Written by Mobile

Nokia’s Ovi Store

Now I’ve genuinely been looking forward to a decent competitor to Apple’s iTunes App store, so today’s launch of the Ovi store by Nokia has been something to look forward to.
Sadly, all is not that great with it.
Early in the day there were issues of too many people hitting the servers too frequently. The store was falling over. That’s partially Nokia’s fault and partially not in my view. Yes – lots of people coming from high traffic tech sites like Engadget or Slashdot mean that even the most robust sites can struggle, but this is the biggest mobile phone operator in the world we’re talking about. Nokia really should be able to cope.
Accessing the store can be done in three ways as far as I can see. You can either visit via a PC, visit by going to the site with your mobile’s browser, or use a specially designed app that lets you browse the store.
My first problem was logging in: I have a Nokia account, had a MOSH account, and also have an Ovi account – that is, the Ovi that was there to sync data and let me backup contacts etc. Earlier today, using my current details just didn’t work. That was fixed later in the day, but the site still seems to know very little about me. In particular, it took a while before acknowledging what phone I have, despite me having tied a model to my account previously. Again, that now seems fixed.
OK – never mind all that. What about getting an “application.” As others have noticed, there are a lot of videos and ringtones amidst these apps. And Nokia seems keenest to push it’s various Star Trek related downloads – the worst thing about the recent Star Trek film was the clunky product placement. Is it really worth film companies’ while doing these deals?
From the website on my PC’s browser, there’s a handy “Send to mobile” link that sends a text message to your phone with a direct over-the-air link. The first time I tried it there was a significant delay of about fifteen minutes, but the next time it arrived fairly promptly. But on neither occassion could I download the application. The first time around, I was told that it was no longer available. Well it had been fifteen minutes earlier. There was not a lot I could do.
The second time, it was available, but wanted me to log-in with my registered details. I’d done this on the website anyway, but now I had to do it again on the phone’s browser. But it wouldn’t let me: “Sorry, you cannot sign in at this time. Try again later.”
So no download.
There’s no PC download ability even though I have the requisite cable. They’re pushing over-the-air downloads and I just can’t get them to work for this log-in reason.
While I’m moaning about that, I’d have thought it’d be nice for Nokia’s text messages to come from the “Ovi store” or similar. Instead, they come from “1234.”
There’s one other way of getting to the store. That’s via their application. I know that others either already have the Ovi app pre-installed (on recent phones), or can get to it via the Download! application. I have the latter, but no matter how much refreshing I do, it doens’t make the Ovi app appear. And searching for Ovi on the Ovi store doesn’t seem to show the app itself (not that I’d be able to download it anyway).
So as it stands, I can get to the store one of two ways – but they all route to my mobile browser. But I can’t log in when I get there for no obvious reason preventing me from downloading anything.
Now it’s early days, and some of these problems can be fixed. But really they should have been ironed out during beta testing. I really want someone to take on the Apple app store. I get enormously fed up that people consider the iPhone to be the only smartphone on the market – perhaps alongside the Blackberry. So I can’t tell you how frustrating this all is.
I know they’ll get this sorted out, but how quickly? And will I bother going back.
Others have made their own comments here, here and especially here.
As an aside, isn’t it a ridiculously stupid thing for Palm to make their Pre available solely on O2? That puts it in competition with the iPhone which is also exclusive to that network. Even if, as rumoured, the iPhone goes non-exclusive, that leaves a lot of people on two-year iPhone contracts unable to upgrade, and everyone who already wanted a state of the art smartphone, already on the iPhone.
Surely going to another network would have been best for Palm if they really had to do an exclusive deal?
Or how about this – going on all networks to build market share? It really seems daft deliberately limiting your market share unless you really don’t think you can reach projected sales levels beyond a single network. If Kellogg’s launches a new cereal, they don’t tend to do an “exclusive” deal with Tesco. Not if they want to shift lots of boxes. So why do the same with phones? I know others have done deals in the past, but I don’t mind so much if the Nokia xyz is available “exclusively in black on Orange.” I don’t change my electricity provider because I want to use a Sony Vaio. And I won’t change my mobile supplier just for a handset.