The next Android phone you buy from Verizon might just come with a Verizon-branded app store. If that sounds familiar, like something from days past, you're not alone in that feeling. Apparently Verizon is working on a "different kind of app store", promoting app discovery in a way that Google Play has yet to grasp.
Verizon is said to have been working with both its fellow carriers and other hardware manufacturers, though those talks "are still at an early stage". Unlike previous carrier app store efforts, including a short-lived offering that Verizon shut down just last year, Big Red is aiming high with this effort:
Verizon also wants to go beyond simply offering apps for download; it aspires to create a service that proactively recommends apps to people based on data like their location, the time of day and what their friends are doing on their phones. That would give the store some of the characteristics of so-called "launcher" or "lockscreen" apps for Android phones that try to anticipate the apps a person might need.
Of course, there's still the question of "why?"
Verizon is reported to be considering options like discounted data rates for apps from the store, or offering easier carrier billing for customers (even though carrier billing is an option through Google Play on Verizon). As for benefits for the customer, well… Google Play has a pretty insurmountable lead here. The next closest player at this point is the Amazon Appstore, and even then they're a very distant second.
Either way, you can expect to see yet another bloatware icon coming pre-installed on an Android phone from Verizon sometime in the future. Feel free to ignore it like all the rest.