Apple's success with the App Store has pushed Nokia to create something similar for their Symbian based smartphones. Nokia has had limited success in the US and their phones are not always even considered to be smartphones but regardless of what you call them, you can install third party applications on them - it's just really, really difficult. Globally, there are probably a hundred million Symbian Series 40 and 60 devices in use and if Nokia can create a simple way for these users to find and install applications, it would be huge.
According to today's press release by Nokia, that is exactly what they will do and the "Ovi Store" will open in May. The press release makes it sound like Ovi Store is a guaranteed success, but if you read carefully, there is one interesting detail hidden in there:
"Nokia's global developer support program, will also continue to support, educate and challenge its more than 4 million registered developers"
That's right, there are already 4 million (!) registered Symbian developers out there, and they have been around for years. And what has Nokia got to show for this?
If this is what 4 million Symbian developers can accomplish then perhaps there is something more fundamentally wrong with Symbian than the lack of an App Store? No matter how good the Ovi Store is going to be, it will not make developing software for Nokia phones any easier.
There has been much talk about how great Apple's App Store is, but Apple's success with the App Store is ultimately based on how good their Software Development Kit (SDK) is and how easy it is to write great software for the iPhone.
So in May, if the Ovi Store doesn't quite measure up to the App Store, this just might be the reason.