Yandex today announced that it has banded together with Opera Software, SlideME and CodeNgo to kick off and support a new ‘open-source’ initiative dubbed the One Platform Foundation (OPF).

According to its boiler plate, the OPF wants to “help the Android ecosystem evolve by enabling developers to easily code and submit their apps across multiple alternative application stores”.

In case you didn’t know, Opera and Yandex are among Google’s prime competitors in the mobile browser space, and the latter company in particular has been ruffling the Mountain View-based Internet search giant’s feathers in numerous other ways.

Android marketplaces represent another battlefield.

One of OPF’s first projects is AppDF (short for App Description File), a format that allows developers to describe their Android applications in one file and publish it to multiple app stores in one fell swoop.

The AppDF format is for now supported by Yandex.Store, Opera Mobile Store, SlideME and CodeNgo. The OPF says all app stores are welcome to join the movement, and some are already looking into it.

appdfdiagram Opera and Yandex start One Platform Foundation to help the Android ecosystem evolve

Victor Shaburov, VP of Storefront Services at Opera Software, says:

“AppDF is a great tool that allows cross-store app submission. It simplifies the work of developers a lot and is set to drive them a lot of new users.”

Chris Jones, co-founder of self-publishing platform CodeNgo, added:

“We believe that AppDF will significantly lower the obstacles for developers trying to monetize their apps and also enable a healthier alternative app store ecosystem.”

(Also read: InMobi offers Android developers a free way to distribute their apps to 130+ stores)

Another project from the OPF initiative is OpenIAB (short for Open In-App Billing), a library that allows Android app developers to support in-app billing APIs of multiple application stores with a single piece of code.

openiabdiagram2 Opera and Yandex start One Platform Foundation to help the Android ecosystem evolve

The One Platform Foundation says it basically aims to alleviate many of the problems faced by Android app developers worldwide today:

The OPF was created to solve some of the big problems for Android app developers – app store market fragmentation and lack of time and resources to allocate apps to any of more than 30 alternative app stores other than Google Play.

The reason why developers usually ignore the smaller app stores is that each app store has its own app description format, form for app submission, etc.

We estimate that it takes on average from 30 minutes to an hour to wrap an app for each app store. It can cost up to 300 man-hours per year total (without potential updates) to cover all app stores.

The OPF’s mission is to help Android app developers increase the number of stores their applications are distributed in without spending a lot of time and resources on it, and ultimately increase revenues by broadening the potential audience.

Of course, this will also help providers of alternative Android app stores grow and make money themselves, so it’s not like Yandex, Opera and other backers of the initiative are doing it out of sheer goodwill.

Also read:

Yandex signs Google agreement for submitting contributions to the Chromium project alongside Nvidia, Opera

Opera partners with TIM to bring its App Store to 70 million Brazilian mobile users

Opera’s WebKit-powered browser for Android comes out of beta with full launch

Image credit: Justin Sullivan / Getty Images