Nokia Ovi logo

Nokia has just announced at Mobile World Congress that the company will launch its own app store called Ovi Store, as was rumored. It was expected that Nokia places this service under its global Internet services brand Ovi.

But it will not  be just an “app” store – Ovi Store will serve ringtones, wallpapers, videos, podcasts, applications and games in various languages like Java, Flash lite, widgets. The Ovi Store will thus replace Nokia’s previous services like Download!, Mosh, and Nokia Software Market, thus greatly unifying and simplifying the consumer content offering of Nokia. Interestingly, Ovi Store features social discovery, meaning that users will be recommended and promoted content which is used by their social network. Also location aware featuring will be supported by Nokia. The social features will be supported apparently by at least Facebook and MySpace, who both give a statement in Nokia’s press release.

Nokia Ovi Consumer main imageDevelopers are offered 70 % of the revenue share, similarly Apple App Store. However, the net revenue will hugely depend whether the consumers use credit card or operator billing – they will have the option to choose the method. According to Nokia’s experience on N-Gage billing, vast majority of the consumers select operator billing when given the choice. It is unsure whether it would be possible to offer slightly lower price for credit card purchases to encourage this option – it is unlikely, though, given Nokia needs the approval the operators to include the store in the operator phone variants.

I have not been able to try out the actual user experience yet, but if Nokia has taken note from their cumulated learnings with previous services and Apple, this could be a major boost to the company’s content business and the S40 and S60 software ecosystem. After all, S60 has been, and still is, the platform of choice for many application developers due to the sheer handset volumes in the market. In the gaming market Nokia has a tough task in competing with iPhone, though.

In the beginning, only selected content providers and publishers are allowed to publish in the store, but Nokia will gradually open up the support to all developers. Developers can register for the Ovi Store at publish.ovi.com.