This month’s expected launch of Nokia’s Ovi Store will be the biggest application store debut to date, featuring a catalogue of 20,000 items, according to a Forbes report. In comparison, notes the report, Apple and RIM launched their stores with a few hundred apps, whilst Google’s opened with a few dozen. First announced at the GSMA Mobile World Congress last February, the store will feature a broad selection of digital content, including an entire category of short videos and ‘mobisodes.’ The store will be pre-loaded on the company’s new flagship handset, the N97, before July, and be included in phones released in the future. Consumers who own other, recent Nokia phones will also be able to download the store from the Web onto their handsets.
While Nokia is making more content available, not all items will be applications. The store will consolidate Nokia’s various existing download properties, including its Mosh mobile social network. GPS will be used to filter content by city and locality, marking a sharp contrast to the first app stores. Nokia will give 70 percent of all download revenue to developers, the same share offered to developers by Apple, Google and Microsoft. Nokia is hoping to replicate the success of Apple’s App Store, which launched in June last year and currently offers 40,000 apps and has recently hit the one billion download milestone. However, Nokia is facing some resistance from US operators in receiving full support for the Ovi Store. Operator billing will not be available in the US, meaning that – unlike in countries such as Australia, Britain, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Singapore and Spain – US consumers will not be able to pay through telecoms operator bills for software or media bought from the store.