Nokia opens Ovi store, finally, with glitch

Nokia’s Ovi Store finally opened worldwide yesterday, but not without a glitch which meant users could not access the site for an extended period.

Nokia issued an apology  for the problem, blaming it on high demand.

“Shortly after launch... we began experiencing extraordinarily high spikes of traffic that resulted in some performance issues,” Ovi store marketing chief Eric John said. “We immediately began to address this issue by adding servers, which resulted in intermittent performance improvements.”

The long-awaited launch of Nokia’s response to the Apple and RIM stores also met with some negative reviews.

Influential blog TechCrunch called it a “complete disaster”, reporting that applications suddenly disappeared from the inventory and that the user experience was too complicated, with some basic search queries, like “games”, generating zero results. Another blog listed out “25 mistakesin the new site.

Announced during Mobile World Congress 2009 in mid-February, Nokia said the Ovi Store was available to an estimated 50 million devices worldwide.

It is optimized for more than 50 devices in the Nokia portfolio, including the forthcoming Nokia N97. It promises a customized user experience determined by factors like personal contacts and physical whereabouts, which Nokia calls “social location”.

Consumers can activate social discovery features to receive updates and recommendations on downloads enjoyed within their social networking circles--in addition, Ovi Store will present content and applications tied to the user's present location.

The Ovi mobile client is available in English, German, Italian, Russian and Spanish, with operator billing supported in Australia, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Russia, Singapore, Spain and the United Kingdom.

During last month's Nokia Developer Summit 2009 conference in Monte Carlo, Nokia said Ovi Store is a critical component in its evolution beyond its traditional role as a handset manufacturer into what Forum Nokia head Rob Taylor called “a solutions-focused company.”

Nokia executive vice president of services Tero Ojanperä added that the company ultimately plans to offer applications optimized for all of the devices in its catalog, and will strive to foster a developer environment that cuts across platforms and leverages a large number of handsets.

“We will work to make sure [Ovi Store] is not only a play for the high-end, but also for the low-end,” Ojanperä promised. “Everyone loves apps. You love to have more in your phone. Content, in the end, is the only thing that matters.”

For more on the Ovi Store launch:
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