Yesterday on May 26, mobile handset maker ‘Nokia’ launched its much hyped & awaited service store named ‘Ovi’ (Finish ‘door’) globally. In fact the day May 26 was supposed to be glorious day for Finnish handset maker, but at least as of now after visiting the Ovi Store, I must admit; Nokia has long way to go in providing services to its users (& that too free of cost).
Nokia forayed late into service industry. After a huge dip in handset sales last year with increasing competition from RIM ‘Blackberry’ & Apple ‘iPhone’, Nokia has wisely decided to change its business model & take a plunge into Service Domain. With the launch of Ovi store, which will be available to 50 million Nokia device owners globally across 50 Nokia handsets including forthcoming N97, Nokia has finally come head to head with Apple’s App store. But it will be a real challenge for Nokia, to launch new devices on one side and work on its consolidated software & service business on other side, in coming months.
After visiting Ovi Store (http://ovi.nokia.com), whose launch is termed as ‘perfect disaster launch’ by many people in the industry, I must admit it would have been better if Nokia had sorted out few issues with store services & applications, before launching it globally. It appeared that Nokia is in hurry to go head to head with Apple for long, but this doesn’t justify the launching blunders made on global scale. Though official site says ‘Customers can visit the Ovi Store through their browsers to immediately begin downloading, personalizing and making their devices smarter…’ some of the applications are just not working as per expectations & for rest we need to wait for some more time.
You need to officially register with Ovi store to start using its services. Registration is simple & straightforward without much detail to fill up. Of course the main attraction is ‘Ovi Store’, there are some other value additions which you may like to explore. The one I liked the most is Email service. With clean, neat & faster interface design ‘emails’ just works perfectly, though I haven’t tested it with attachments. Then ‘Calendar’ comes handy if you need to keep track of your schedules. Another interesting service launched under the bundle is ‘Nokia Maps’. Though it appeared bit slow at the moment, it comes handy if you are accessing it via your handset while moving.
The site also claims that ‘In the available countries, customers can update their devices with the Ovi store mobile application, by selecting the Ovi Store icon in the download folder on their devices. The mobile client is available in English, German, Italian, Russian, and Spanish and supports operator billing in UK, Germany, Australia, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Singapore & Spain’ . Also globally credit card billing is available through the mobile application and the mobile website. Nokia is planning to expand its service to remaining countries, few more languages and devices throughout the year.
The best part of having an Ovi account is that you could simultaneously play games online (on your mobile) once you have finished sending work-emails for the day. Branded under name ‘N-gage’, you could play ‘Tetris’, ‘Worm World’ & even ‘Age of Empires’ online with your friends. Nokia also lists out top five games to play & share in sidebar. A quiet happening place to check out.
Along with N-Gage you could actually share photos, files and even download unlimited songs at store. I have tried uploading few photos & it works just fine. If you are using Nokia Xpressmusic 5800 ’Comes with Music’ phone, you have arrived at right place to download songs free of cost. For others, you need to pay for downloads. It was really heartening to see some good ‘Bollywood’ collection of songs (Devdas, Sunidhi Chouhan etc), along with regular U2 & Kiki Dee etc. I was prompted to spend some time with ’Introduction to Bollywood’ but as time was running short I decided to visit it later to explore. It is still not clear, how Nokia would generate revenues from downloading original soundtracks, when I could get almost many of them free of cost somewhere else on web.
One more aspect of Ovi Store which needs some attention is projection of Ovi as one stop shop for all free & paid content downloads. Though site claims that thousands of the content industry’s biggest names along with independent content developers are distributing their media, applications & games through Ovi store, we need to watch it closely for its content related services in coming months. If you are a content provider & application developer you could directly sign up to distribute contents through Ovi store by visiting http://publish.ovi.com.
Finally coming back to Ovi store, while I was trying to register my mobile device, even after number of tries to register, it failed to add up my device. Even My To-Do list, Events & Notes section was showing ‘Reload to check details’ despite few reload attempts. I tried downloading few Wallpapers & Ringtones, but it seems that the registration process with Ovi webpage isn’t foolproof yet. I got message to verify my mobile number in Inbox, but link provided in the message doesn’t seem to be opening. So alas, I decided to close store without much success with application usage or even without successfully registering for services.
Though there are number of issues with registration and services offered, my advice to you; Just wait & Watch. It might happen on very first day where nothing seems to be working fine at start, but as time passes by we would get to see some of best services offered under one roof (single interface) for Nokia device owner. But as of now, just drop in without keeping much expectation.