updated 07:30 am EDT, Tue May 26, 2009
Nokia Ovi Store and ATT
After an early opening for some areas, Nokia today formally launched the Ovi Store worldwide. Accessible both through the web and through a downloadable app, the service is Nokia's own contender against the iPhone's App Store and puts both third-party apps, N-Gage games, podcasts and videos in a central location. It's primarily intended for Symbian S60 phones such as the 5800 XpressMusic as well as most recent Eseries and Nseries smartphones, including the imminent N97.
In addition to the global launch, Nokia says it has finally reached a deal with a US carrier and plans to offer streamlined access to the Ovi Store through AT&T's Nokia phones later this year. It's not said whether AT&T would allow billing for apps through the carrier rather than separately, which has previously been a key obstacle in the US.
The debut is potentially a necessary one for Nokia, which has seen tumbling smartphone market share due largely to the growth of BlackBerries and the iPhone in those regions where one or both competitors have a significant footprint. It also represents the third major, active third-party app store on AT&T's network following Apple's store as well as BlackBerry App World, which launched in April.