Hutchison's 3 network has promoted five local developer partners to its solutions channel, the first in its third-party business applications drive.
Acorn Software, AVNotes, Kukan, Loc3, Polymorphic Solutions and BlueTie (US) are the telco's first partners to be chosen for its 'Solutions on 3' sales channel.
3 will market the companies' applications through relevant VAR, business, online and retail channels.
While PDA and converged device players have struggled to convince enterprise users of their advantages, 3 has chosen to support mid-tier applications, according to partner manager, Shane Williamson.
"There's always the potential for a developer to build connectors for major programs like Siebel [CRM] and so on, but is enterprise asking to use these on their phones?" he said. "We don't believe every application should go mobile."
3 had chosen to support applications that targeted vertical and/or SMB markets, he said.
One flagship 3G application is recently-launched Loc3, a geospatial property mapping tool for estate agents.
The rich-media application uses map and property databases to pinpoint properties by criteria such as price range.
Agents can access sales histories and property maps, and show customers overhead images of property areas.
The application is a partnership between Echo Solutions and MapShed, both 3 partners.
Loc3 is being trialled by industry.
The application showed what 3 could offer a mobile developer, Williamson said.
"We want enabling services that use our video streaming services and, next year, our location-based services," he said.
The telco will also extend its mobile site third-party integration technology to more partners next year.
This could give developers the chance to enter into a revenue-sharing deal for their program, according to Williamson.
Three could also use parent company Hutchison Whampoa to promote an application to overseas markets, he said.
"We'll give you access to new markets, sales channels and a nationwide sales force," Williamson said.
The 3 third-party developer program only launched last year, but the company has moved quickly to cement ties with Sun's Java community.
Developing for 3G might be a foreign concept for some developers, but the rise of web-based applications had helped, Williamson said.
"The education process for companies that haven't developed for mobiles is that not everything needs to come across," he said.
"Those [web-based] applications are easier to deploy on 2.5 or 3G as you remove the richer parts for less bandwidth."
The support of handset manufacturers such as Ericsson, LG and Motorola also meant partners weren't limited to device-specific designs, he said.