There is a fast-growing mobile application developer community here in Ireland but with a market dominated by those concentrating on iPhone apps due to the relatively recent introduction of app stores from manufacturers such as Android, Palm and RIM, Nokia decided to go to the source – local developers – in order to open the door to Ovi.
Although the Ovi Store has been open for business since May 2009 as part of the Ovi suite that includes online storage, maps and music downloads, Nokia Ireland is banking on this year being the one that opens up the app shop to every Nokia handset owner and with the help of Irish developers.
Shane O’Brien, services manager for Nokia Ireland, said the aim is to “create an inclusive, sustainable ecosystem through Nokia, third-party and operator services” adding that Nokia already has these elements but is now bringing them together and opening them up to developers.
And they say the signs are good for a lucrative Ovi dev market: it is approaching 1 million downloads (that’s a mix of apps and services) on average per day, with downloads up 100pc per month and an average of 11 downloaded items per Ovi Store user.
Right now, there are 7,000 content items available and a priority for Nokia Ireland this year is to increase this number by getting Irish developers to create apps relevant to the market, a case in point being the pretty popular ‘Amhran na bhFiann’, commissioned to Irish tech start-up Mobanode and with more than 25,000 downloads to date.
Top Ovi Store locations
Nokia Ireland sat down with a group of Irish developers and gave them an overview of the market. The top Ovi Store locations in order are: Egypt, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Spain, Saudi Arabia, Thailand, Russia and the UK.
Incentive for developers include the fact that there are three different methods for earning revenue through the Ovi Store: being commissioned by Nokia to develop an app for them as was done with Mobanode, developing and adding your own apps to the Ovi Store and having your app selected to be preloaded onto Nokia models released on the Irish market.
The revenue split for having your app on the Ovi Store is 30:70, unfortunately there are some drawbacks to submitting: the submission fee is €50 and the developer must be a registered company.
O’Brien said this is being looked at straight away: ”We’ve seen it as a big stumbling block and we’re talking about this right now, it’s not an option (not to) any more.
“We have to figure out a solution – a local solution with a local company. Several potential broker companies are being talked to right now,” he added.
About Forum Nokia
While this is being re-evaluated, this is not to say the Nokia developer community itself is new. In fact, Forum Nokia, which offers API (application programming interface) and SDK (software developer kit) support, has 4.3 million members and gets 1.5 million unique visits per month with more than 5.5 million page views, said Benjamin Roszczewski, business manger for Forum Nokia.
The main challenge right now, said Sian Gray, marketing manager for Nokia Ireland, is to draw local developers in, have conversations with them and help them in the development process as much as possible.
“This is a huge task in terms of education – letting people know what Ovi is and what it means. Twelve months ago we were launching handset, now it’s plus a service. From an Irish point of view we simply don’t have this local content (on the Ovi Store) right now.”
To get this kick-started, Nokia Ireland will pick two apps (fully realised or concept) by 31 January from those submitted to firstname.lastname@example.org and these apps will be fully paid for, including a marketing campaign.
Nokia Ireland will track how these apps spread, how many downloads are made, etc, and share the results with all Nokia Ireland Ovi developers as two living case studies.
By Marie Boran
Photo: Nokia Ireland is banking on 2010 being the year that opens the Ovi Store to every Nokia handset owner and with the help of Irish developers