Facebook has unveiled plans for its App Center service, which will allow developers to offer their applications to users as both free and paid applications on the iOS and Android mobile platforms, as well as desktop- and web-based applications.
As with other app stores, Facebook's App Center service will allow developers to set a one-time price on their applications which users will pay in order to install and run the app on the Facebook site.
"The App Center is designed to grow mobile apps that use Facebook, whether they’re on iOS, Android or the mobile web," wrote Facebook engineer Aaron Brady. "From the mobile App Center, users can browse apps that are compatible with their device, and if a mobile app requires installation, they will be sent to download the app from the App Store or Google Play."
User ratings will be important for Facebook's App Center.
"Well-designed apps that people enjoy will be prominently displayed," Brady noted. "Apps that receive poor user ratings or don’t meet the quality guidelines won't be listed."
The unveiling of the App Store comes as Facebook prepares to undertake its landmark IPO. Facebook will stop taking orders for shares of its IPO tomorrow after U.S. markets close, which is two days ahead of schedule, Bloomberg reported.
Industry pundits believe that the launch of App Center will help the company show investors that solid revenue streams exist for Facebook.
"The App Center is where much of Facebook's anticipated 25 percent per year growth will have to come from, so it is part and parcel to setting a high valuation," said Rob Enderle, principal analyst with the Enderle Group. "Pushing it out now is critical to their ability to sell financial analysts on the idea they can have this sustained 25 percent annual growth needed to justify a near $100 billion valuation."