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MobiCart is one of 70 companies chosen by VentureBeat to launch at the DEMO Fall 2010 event taking place this week in Silicon Valley. After our selection, the companies pay a fee to present. Our coverage of them remains objective.

With the increasing popularity of smartphones and tablets, consumers will likely find themselves using those platforms more to make purchases in the future — that’s where MobiCart comes in. The UK startup is unveiling technology at the DEMO conference today to let anyone create and manage their own Web store for the iPhone, iPad, and Android. Best of all? It’s free.

MobiCart stores work as standalone applications even if you don’t have a website. If you do have a site already, you can use MobiCart’s application programming interface, or API, to update your MobiCart store from your existing site. The API allows third-party developers to extend MobiCart’s platform, and the company says it will have a marketplace available for users to find such extensions.

It’s competing most directly with the e-commerce platform Magento, but that company’s mobile offering only works with Magento-powered stores. MobiCart is more flexible since it can be used by people who don’t have websites. Magento Mobile also costs users $799, plus a $699 annual maintenance charge. MobiCart is determined to keep its app free for users, and is currently working on open-source revenue models to make money. It didn’t get into specifics, but open-source companies typically charge for maintenance and support contracts and also offer consulting and integration services, allowing them to profit from software that’s given away.

MobiCart doesn’t have any investors yet, and is currently funded by an $80,000 private loan.

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