MONTE CARLO — When Nokia launches its Ovi Store marketplace for applications that run on the company’s smartphone, the store will debut with “thousands” of applications, Nokia officials said at the Nokia Developer Summit 2009 here.
Eric John, director of marketing for Forum Nokia, the cell phone giant’s developer outreach organization, said there are thousands of applications in the pipeline being vetted by Nokia, and that when the much-anticipated Ovi Store debuts in May it will have at least 1,000 or more applications on it. A Nokia staff member demonstrating how Ovi Store worked in the conference exhibit hall confirmed that at least 1,000 applications will be available on day one.
However, not only will the Nokia Ovi Store launch with a vast number of applications, Nokia is promoting its industry-leading market share as a key driver for why mobile application developers should look at Nokia’s application store.
“We have extraordinary global reach and scale,” John said. “And we enable developers to take what they know and build what they want,” he added, noting that developers can bring their knowledge of C and C++, the Symbian OS, Java, Flash and standard Web technologies to build applications that will run on the Nokia platform. Essentially, John said Nokia hopes the capability to sell their applications for the world’s leading mobile platform by sheer numbers alone will be too enticing for developers to pass up.
John said there will be all kinds of applications available on the Ovi Store, including a number of enterprise-style applications that the company refers to as “productivity” applications that will be helpful to business users.
The Ovi Store will be Nokia’s response to the wildly popular Apple App Store, which enables developers to sell the applications they have created for the iPhone.
“We’re glad they are having the success they are having with App Store, because now I don’t have to explain what the term ‘app’ means,” John said. “Apple has popularized the term.”
Srikanth Raju, director of product marketing for Forum Nokia, said Nokia held an event at its facility in Mountain View, Calif., where the company invited iPhone developers to come in and talk about opportunities to build applications to or migrate their existing applications to the Nokia platform and Ovi Store. “And we filled the hall where we held the event,” Raju said. “Those iPhone developers said they were very interested in delivering apps for the Ovi Store.”
Rob Taylor, head of Nokia Forum, said in the end it is all about the money that can be made on the Nokia Ovi platform, and both Nokia and the developers will benefit. “We want to be able to make more money together,” he said. “In short, it’s about making money.”
Taylor said that “very soon” Nokia is going to be launching the Ovi Store to 50 million devices. “And we’re about ready to conclude a project where we’ve embedded hundreds of apps on regional versions of the N97,” The N97 is Nokia’s “cool” new phone that will be launched in June. Raju called the N97 an “iconic device” that can challenge the iPhone in coolness, and added that Nokia has several more such “iconic” devices hitting the manufacturing floor now and in the coming weeks and months.
In addition, Nokia is offering Ovi Discover, a service to make it easier for people to discover applications on the Ovi Store. And upon launch, the Ovi Store will feature mobile billing, but it will only be available in seven countries initially, the company said.
Nokia is charging developers a one-time $50 fee to register their application for Ovi Store and to have it certified. That fee is waived for members of Nokia’s Champions or LaunchPad developer programs. However, like Apple and other mobile app store providers, Nokia is offering a 70-30 split with developers to sell their wares on the Ovi Store. Nokia gets 30 percent and the developers gets 70 percent of the sale of each application.
John said once a developer submits an application to Nokia to be available on Ovi Store, there is a vetting process that could take up to five to 10 days, although it could be shorter depending on what is required in the overall quality assurance process for the application.
“We’re enabling developers to be self-service publishers,” he said.
“We help developers learn, build and earn,” Raju said.