Nokia is losing its mojo

by Volker Weber

ovistore

Without much fanfare Nokia today made the OVI store available. Maybe they thought nobody would notice, but the world did. And I am lost for words, because I cannot find anything nice to say about it.

Here is what I tried. I went to the website, logged in, selected my current phone, and browsed the catalog. There isn't really much there. A far cry from even the Android market, let alone the iTunes store. What would you expect to find at the top of the list? Clients for Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, etc etc. Nothingham.

This morning, the store listed the awful ringtone from the product placement in the Star Trek movie as the most favorite free item. Well, what can you do wrong? There is no preview/prelisten, so I selected to install instead. The store sends an SMS to the phone with a download link. The link takes you back to the website, where you have to login again. On the phone, no less. Then you can download the mp3 file. So it took me about 5 minutes for a simple ringtone install. Yeah, that is going to kick Apple's ass, right. Well, I did send the same link to the Android phone and the store said the Android phone would not be compatible with the store. Not compatible to view a website, or play an mp3? Puleeze.

Nokia-E75_black_05a_lowres

While I was fooling around with the OVI store, I also played around with the E75. Good news: Symbian is getting better. Bad news: it's falling behind, rapidly. Example: the new operating system brings back access point groups in the form of "destinations". You can tell it to use several access points in order of priority. In theory you could assign your wifi access points higher priority than your carrier's access points. In practice that does not help you since all the applications on the phone force you to pick an access point and not a destination. If that is your home wifi, you will lose connectivity as soon as you leave the house. Same old, same old. Android has nailed it, iPhone has nailed it, only Symbian still struggles with it.

It's not all bad. The setup assistant does a great job configuring mobile access points, and needed nothing more than my Google mail address and my password to make mail work. But it took me the better part of an hour to also sync my contacts and my calendar. And I am not exactly clueless about those settings.

My verdict is: Nokia is improving. But not fast enough to avoid being steamrollered by a much faster competition. After five hours I put the SIM back into the Android and keep testing the E75 as a device that does not leave the confines of my private network. Which is sad, because the hardware is really nice.

Comments

They build such nice hardware. It would be great if they join OHA/Android. But I don't seen this coming anytime soon.

Mariano Kamp, 2009-05-27

Others seem to agree with you: Nokia Ovi Store Launch Is A Complete Disaster.

Jan-Piet Mens, 2009-05-27

Mariano, that is not going to happen, now that they invested even more into Symbian. It's a pity.

Jan-Piet, I don't find it so damaging that the store was slow and dysfunctional yesterday. What I find bad however is that there is so little support for the platform. I am sure they can come upwith some good looking numbers, but I don't find any software that might interest me. And a "24" ringtone for 2.99 does not tickle my fancy.

Volker Weber, 2009-05-27

Concerning the connectivity though, there is a solution that somewhat solves the problem. I am using Birdstep SmartConnect which defines 'virtual access points' which are mapped to what you refer to as 'destinations'. Applications see the virtual access points just as the native ones.
That solves the problem for me: if any of my WiFi connections is available, with the default virtual access point, WiFi's going to be used before the mobile data network. And I have another group with only the WiFi APs which I use for apps that I know are data intensive and I only want them to connect over free APs (e.g. podcasts fall under this category).
The seamless handover is something that I don't really need, I must admit. I don't have a data flat rate, so I avoid unnecessary data while on mobile networks (don't get me started why that's the case, please!)...

Ragnar Schierholz, 2009-05-27

But I fully agree with your assessment of the Ovi store: Lots of themes, ringtones, games and more such stuff. Real applications? Hardly any... :-/

Ragnar Schierholz, 2009-05-27

SmartConnect does not show up in my Download! folder, as it is supposed to. Nor in OVI Store. Out of luck. Maybe Nokia thinks they have solved the issues with Destinations, and just forgot to also tell its apps to use Destinations.

Volker Weber, 2009-05-27

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