Challenges and Opportunities: Ovi Application Store
Ovi is Nokia’s door (Literally in Finnish) to the high end internet and convergence enabled consumers. Over a year and a half, Nokia has been building its Ovi brand. On 16th February, 2009, Nokia announced Ovi Application store, a virtual store front where developers can develop applications and consumers can easily download them. N 97 will be the first device to sport the Ovi Aps store when it goes to sale in June 2009! The Store will be available on its S40 and S 60 platform devices. Nokia intends to pep up the offering by tracking downloads and suggesting applications to users, which may be of their interest.
A few days back, i had covered the Online application stores story in one of my posts: http://technologyandtelecom.blogspot.com/2009/02/online-application-stores-fad-or.html
Apple and Google are “there”, Nokia, RIM, Palm will get there soon. Microsoft is also designing something on these lines.
Challenges and Opportunities
While Ovi Apps Store (OAS) has the advantage of a captive base of Nokia’s consumers, which it can choose to exploit well, there are some formidable challenges that OAS faces.
The first challenge obviously is a “me too” positioning important from a perspective of “being available” to its consumers. Having the store was not really a innovation novelty as much as having a store to offer 3rd party applications. iPhone and Google have established themselves fairly well in the application space and the next three entries will be (RIM, Nokia, Pearl) will only fragment the market to feed their consumers!
The happening place in terms of application and their developments is really the North American market and Nokia doesnot have a good representation out there. This is slightly stiffling as Android and iPhone are getting ahead in the same context.
Nokia can tap into the base of developers in Europe and South East Asia. However, the market for applications and downloading is not so great in South Asia. Thus, cutting edge applications can have longer acceptance periods.
One significant advantage that Nokia brings to the table is the robustness and stability of its Symbian platform.
There is a lot of work that is happening on Android and Microsoft platforms. While Microsoft is distinctly seen as “pro enterprise”, Android is seen as “pro consumer”. Apple is .. “apple”. Symbian has not generated as much interest in terms of work lately as a Android or a iPhone has.
Nokia already has a the largest community of developers (3.5 million). So there will not be any dearth of Ideas!
However, with low acceptance of applications in Nokia dominated markets, the same application developers may get higher returns in the Android, Microsoft or iPhone stores.
The first 6 months after launch is going to be important for Ovi. This is because, there will be a lot of applications, which will be source copied from the Apple store and Android store. The developers will expect a quick buck. Making a fast buck will depend on the ability of Ovi and the consumer acceptance of the Symbian store. That may shape the developer perception of the Ovi store!