Nokia Finally Releases Ovi Application Store

Finnish Mobile Behemoth Nokia is following in the footsteps of Apple, Android and Blackberry by finally releasing Ovi, its application store, in Australia, Singapore and Ireland.

A formal UK launch is set to happen within the next few days and when the service will be fully operational, up to 50 million Nokia phone users will be able to download and install games and applications straight to their handsets.

The list of compatible handsets is limited to 50 although Nokia's mobile selector offers a whopping 125 mobiles. Unsurprisingly, not all mobile phones have the same application base, for the 5800 Xpressmusic for example, there are 666 items currently available both as paid and free content; sadly most of those are paid for.

Operator billing is supported in the United Kingdom while credit card billing will be accessible worldwide, which paves the way for a slew of opportunities including micropayment, try before you buy apps and freemium models.

Nokia will be hoping to emulate Apple whose customers have already downloaded more than one billion apps since it was launched and could generate around one billion dollars worth of revenues globally. Nokia is expected to snap 30 percent of takings on applications that are sold on the site.

Although the Finnish company has been selling around the tune of 400 million handsets a year (compared to Apple's 20 million or so), Nokia has been struggling to compete with the iPhone at the very high end of the market where margins are high and ARPU (average revenue per user) equally stratospheric.

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Customers can go to to start downloading content via their Nokia devices immediately. That said, the website was very slow this morning, which ironically could be a good sign for Nokia. Tero Ojanpera, Executive Vice President of Nokia Services said in a statement that "Ovi Store is open for business and we've stocked the shelves with both local and global content for a broad range of Nokia devices, [it] makes shopping for content and applications easy and fun for feature phone and smartphone owners alike."

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