Nokia to Launch Ovi Store in May

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It doesn’t seem like any mobile platform developers are going to be content to sit on the sidelines while Apple enjoys tremendous success with its iTunes App Store: at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia has announced it will be rolling out its own Ovi Store in May 2009…and rather than being a simple catalog of things people can buy for their phones, the store will be a location- and socially-aware service that will offer games, media, and phone applications specifically targeting customers so users immediately see what Nokia believes to be the most relevant selections…a move that will undoubtedly please marketers and content providers.

“The Ovi Store will enable our devices to uniquely surface relevant content for consumers based on the people who matter to them and the particular places they happen to be, bringing a new generation of media services to the fingertips of millions of people around the world,” said Nokia Services executive VP Tero Ojanperae, in a statement. “By leveraging our strengths as a company and the assets of our partners, the Ovi Store is a ‘smart store’ that will change the way our consumers discover and consume content on their mobile devices, ultimately making the experience easier, more fun, and, most importantly, more relevant.”

Nokia says the Ovi Store will combine elements of its existing content services, including WidSets, Download, and Mosh, into a single service that offers applications, video, games, podcasts, music, and location-specific information and applications. The Nokia N97 will be the first Nokia device to ship with a built-in storefront, but the Ovi Store should be accessible to Nokia Series 40 and S60 devices. Nokia expects that over 300 million users will have access to the Ovi Store by 2012—remember Nokia is the largest handset manufacturer on the planet. Nokia is also positioning the Ovi Store as a premier delivery channel for Adobe built using Adobe flash—and Nokia’s platforms represent the industry’s largest footprint of Flash-enabled devices.

Ovi Store users will have the option of allowing the Ovi Store to serve up content based on the user’s location and social connections; the feature is designed to help the store bring interesting things forward based on what a users’ friends and family are interested in as well as a user’s location. The Ovi Store already has partners lined up, including social networking sites MySpace and Facebook. The Ovi Store will accept payment by credit card or through operator billing.

Nokia expects to have the Ovi Store operating in nine countries by May 2009. Publishers and developers will be able to start getting content into the system beginning in March; developers and publishers will be able to charge what they like for their wares, with Nokia keeping a 30 percent cut of all sales.

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