& cplSiteName &

App Insights: Nokia Ovi Store Professes Relevance

Sarah Thomas
4/27/2010
50%
50%

Before there was Apple Inc. (Nasdaq: AAPL), before there was Android, there was Nokia Corp. (NYSE: NOK). The global handset maker was among the first to try its hand at mobile services, but it hasn’t been the best. Now it's working to regain its top-dog status.

Nokia has spent the past year moving away from its top-down services approach and into the app store model, partnering for services it didn’t make sense to own and acquiring companies to fill in the gaps for those where it did. (See Is Nokia's Ovi Finnish'd?, Nokia Buys MetaCarta, Nokia Snaps Up Microbrowser Maven, and Nokia Acquires Novarra.) The Ovi Store has become central to its plans, but it hasn't all been smooth sailing.

“Ovi Store has been a bit of a mixed experience, to put it kindly,” says Heavy Reading senior analyst Gabriel Brown. When the store launched nearly a year ago, it was plagued with usability complaints, stability concerns, and criticisms over the number of apps, the process for downloading them, speed, search... just about everything, he says.

Nokia is, however, ironing out the kinks. Last week it hit the 1.6 million downloads-per-day mark with 9,500 content items available on its most popular devices. That’s impressive growth for Nokia, though not on par with Apple’s 6 million downloads per day. Nokia’s smartphone sales are also on the upswing, showing 50 percent year-over-year growth in the first quarter, driven in large part by what Brown says is its biggest strength -- a global customer base. (See Nokia Reports Q1.)

Nokia currently has more than 100 device models in use by consumers in more than 180 countries, with developers from more than 80 countries distributing its content. If the Ovi Store and device sales continue to improve, Nokia will have access to more and more users with capable devices, Brown believes.

Meanwhile, Apple’s iPhone will continue to flirt with saturation, making it harder for developers to make money in its crowded storefront. Even though Apple has the right target demographic, it is getting maxed out, says Brown. This is exactly what Nokia is hoping for.

“We’re a company that manufacturers and ships 1.2 million devices per day,” says Michael Bramlage, director of product management for the Ovi Store. “You get into interesting and attractive volumes when a majority of them will ship with Ovi stores embedded on the home screen.”

Nokia validates carrier billing
North America, where CDMA dominates and Nokia’s services often conflicted with carriers' own, has always been Nokia’s weakest market. That too appears to be changing, albeit slowly. Currently, 66 operators in 19 countries support the Ovi Store with integrated billing. That includes six AT&T Inc. (NYSE: T) handsets in the US where the store is available as a download and T-Mobile US Inc. ’s Neuron, the first Nokia phone in the US to be pre-loaded with the Ovi Store.

Nokia’s billing experiences to date validate what carriers have been saying all along -- that consumers want integrated mobile billing. Where Nokia makes it available, more than two-thirds of its customers choose that as their preferred payment method, according to Bramlage.

Nokia also customizes the Ovi Store experience for its range of feature- and smart-phones, aiming for a loosely consistent feel that is optimized for the particular device and location. By running the gamut of low-end to mobile computers, fragmentation may make life difficult for developers who have to choose between Web standards for ubiquity or to develop for each individual handset, but for Nokia, Bramlage says it’s an opportunity to become the “world’s local app store.” Angry Birds by Rovio had nearly as many downloads via Ovi Store in a week as in six on App Store, he says.

Prepping for the road ahead
Nokia is on the right path, but it won’t be a smooth one. It will continue to see competition from Apple, Android, and other handset makers, including Samsung Corp. , which will debut its Bada OS and accompanying app store later this year, and from operating systems like Microsoft Corp. (Nasdaq: MSFT)’s upcoming Windows Phone 7, which has many analysts drawing comparisons to Apple.

