Nokia launched its new mobile app store yesterday, Ovi Store, to howls of derision from users. The general hoo-hah centred around the speed of the service, which in the eyes of many, made the launch a total disaster. Yes, it was very, very slow for a while, but that’s par for the course given the amount of hype the app store had received before. It’s worth bearing in mind also that the worldwide release actually took place ahead of schedule. The hole-picking has continued in the first 24-hours of Ovi Store’s life – not enough content, no trial versions, flawed category system, users can only give programs ratings of between one and three stars, etc. True, these glitches and oversights give Ovi Store a less-than polished feel, but is it really all that bad?
Ever the optimist, I wouldn’t regard the Ovi Store as an unmitigated disaster and managed to find some things about it that I actually quite like. For instance, it’s a lot more open than the walled iPhone App Store. You can get download links sent directly to your phone from any computer, send to a friend, or install it directly on the device. Once downloaded you can launch the app immediately without leaving the browser (of course iPhone users wouldn’t understand the concept of running multiple apps simultaneously). The fact that Ovi Store supports operator billing with many networks means buying apps is much less hassle than with an iTunes account. The user interface isn’t as bad as many people are making out. I like the fact that screenshots are displayed for all programs and the ‘related programs’ section is useful too.
Let’s not forget that Ovi Store has only been going for a day, so we shouldn’t condemn it to death just yet, especially when it shows signs of promise. Given time, glitches will be ironed out and big-name mobile developers like Google and Yahoo! will come on board. In terms of being a disaster, I think the Ovi Store is more like falling off a lilo than the sinking of the Titanic.