Last month I published this post:
Quite a lot of people contacted me to ask if I was feeling ok.
Normally I’m a bit of a Nokia-kicker, as apposed to a Nokia cheerleader.
I kick because I care.
I’ve had a trial Nokia N97 for the past week now and I’ve been using it as my primary device. I am pretty much delighted with it. (Read my thoughts here).
For a serious Nokia fan, or a serious mobile genius, the N97 works — and it works very well.
The first mobile device to have the Ovi Store pre-loaded is, of course, the Nokia N97.
The device itself also comes preloaded with QIK, RealPlayer, JoikuSpot, Bloomberg, Amazon, Facebook, Hi5, Youtube, AP News and Boingo. Pretty good.
If you’re a mobile genius, finding and adding new apps for your N97 is a reasonably straight forward process. Find the app on the web, bluetooth it to your handset, install it… or navigate to the provider’s website. Or head over to the N97 page on GetJar. There are tons of ways.
But, what about Ovi?
Well the selection is rubbish.
Is this a problem, given the mobile geniuses using the N97?
Well, yes. Not every customer of the N97 is going to be a raving mobile genius. Some of them are going to be actual customers. In fact, let’s be honest — nearly all of the N97 users on the planet are going to be end-consumers with a soft spot for Nokia.
They’re the ones who are, right now, browsing the 3UK website and thinking that a Nokia N97 for free, on an 18/month £35/month contract, sounds pretty good, thank you very much.
And they’ve read all about this mobile applications business. They’ve seen the full screen iPhone application advertisements in the Daily Mail. They’ve seen the iPhone ‘there’s-an-app-for-that’ TV spots. They’ve been one of the onlookers crowding around their friend whilst he shows off some half-useful £0.59 iPhone app.
The expectation is built.
Not once did this prospective N97 customer think that Nokia would deliver a substandard offering. He — like everyone else — assumes Nokia will, obviously, get it right.
Until, that his, he finds the Ovi icon on his phone and presses it.
Then the reality is completely shattered.
He’s presented with the following default recommendations:
That’s what the billion dollar giant, Nokia, was able to deliver to you.
Some news, some bollocks wallpapers/film clips from months ago, and one or two apps. The Scalado one is perhaps worth a look. The news ones, well, yeah. Obviously.
Let’s click away from ‘recommendations’ and check out ‘applications’.
Get ready, it’s bollocks…
Yup… your eyes are not playing tricks. It’s the same ‘recommended’ list. Only it’s got a featured app at the top.
I won’t bore you by listing the ‘recommended’ or ‘top 20’ from the iPhone platform.
So the Ovi Store is working. I’m pleased that it is. But the contents … that needs some significant work.
Why is the range so paltry?
Because it’s down to the market. It’s all about the market. Anyone can submit an app.
Well, the market’s said no, thank you.
The market’s taken a look and thought, ‘shit, this is pretty hard’.
The market’s recognised that the products, tools and services available for developing on the Nokia store are simply not good enough to warrant attention. The market’s on iPhone. Palm. Android.
The market isn’t on Ovi.
And that’s a real, real problem.
What should Nokia do about it?
1. Fix the development materials. Make it super, super, SUPER easy to develop for Nokia. I should be able to create a simple application in 10 minutes. Whatever Nokia’s team of talented chaps respond to this point, the answer is quite simply: No. You haven’t got it right, yet.
2. If you’re serious — and I mean properly serious — about the Ovi Store, set aside $30m. Rent one warehouse in London, one in New York, one in San Francisco and one in Paris.
Each warehouse will hold 100 developers. Open to anyone. You just have to prove you’re talented and you’ve got a good idea for developing for Nokia.
Each developer is paid £3,500 per month on contract to cover their basic costs. They invoice the warehouse and take care of their own tax. In order to secure their place, they join on a 30-day trial. During this trial they need to develop one free application and submit it to the Ovi Store. The application must meet a reasonable criteria set by the warehouse council. i.e. it’s got to add value, some how. After submitting the first app, developers then adopt a 2 month rolling contract — with the provision being they have to create a new (paid of unpaid) application every two months.
On application to the warehouse council of mobile geniuses, developers can get permission to band together to work on approved projects. But generally speaking, each developer works on his own.
Everything in the warehouse — internet, desks, chairs, coca cola, pizza, that’s all paid for.
Do that in London, Paris, New York and San Francisco.
So let’s just cost that out on the back of a fag packet.
Developer cost per month: 3,500
Total developer cost: 1.4m
(400 developers x 3,500 each)
Cost per warehouse, per month: 100,000
Total warehouse cost: 400,000
(4 x warehouses @ 100k each)
Total cost per month: 1.8m
Total cost per year: 21.6m
You’d want to commit to it for, say, 3 years.
So total budget: 64m. Pounds, dollars, euros, whatever.
Now at first glance, that looks expensive. Very expensive. Crazy, especially when Apple-get-it-free.
But that’s what we need to make the market. People can’t afford to develop for Nokia. They simply can’t. It’s cheaper, MUCH, MUCH cheaper to develop for other platforms. Indeed, even providing ‘easy’ how-to information for Nokia developers isn’t necessarily going to help things. Nokia’s platform is *complicated*.
So stick with me.
Let’s assume that, over 3 years, Nokia makes … 150m phones capable of using/accessing the Ovi Store, right?
If you divide 150m phones by the 64m developer warehouse cost, that equates to roughly £2.34 (if we’re working in pounds) per handset.
Expensive when you’re looking at profit margins and so on.
But if you want to compete…
What do you think?
Should Nokia simply try and make it a-bit-easier for developers to understand how to program? Should Nokia wait and hope the market changes?
Or should Nokia adopt a developer warehouse kind of concept and really help stimulate the industry?
I for one would quit everything and help Nokia manage this developer warehouse concept if the opportunity arose.