Nokia is certainly not the first cell phone company that comes to mind when the topic of App Stores is raised. Here in the U.S., it’s probably not even the second, third or fourth company that comes to mind. But as the market for mobile apps continues to explode globally, Nokia is quietly proving it still has plenty of gas left in the tank.
Nokia announced a new milestone for its Ovi Store Thursday morning: 3 million downloads per day. The impressive milestone comes with just 18,000 content titles currently available in the Ovi Store for Nokia’s most popular devices. It also comes just over two months after the 2 million daily download mark was reached. This rapid growth rate is showing no signs of slowing, as interest in Symbian continues to build on both sides of the app equation — users and developers. Nokia needs to appeal to both groups in order to maintain success with the Ovi Store, and so far the company’s efforts are working. In the last year, over 400,000 new developers have joined Nokia’s developer program, and the Finnish company’s Qt development tools have been downloaded more than 1.5 million times.
Nokia is very focused on the success of its developer partners, Michael Bramlage, Director of Media at Nokia, told BGR. Bramlage, whose team is responsible for both the Ovi Store user experience and product management on the developer side, joined Nokia just before the Ovi Store launched. The company’s aim, Bramlage said, is to create a sustainable business for as many developers as possible rather than watch a small number of successful developers rise to the top.
But there have been some stand-out success stories of course, with almost 100 developer catalogs having achieved the 1 million download mark. One developer catalog has amassed over 45 million downloads so far. Some developers have even found more success in the Ovi Store than they have in Apple’s App Store. “Without any promotion or marketing dollars, in a few weeks we’ve hit 200,000 downloads in Ovi Store faster than we did with [Apple’s] App Store,” said Anton Gauffin, CEO of BLStream, creator of the game Crazy Hamster. “We’re very positively surprised with what we’ve seen on Ovi, and we’re on track to exceed our App Store performance even though we’ve been there longer.”
Nokia appears confident in the belief that these successes are just the beginning. The company expects to bring up to 50 million new users to the Symbian platform with upcoming devices like the Nokia E7, and all those users will need plenty of titles to sate their app lust. Bramlage and his team are also hard at work as they prepare to launch a new version of the Ovi Store that will be available on upcoming Symbian devices in the near future. The redesigned Ovi Store, which the team hopes to also bring to some older Symbian devices, will feature a revamped UX that aims to improve the overall user experience in several key areas.
Nokia has a long way to go before it catches up to the staggering app ecosystems its competitors Apple and Google have built, but the world’s top cell phone manufacturer certainly seems up to the challenge.