Nokia Launches Answer To Apple's App Store

Nokia's Ovi virtual application store can access more devices than its rivals and will use social networking and location to offer relevant apps.
Nokia's answer to Apple's App Store rolled out to a bumpy start, as the company's debut of the Ovi Store was plagued with problems.

The over-the-air mobile content store was launched late Monday night, and users reported issues such as problems signing into their accounts, lack of applications, and overall sluggishness.

"Shortly after launching the Ovi Store at 2 a.m. ET, we began experiencing extraordinarily high spikes of traffic that resulted in some performance issues for users accessing and," Nokia said in a blog post. "We immediately began to address this issue by adding servers, which resulted in intermittent performance improvements. We apologize for any inconvenience this may have caused Ovi Store users and encourage you to continue giving us feedback as we develop the service further."

While the opening-day jitters are surely a disappointment for Nokia, the launch of the virtual application store puts it on equal footing with its rivals. Apple has gained the most attention with its successful App Store, but Android, BlackBerry, and Windows Mobile already have launched over-the-air stores or will soon.

Nokia said its advantages will be its global reach and the store's integration with other data. The Ovi Store is accessible by more than 50 million devices, including the Nokia N97, which is far more than its rivals can reach. Additionally, the company will utilize social networking and location-based information to suggest relevant mobile content.

The store is now available in multiple languages and countries, and it can be accessed at through a Nokia browser. The company also announced an agreement with AT&T to make the Ovi Store available to the carrier's customers in the United States later this year.

Most companies are just starting the hard work of mobilizing workforces by bringing the software they use to smartphones. InformationWeek analyzed this issue in an independent report, and it can be downloaded here (registration required).