OVI store – a competitor?

Nokia today launched it’s OVI store, an attempt by the company to jump on the tidal wave of success that is the Apple Store (along with about a half a dozen other imitators). Many industry pundits are touting it as some sort of competitor, but I’m afraid that’s an uphill battle, and one they’re never going to win – not by a long shot!

This is not necessarily a bad thing, and the success of OVI store should not be judged against Apple’s App Store, instead the success of OVI store should be judged on how well it serves the market that is Nokia mobile phones… a group of hardware far more diverse than anything Apple has to deal with!

Being a Nokia owner myself (can’t afford an iPhone and detest the G1 hardware!), I hopped onto this new store for a look around. Nice simple interface, quickly got me browsing apps that suit my hardware – applause for the use of html/css instead of flash – obviously this is driven by the need to work on the browser in their phones, but a nice touch anyway.

$16 for a twitter client? Unfortunately, it all fell apart when I saw the prices! Who are they kidding? A game like Touch Physics on the iPhone costs $3.99 and gives hours of gorgeous, fluid gameplay. Games on my Nokia feel pathetic by comparison, yet on OVI store I’m being asked to fork over between $6.60 and $12 for crummy games that bore me after 5 minutes! Then there’s some ‘City Guide’ travel apps which are (probably not) selling for over $30! They want $16 for a twitter client?!? You have got to be joking!! Who is making these pricing decisions?

Lonely Planet city guides at least represent fair value at $8. Weirdly, this compares favourably to the same guide on the App Store, which can be had for $18.99. Perhaps this is an acknowledgement of the distinctly poorer user experience offered by Nokia’s hardware… who knows?