In Ovum Ltd. ’s survey of mobile app developers, Google (Nasdaq: GOOG) was the clear-cut winner in terms of network/server-side APIs that developers plan to support or already do. Surprisingly, with only 18 percent indicating plans for Ovi support, even the wireless operators beat Nokia by 7 percent in terms of the platforms developers were most likely to support.

Developers told Ovum that reach was the most important factor, followed by geographic and local presence, technical support, and, less so, issues related to business models. In those respects, Nokia appears to have a fighting chance. Ovum acknowledged that Nokia is a relative newcomer and the tide could be changing. For its part, Nokia at least appears intent on riding the waves.

“To the extent that we’re now seeing more than 1.6 million downloads per day and that upward trend continues, there’s a global appetite,” Bramlage says. “The pie is growing. This is anything but a zero-sum thing here.”

— Sarah Reedy, Senior Reporter, Light Reading Mobile

(6)  | 
Comment  | 
Print  | 
Newest First  |  Oldest First  |  Threaded View        ADD A COMMENT
Michelle Donegan
50%
50%
Michelle Donegan,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:38:21 PM
re: App Insights: Nokia Ovi Store Professes Relevance
It's great to get more details on Ovi. As the world's largest handset maker, you'd think Nokia should be able to make it work. It will be interesting to watch its progress this year.
DCITDave
50%
50%
DCITDave,
User Rank: Light Beer
12/5/2012 | 4:38:19 PM
re: App Insights: Nokia Ovi Store Professes Relevance


Ovi's growth is a UI indicator, too. Nokia's best N-Series phone a year or so ago was so confounding to use, even though it had all the services you'd want just a few button pushes away. I suspect that's no longer the case. It seems reasonable to assume that, while Nokia gains ground in North America, it really won't see a huge shift in its online business until it can challenge Apple by making an exceptional UI.


 

Gabriel Brown
50%
50%
Gabriel Brown,
User Rank: Light Sabre
12/5/2012 | 4:38:12 PM
re: App Insights: Nokia Ovi Store Professes Relevance


Minor correction: Ovi Store launched in May 2009, not three months ago as stated in the article. 


Also, you can install Symbian apps from the Web, from email, from Bluetooth, etc. You don't *have* to use the Ovi store.


 

Light Reading’s Upskill U is a FREE, interactive, online educational resource that delivers must-have education on themes that relate to the overall business transformation taking place in the communications industry.
NEXT COURSE
Wednesday, September 28, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit 101
Will Barkis, Senior Technology Analyst, Orange
UPCOMING COURSE SCHEDULE
Friday, September 30, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & the Great Migration
Robert Howald, Vice President, Network Architecture, Comcast
Wednesday, October 5, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & Smart Cities
Joe Kochan, COO & Co-Founder, US Ignite
Friday, October 7, 1:00PM EDT
Gigabit & DOCSIS 3.1
Ty Pearman, Director, Access Architecture, Comcast
in association with:
From The Founder
Light Reading today starts a new voyage as part of a larger Enterprise.
Flash Poll
Live Streaming Video
Charting the CSP's Future
Six different communications service providers join to debate their visions of the future CSP, following a landmark presentation from AT&T on its massive virtualization efforts and a look back on where the telecom industry has been and where it's going from two industry veterans.
LRTV Interviews
Verizon Takes Next Step on Biz Virtualization Journey

9|26|16   |   4:38   |   (1) comment


At September's NFV & Carrier SDN event in Denver, Light Reading sat down with Victoria Lonker, director of Product and New Business Innovation at Verizon, to chat about where the carrier is with delivering virtualized services to business customers.
LRTV Interviews
Global Services: The $40B Face-Off

9|26|16   |   05:53   |   (1) comment


More service providers than ever before are battling it out to win a slice of what is now a $40 billion global communications services pie, explains Ovum Principal Analyst David Molony.
LRTV Documentaries
MEC Congress: The Key Takeaways

9|22|16   |   03:25   |   (3) comments


Three key takeaways from the Mobile Edge Computing (MEC) Congress in Munich, Germany.
Wagner’s Ring
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'

