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Nokia’s Marco Argenti: “250k users joining Ovi every day”

I sat down with Nokia’s Mr Ovi Marco Argenti at the MEF Americas Content & Commerce event in Miami recently. I’ve got a few video episodes of the exchange coming shortly but I also asked Marco if he’d be up for a quick Q&A ahead of that.

I’m delighted that he said yes so here we go…

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Q: First, could you give us an overview of your role at Nokia? Who are you, what is it that you do?

Marco: I am Vice President of Content and Consumer Engagement at Nokia. My role is to ensure we engage consumers with great content and great experiences through Ovi store, Ovi Maps, Ovi Music and Ovi Messaging. My team and I work with leading content providers to create and provide compelling mobile experiences which seamlessly marry your real world with your virtual mobile world.

Q: You spoke heavily about the importance of ‘context’ in mobile — what do you mean by this?

Marco: Context is most definitely king in the mobile space. In fact, I say that context is the new URL right now. The virtual world doesn’t need a web address. What would have been a URL previously is now replaced with ‘context’; it’s where you are, what you like and what you want to do that determines what’s happening and what’s available around you, what your friends are suggesting, what’s creating buzz and interest. We’re continually working to deliver you the information and experiences you want here and now, via your mobile, to bring together your real world and your virtual world into one seamless, real time experience.

Q: What are you doing to bring more of a contextual experience to your customers? How will that manifest itself for the average person purchasing a Nokia handset in 2011?

MarcoThe Gig Finder App is a perfect example of a context-rich, real time experience delivered straight to you via your Nokia device. The App uses Ovi Maps to locate exactly where you are, while a recommendation engine searches your on-device Ovi Music collection to push you real-time information on gigs and music events which are local to you. This virtual experience is then brought straight into your real world with easy on-device ticket purchase, maps to locate the gig, and the ability to check-in and share your experience via social networks while you’re there.

This is just one example of how we’re leveraging context to deliver powerful experiences to our customers. Our new version of Ovi Maps, just being released, takes this concept even further by integrating local events, guides, reviews and reservations from partners such as Lonely Planet, Trip Advisor, Time Out and giving you the ability to select a place, book it, and get direction how to drive/walk or use public transport to get there – all seamlessly integrated into the experience.

Where part does Qt play across Nokia’s device range?

Marco: Our move to a unified Qt / QML developer framework will enable our ecosystem of developers to develop once and distribute to a huge variety of Nokia devices, so Qt is going to play a very important role in driving great experiences for our consumers, while continuing to drive the business opportunities for our partners.

Talking of Qt, How is the Ovi Store performing? Could you give us a run down on some recent highlights?

Marco: We’re coming to the end of a great year for Ovi Store. We’ve seen our daily downloads hit 3.5 million, a million more than in mid-September,  and more than 250,000 new users signing up to Ovi every day. Better still, our ecosystem is getting richer and we’ve seen more than 1.5 million downloads of our Qt SDK this year, and more than 400,000 developers signing to Nokia in the past 12 months or so.

Finally — in a nod to the forthcoming Festive Season — I couldn’t let you go without this question: What gadget(s) will be in your stocking this year?

Marco: I’ll be giving my wife a Nokia N8 (I’m safe saying this here as she works in another industry!) , and I’ll be giving myself a brand new pair of Nokia BH-905 headphones with active noise cancellation – perfect for cranking out the music flying!

And, slightly predictable I know, but what third-party Ovi apps have come to your attention recently?

Marco: I love games, and some of the new titles available for the N8 are quite impressive and a lot of fun to play. Angry Birds Season from Rovio which is now a classic, Galaxy on Fire from Fishlabs and Avatar from Gameloft are at the top of my personal list.  In terms of evergreens, Swype (a gesture based text entry) and Rompl – a music remix application – and Shazam – recognizing which music is playing in the background and allowing you to download it from Ovi – remain some of my all time favorites.
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Brilliant — thank you for taking the time Marco!

Standby for Marco’s videos coming shortly…

By Ewan

Ewan is Founder and Editor of Mobile Industry Review. He writes about a wide variety of industry issues and is usually active on Twitter most days. You can read more about him or reach him with these details.

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