Nokia's Ovi Store offers mobile applications for download, putting the company in potentially heavy competition against Apple and Research In Motion, producer of the BlackBerry. On top of that, Nokia's newest mobile application, Ovi Maps, represents a challenge to Google Maps for Mobile, opening up another competitive arena.
continues to roll out applications for its Ovi Store, including a new one
called Ovi Maps that allows for two-dimensional and three-dimensional viewing
of landmarks, night mode, language functionality, and satellite and terrain
As with applications from the Apple
App Store or the Blackberry App World, the Ovi Store allows programs to be
downloaded to company-specific smartphones. Like the App Store, Ovi has opened
itself up to developers; the company offers an API
for Ovi Maps that allows for modifications and the ability to embed Ovi
features in a Website.
The open-development aspect of the application could make it a potential
competitor to Google Maps. Google has been tweaking its Google
Maps for Mobile
application, making it easier for the smartphone community
to find local businesses.
Developers working with the open-source Ovi Maps Player API
can participate in Nokia's contest
for "the best Apps on Maps solution," with a $30,000 prize fund and
premium application placement on the Ovi Store for the winner.
"This competition looks set to harness the power of open source, and a
raft of developers to create new and innovative uses for Ovi Maps," said
an announcement on the Nokia Conversations Website.
Despite the massive amounts of press devoted in the United States to the
Apple iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry line of smartphones, Nokia
held the overall No. 1 position in the worldwide smartphone market in 2008
according to research firm Gartner.
In the fourth quarter of 2008, Nokia finished with 40.8 percent of the
worldwide market share, down from 50.9 percent from the same quarter in 2007,
followed by RIM with 19.5 percent and Apple with 10.7 percent. HTC
and Samsung rounded out the top five with 4.3 and 4.2 percent market share,
The question, however, is how much of a challenge Noka's store represents to
Apple or RIM.
"It depends on how you look at the global market," Neil Strother,
an analyst with Forrester, said in an interview. "Potentially, Nokia could
do something similar [to Apple] because they have a big global footprint, but
right now the momentum is with Apple."
"Apple's set a high bar [with the App Store]," Strother added,
"and it's a horse race to see who can catch up to the leader. Nokia has to
ask itself: Is the store itself easy to use? Is the interface easy to use? Can
you educate users on it, and leave it easy for them to get?"