Sprint/Nextel will open a new, more open, third-party managed App Store for its smartphones.

Sprint hopes to offer a one-week turnaround time for approving submitted apps, which would be a stark contrast to Apple’s infamously slow approval process. They plan to launch the new application marketplace early next year and will stop shipping phones with pre-installed applications on them. The Android and Palm OS currently have their own – significantly inferior – versions of the App Store already, but Sprint plans to start from scratch rather than sinking more money into Sprint Store (http://softwarestore.sprint.com/) repairs.

Sprint will charge developers a “low” fee to have their apps reviewed, said wireless applications general manager, J.P. Brocket at the Sprint Open Developer Conference in Santa Clara (Calif.). Do you think the new and improved Sprint Store will be able to compete with the Apple Store? This writer doesn’t.