A new door, but is it open or closed?

Nokia has announced that they will fully replace their app store Ovi (”door” in Finnish) with a new incarnation this coming spring. While the rebuilding focuses on speed, user interface and reliability, new Ovi functionalities will include in-app payment, localized content and ”social networking elements”.

We appreciate Nokia’s candid acknowledgement that the Apple App Store rendered their first Ovi Store fairly uncompetitive and is excited about the announced Ovi Store changes. However, the remake does not address the underlying fundamentals that are still dictated by the demise of the Symbian Operating System. Yes, there are some 5,500 applications for Nokia phones and the store is delivering just under a million downloads per day, but a perception that Ovi is a failure is impacting developers, some of whom are abandoning efforts to develop Symbian applications in favour of Android and iPhone OS. Both latter operating systems are claimed to offer more cost efficient and modern development platforms, and are supported by considerable market hype. The new Ovi will only be successful if the planned new Symbian releases both help to access Ovi, decrease fragmentation, improve the developer support and include external improvement ideas, convincing developers that Symbian is indeed a more open operating system.

A door to the world’s by far largest phone base ought to be tremendously attractive and an irresistible opportunity, but if it remains practically closed it’s not a very inviting prospect. As its common-life equivalent, a door may let people in or lock them out, we hope for the former.

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