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May 27, 2009

Nokia Ovi Store

Nokia's much-anticipated online software and content store, Ovi, is finally live. Nokia's answer to Apple App Store, Ovi can access more devices than its rivals and will utilise social networking and location-based information to suggest relevant mobile content.

Recently, Canada's Research in Motion (RIM), too opened its online store, BlackBerry App World offering a variety of free and paid applications. Others hotting up the online application space include Microsoft's Windows Mobile Marketplace and Google Android Marketplace.

Here's a 360 degree view of the Nokia Ovi Store, its pluses, minuses and much more.

Ovi Store is Nokia's market for Internet services where users can share photos with friends, buy music and access third-party applications. The countries to first gain access to Nokia Ovi include Australia, Singapore, Spain, Italy, Germany, Russia, Ireland and UK.

Users can register at store.ovi.com through their Nokia device browsers to download applications, games, videos, podcasts, productivity tools, web and location-based services. A user can get to the Ovi Store by going to store.ovi.com on either his PC or Nokia mobile phone. If a user clicks on a piece of content on his PC, the store will send his phone a text message with a link. The user clicks on the link in his phone's messaging programme, which will send him to a WAP site. Now he needs to click download and go through a log-in screen.

If the content costs money, he will have to go through two screens to share his credit card information. The multiple languages Store is open for business and Nokia has stocked the shelves with both local and global content for a broad range of Nokia devices

Live at 20,000

To begin with, Ovi Store packs over 20,000 titles, including both free and paid applications, podcasts, wallpapers and ringtones. Nokia Ovi's rival Apple App Store offers over 35,000 applications. Incidentally, Apple's and Google Android's debut figure was much less in comparison.

The Ovi Store has a list of Nokia devices and allows users to sort content depending on which phone they use. According to a popular tech site, it has 868 for Nokia E71, 987 for the Nokia N95 8GB, and 596 for the Nokia 5310. Of these, most are ringtones, wallpapers and videos, not apps, according to the site. As for apps, there are 436 for the N95, 414 for the E71, and a mere 154 for the Nokia 5310.

Searching for content

Underneath the main phone selector tool are several ways to search for content, including lists for applications, audio & video, games and personalisation. Every category has a list of sub-categories below it.

Below this are twelve featured applications, which display the category under which they would normally fall. However, since the store is still in its initial stages, most apps have not been rated yet.

On clicking on an application, users will land on a page specific for that app where they can read more information about it. The information includes the size of the application, the ability to report issues, user reviews and also how to determine if your phone is compatible with the application.

Users can also choose to have the store recommend applications based on the mobile device they are using. Plus, there's also a way to sort between free and paid apps.

Supports 50 models

Ovi Store supports more than 50 Nokia devices including the upcoming Nokia N97. Nokia claims that the Ovi Store is available globally to an estimated 50 million Nokia device owners.

Currently, Nokia holds about 40 per cent of world's mobile phone marketshare and 45 per cent of the smartphone market share. As for the payment, users can pay with their credit card or can have the charges added to their phone bill.


The mobile content is available in several languages including English, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish. It supports operator billing in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Nokia said that in the US, AT&T plans to make Ovi Store available to its customers later this year.

Few biz apps and NO Facebook!

Nokia Ovi store misses out the popular social networking hangouts Facebook and Myspace. On the social networking side, it has Hi5, Friendster, Buddycloud and also location based social network Gypsii.

Another big disappointment is lack of business applications. The site so far offers mere 10 business applications including See-Fi, a calendar sharing tool, Projekt, to-do list manager and ABBYY Business Card Reader 2.0.

OS disappointment

The fact that content is model-specific is sure to disappoint several users. This is unlike Apple App Store or Blackberry App World where all apps support all models. This is largely due to the same OS in all the models. While Nokia's large flock of mobile devices in the market don't support varied OSes.

Nokia Ovi store site displays a list of Nokia phones and allows users to sort content depending on which phone they use.
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