sales in emerging markets," said Blaast Chief Executive Joonas Hjelt.

Blaast said its Android store will launch in Indonesia with No 2 carrier XL Axiata, preinstalled on Sony's (6758.T) new Xperia J smartphone. So far operators in Malaysia and Bangladesh have launched Blaast service for basic cellphones.

Google's Android has become the dominant smartphone platform over the last quarters, controlling around 2/3 of smartphone sales globally. Models costing less than $200 have boosted Android demand, especially in emerging markets.

(Reporting By Tarmo Virki; editing by Andrew Hay)

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