9|22|16   |     |   (12) comments


Service providers can't compete with OTT players. It just isn't in their DNA. Instead, service providers need to embrace what they're good at -- providing reliable, secure connectivity.
Wagner’s Ring
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50

9|21|16   |     |   (13) comments


How do you keep your career moving forward when you're past the half-century mark?
LRTV Interviews
Peering Into the Digital Future

9|20|16   |   04:25   |   (0) comments


Nick Thomas, practice leader of digital media at Ovum, talks about how digital transformation in the technology, media and telecom sectors will enable the development of a new range of applications and services for enterprises and consumers and how the upcoming Digital Futures event in London will examine ...
LRTV Custom TV
Napatech Tackles NFV's Major Challenge

9|7|16   |   08:42   |   (0) comments


One of the main challenges for network operators introducing NFV is to combine performance and flexibility in a cost-effective way, but there is a solution, explains Napatech's Dan Joe Barry.
LRTV Custom TV
Huawei Optical Innovation 2016

9|6|16   |     |   (0) comments


Highlights of the 2016 Huawei Optical Innovation forum.
LRTV Huawei Video Resource Center
Are You Ready for Huawei Connect 2016?

8|31|16   |     |   (0) comments


Join us for an exclusive sneak peak of Huawei Connect, an integrated conference for the global ICT ecosystem taking place in Shanghai.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: UXP's Gemini Waghmare

8|26|16   |     |   (0) comments


Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
LRTV Custom TV
F5 Virtual Network Function Integrations With Partner Orchestration Platform

8|24|16   |   6:38   |   (0) comments


F5's Kishore Patnam, product manager for F5's service provider solutions, discusses why service providers are moving towards virtualization and how his clients are utilizing F5's solutions.
Between the CEOs
CEO Chat: Intel's Alexis Black Bjorlin

8|17|16   |   06:23   |   (0) comments


Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Upcoming Live Events
November 3, 2016, The Montcalm Marble Arch, London
November 30, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York City
December 1, 2016, The Westin Times Square, New York, NY
December 6-8, 2016, The Westin Excelsior, Rome
May 16-17, 2017, Austin Convention Center, Austin, TX
All Upcoming Live Events
Infographics
Hot Topics
Keeping Your Tech Career Going After 50
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/21/2016
Time to Shut Up About 'Dumb Pipes'
Mitch Wagner, West Coast Bureau Chief, Light Reading, 9/22/2016
Verizon CFO: Eat Our (Fixed) 5G Dust!
Dan Jones, Mobile Editor, 9/22/2016
WiCipedia: The Women Helping Women Edition
Eryn Leavens, Special Features & Copy Editor, 9/23/2016
Like Us on Facebook
Twitter Feed
BETWEEN THE CEOs - Executive Interviews
Light Reading CEO Steve Saunders and UXP Systems CEO Gemini Waghmare discuss the strategic importance of digital identity for operators in the midst of transformation.
Join us for an in-depth interview between Steve Saunders of Light Reading and Alexis Black Bjorlin of Intel as they discuss the release of the company's Silicon Photonics platform, its performance, long-term prospects, customer expectations and much more.
Animals with Phones
You Thought Your Customer Service Was Unreliable... Click Here
Live Digital Audio

A vital part of increasing the number of women in comms is transforming the ways companies can support and empower women. While progressive company policies that support both men and women in achieving work-life balance are a step in the right direction, creating a company culture that supports those policies can at times be more challenging.

During this show, we'll talk to Lynn Comp, Senior Director of Industry and Sales Enabling (ISE) in the Network Platforms Group at Intel, about why those challenges exist and how companies can overcome them. She'll provide insight into how Intel has worked to create a culture that supports work-life balance, and provide steps and guidance for other companies wishing to do the same. We will also leave plenty of time to get your questions answered live on the air.