PocketGear snatches up smartphone app maker Handango

Mobile app store PocketGear is announcing today that it has acquired Handango, a big maker of smartphone apps. The combination will create the world’s largest cross-platform, open app store and content market with more than 140,000 paid and free titles.

The apps can be downloaded by consumers using phones with the Android, Symbian, BlackBerry, Windows Mobile, Linux, Java, and Palm mobile phone platforms. The PocketGear App Store will now support more than 2,000 mobile phones in 175 countries. To date, the app stores of PocketGear and Handango have generated more than $400 million in mobile app revenues.

Durham, N.C.-based PocketGear will now boast more than 32,000 developers in its developer program and 40 storefront and distribution partners. That includes four of the top five handset makers, four of the top five mobile operators in the U.S., and three of the top 10 mobile operators globally.

Jud Bowman, chief executive and president of PocketGear, will retain his titles, and Alex Bloom, CEO of Handango, will become chief operating officer of PocketGear. Bowman said the move will create more scale and value for everyone in the open app store ecosystem. Of course, unspoken is the fact that this kind of combination is necessary to keep up with rivals such as GetJar, Google, and Apple.

PocketGear was founded in June, 2008, as a spinout from Motricity. It has 40 employees. Investors include Noro-Moseley Partners and the Wakefield Group.

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