Nokia Ovi Store Lays Out Security Policy for Third-Party Apps

Nokia opened the Ovi Store today, offering mobile applications, games and other tools. Some of the apps available through the Ovi Store are developed by third parties, and Nokia wants to ensure those apps are secure enough for prime time before users download them.

Nokia officially put out the welcome mat at the door of its Ovi Store today, stocking its virtual shelves with mobile applications, games, productivity tools and more for dozens of models of Nokia phones.

Just like in the Apple App Store, some of those applications are developed by third parties, making the task of ensuring the security of those applications important. In the case of Nokia, officials said they have put a review process in place to make sure the apps customers are getting are up to snuff.

"Every publisher is passed through a review process prior to their content proceeding through the system," a Nokia spokesperson said. "Once they have been approved, a developer's content passes through a moderation process which looks at each content item and evaluates it against our content guidelines. After each content item passes the moderation step, it proceeds through our quality assurance process, which runs a set of test cases on the targeted devices according to the content type."

Prior to submittal, all application providers are required to have their applications certified by one of the approved testing processes-for example, Symbian applications must be Symbian Signed or Symbian Express Signed. Java applications must be certified by Java Verified, Thawte or VeriSign.

"As we scale, Ovi Store will use automated methods to screen for common issues as well as use manual means," the spokesperson said. "Any content item that is found to have any issues is removed from the Ovi Store upon discovery."

Officials at Apple did not respond to questions about their review process for App Store, but both companies face the same situation. Similarly, social networking sites have been forced to come up with a process to address concerns over third-party apps, which in Facebook's case have sometimes been linked to attempts to sneak malware onto computers.

Customers can access the Ovi Store through their mobile browser or by downloading the store's icon to their devices in some countries. The mobile client is available in multiple languages, including English, Russian and Spanish, and operator billing is currently available in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom.

Nokia also announced a deal with AT&T to make the Ovi Store available to AT&T customers in the United States later this year.