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May 27, 2009

Ovi Store launch – the reaction

GLOBAL“The launch is an utter disaster”. So said Robin Wauters on In contrast, Ewan at Mobile Industry Review ended his launch report with “Good Work Nokia!”. At the risk of sounding biased, I’m going to agree with the latter. Why? Well, let’s look at the stats. 109 countries. Five languages. Fifty handsets. Operator billing in eight countries. A cross-platform service offering a wide range of content. The problem? Not anticipating the speed, volume or numerous locations of users accessing the service.

By yesterday afternoon, many of the initial teething problems were resolved and with servers serving 15 times the traffic they had been in the morning, everything was working just fine. What’s more, the server issues highlighted one key fact – Ovi Store was being accessed by far more people than anyone initially anticipated.

That’s all thanks in part to the speed with which the news spread across the Internet. AllAboutSymbian’s Rafe was one of the first to report the soft launch over the weekend, and has been updating along with colleague Steve ever since (they even rushed out an AllAboutSymbian Insight Podcast which you can listen to here). But that’s just the start with Google News showing in excess of 440 articles written about the launch. Yesterday.

We’ve been through a lot, though not all of them, and picked out some of the more interesting ones here. Along with those mentioned above, you’d do well to take a peek through some of the highlights here.

Andrew Nusca from ZDNet reckoned the launch was low-profile, though not that’d you’d realise from the coverage

“It may not be the most high-profile announcement around, but Nokia’s Ovi Store may affect millions more mobile phone users than Apple’s App Store ever will, 25,000 apps be damned.”

Patricio Robles from EConsultancy recognises the scale of the task in his report

“To be fair to Nokia, launching the Ovi Store isn’t an easy undertaking. Unlike Apple, Nokia has a portfolio of devices that it offers around the world and it serves over 50m phone owners. That means it reasonably faces a lot of challenges that Apple didn’t. There’s no way this global launch like this would be easy for any company.”

Whilst PMP Today reports on the range of handsets that can access the service

“However, the good thing about Ovi Store is that it also provides content for a variety of Nokia phones and not just the 5800 XpressMusic and other new products.”

Stuart Dredge from PocketGamer gives a quick run down on what’s on offer for gamers

“As an example, there are 187 games available for the N95 8GB, and 129 for the 5800 XpressMusic. Using the option to search for ‘Any Phone’ reveals a total of 257 games.”

Kevin Purdy from LifeHacker puts it succinctly for those who already have a Nokia

“Nokia phone owners, you’ve finally got your own place to find useful, creative, productive, useless, and just plain silly apps for your device, as the Ovi Store launches with compatibility for more than 50 phones.”

Dennis Bournique from Wap Review was generally positive about the service itself

“Although most of the initial reviews of the Ovi store have been pretty negative, I like the mobile web version. It’s well designed, easy to navigate, search works well and the download process is relatively free from roadblocks”

Whilst Michael Bettiol from BoyGeniusReport shines a light on the scale of reaction

“Throughout the night our inboxes had been lighting up like the New York skyline with reports that Nokia’s Ovi Store went live across the globe”

Marin Perez from Information Week puts the Ovi Store into context

“While the opening-day jitters are surely a disappointment for Nokia, the launch of the virtual application store puts it on equal footing with its rivals.”

And Tricia Duryee from MocoNews adds some scale

“While every app in Apple’s store works on every iPhone, Nokia’s store at launch is much more complicated. It supports more than 60 devices, comes in five languages and has support for operator billing in eight countries. If any company has the scale and dedication to deal with this potential fragmentation, perhaps it is Nokia”

Stan Schroeder at Mashable looks at what Ovi Store means for developers

“With Symbian still being the leading open mobile platform, I’m sure the Ovi Store will attract a lot of interest from both users and developers.”

Finally, the folks over at leave us with this little insight into what they, and us, will be doing next

“We’re off to spend the last of this month’s pay packet now”

I have to say, some mixed reactions with a lot of negative feeling over the initial serving issues. That’s something I personally can understand. But then I think about the scale of what’s just happened and think, maybe getting it absolutely right from the get go just isn’t possible. At least not on that scale. Quite quickly we saw big improvements yesterday and I reckon that’s a sign of things to come. Yesterday didn’t spell the end of Ovi Store, as much as some doomsayers might suggest. It’s the begining. And what a start!