Handango, the original app store.

Shop Handango for the latest in mobile apps and games for your smartphone or PDA.

If 2009 was the year of the mobile app store, there’s one digital storefront that everyone seems to have forgotten. Though it’s been around since 1999 it barely has a listing in TechCrunch’s database of companies.

It’s called Handango.

Though the company is primarily in the business of selling proprietary software with DRM Handango is also an excellent directory of free apps. And unlike the Android Market or Nokia’s Ovi Store Handango offers content for 8 different mobile operating systems and nearly 1,000 devices, as of their 10th anniversary press release issued last year.

Handango also offers free trial versions of apps, often where the software publisher does not. Case in point: JoikuSpot, the must-have utility for S60 devices that lets you share your 3G data connection over WiFi. You can try before you buy for up to 30 days with a download from Handango, while there’s no such option available at the official JoikuShop site.

If Handango has a failing it would be the on-device version of their online store. I can only speak for the S60 app, but it doesn’t seem to support software trials on 3rd Edition handsets, and doesn’t work at all on those running the 5th Edition OS.

But the desktop version of Handango.com remains a very valuable resource for mobile apps. I’ve been using it since the late 1900s, back in the early days of Palm and Handspring. Surely I can’t be the only one…

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