Samsung has launched an online app store for mobile phones in the UK, and other countries in Europe.

Owners of Samsung Omnia and Samsung Omnia HD devices can 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. By comparison, the Apple iPhone App Store has more than 60,000 apps. Currently, Electronic Arts and Capcom are among the developers providing software for Samsung phones.

Within a similar end of 2009 timescale, Samsung also plans to have introduced support for the Omnia II, Omnia Pro and OmniaLITE smartphones. This in turn should increase the number of apps available, as developers will be more keen to target a wider audience.

Mobile phone reviews and news

To access the download store, Omnia and Omnia HD owners have to upgrade their phones with the download icon, which is available on the shop's site. Users can pay via credit card or mobile phone subscription.

Mobile phone application stores are popular right now, with two in five mobile phone owners claiming to want apps. 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.