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May 1, 2009

Niklas Savander talks Ovi Store

GLOBAL – Head of Nokia Services, Niklas Savander has released some insight into Ovi Store in an interview with Mobile Entertainment website. Speaking to Mobile Entertainment’s Tim Green, the Ovi Store was described as a huge content project “days from launch”. Given today is the first of May, and Ovi Store is due to launch this month, it’s only fitting we see what the top man had to say.

Savander expects 20,000 content items to be available on launch day. That’s one hell of a collection of apps, widgets, and other elements for users to choose from. Consistency, though, is the key as Savander explains:

“we’re trying to get a broader audience than iPhone. The main aim is consistency – there has to be logic even across different devices or when there is co-branding with operators”

He goes on to explain how the various acquisitions made in the run up to Ovi Store launching presents another challenge, to ensure the interface is consistent across all the different elements of Ovi.

One of the big differentiators for Ovi Store is operator billing. This means you’ll be able to buy content from the device without requiring a credit card (though currently, as reported elsewhere this week, the US looks likely to be the one who country that won’t have this facility). This is crucial for emerging markets where there is low credit card penetration and payments over mobile are commonplace. Savander highlights the biggest challenge to this:

“Any operator would tell you that billing is the single most complex issue in running a network. That’s what’s holding us back from launching more quickly. Having said that, we will run the Ovi Store on the basis of a single sign-in and one user identity – just like you get on a credit card-based store like iPhone.”

I do like Niklas’s attitude to paid for apps “they have to be free or fantastic”. He also sees a world where it doesn’t necessarily follow that if you don’t pay, you won’t get. He sees a new mobile model emerging and ensuring those involved get revenue is a key part to getting good content on Ovi Store.

Savander also doesn’t see an issue with competing services, suggesting a more relaxed vetting process, perhaps, than other app stores.

Interestingly, he also reveals how each market will have two store variants – one will be an open market version, which will be solely Ovi Store whilst the other will be a co-branded service with an operator.

These are just the highlights, so we highly recommend heading over to Mobile Entertainment to read the full interview. One this is certain though, we’re getting doubly excited about the arrival of Ovi Store.