Latest ovi store
I read about the Ovi Store version 2.08 update on All About Symbian and fired up my Nokia N8 to see that the update had arrived. After signing in to the Ovi Store I saw that there was one application update available for my device, as shown in the screenshot to the right.
Getting application update notices is essential in today’s mobile world so I am happy to see it finally come to Nokia’s Symbian line. According to the guys at AAS, here is what is improved in the new Ovi Store client:
- Users are able to review and apply updates to apps they’ve downloaded from the Ovi Store. The server now sends version numbers automatically down to the client on the phone.
- Nokia’s algorithm for delivering ‘Top Free’ and ‘Best Sellers’ has been tweaked, to “make app and game listings more relevant for consumers”. Internal rankings are now filtered better by device and region, so that popularity in one niche won’t skew the whole.
- Finding relevant apps has been made easier, with the addition of a “users who downloaded x also downloaded y” system.
- Localization of S60 clients to Arabic Store clients for S60 5th Edition and S60 3rd Edition.
My new Nokia E7 also received the update the first time I launched the Ovi Store on it. I also fired up my Nokia Astound to check for the Ovi Store update and found it too had the update available so now all three of my newer Symbian devices are running the latest Ovi Store client!
I am a huge fan of mobile software and appreciate all of the hard work that developers put into their applications. I received an email from Paul Hinrichsen regarding a project he has been working on in his spare time for quite a while now. GPS navigation is fantastic on Nokia devices and Paul is working to bring indoor navigation to the platform with his current target being the monstrous Mall of America location in Minnesota. The Mall of America has over hundreds of stores so you can imagine why you need help getting around the place.
I do not live near there so I can’t help Paul test out his application in real-life situations. He is particularly interested in seeing how it works with the Nokia Astound. If there are any Nokia Experts readers in Minnesota or who play to visit the Mall of America, please read below and consider helping give feedback to Paul on his application.
I developed a liking for Flash Lite programming and this has since become my hobby. My particular interest lies with the problems of indoor navigation. I entered an indoor navigation app in the Nokia Calling all Innovators Africa competition in 2009 and came 10th out of 125 entries. This app did not provide turn-by-turn directions along the shortest route but simply static map graphics for a 4-level mall having 320 stores.
I have since developed an indoor navigation app targeted at the Mall of America (4-levels and 520+ stores). The app provides turn-by-turn directions along the shortest route as well as reporting on the distances to walk for each leg of the journey – rather like your motor car gps. I haven’t added voice but this will be the next upgrade to the app. Also – being man-alone I don’t have the expertise to research mobile device tracking in an indoor environment so to locate themselves the user simply enters the name of a store at their location. Glad to see though that Nokia are developing a dynamic tracking system. Hoping to one day hook into their technology.
Having developed this in South Africa I haven’t had the opportunity to test it in the Mall itself – however I have confidence in my construction. I don’t claim it will bring you right to the very door of the store that you are seeking but it will bring you close enough to see the store front. I am DESPERATELY looking for someone to test the app in the Mall. I have contacted the Mall itself but they seem rather closed-minded and are not even interested to look at it since it is a “third party app”. I am not necessarily asking you to test the app as I am certain you are very busy and you are probably nowhere near Bloomington Minnesota.
You can find his application for free in the Ovi Store and if you do get a chance to try it out, please leave a review with feedback on its performance. Here are a couple videos so you can see how it works.
I noticed some Nokia people referring to Ovi Maps as Nokia Maps a couple of months ago and today Nokia announced that Ovi services will be rebranded as Nokia services starting with new Nokia devices coming in July and August. There is no planned disruption or discontinuation of services, simply a rebranding of them. I don’t think the Ovi branding ever really caught on in the U.S. and this rebranding may have something to do with the eventual Windows Phone 7 adoption.
Nokia’s EVP and Chief Marketing Officer, Jerri DeVard explains the shift:
We have made the decision to change our service branding from Ovi to Nokia. By centralizing our services identity under one brand, not two, we will reinforce the powerful master brand of Nokia and unify our brand architecture while continuing to deliver compellingopportunities and experiences for partners and consumers alike.
This transition in branding and singular focus sounds like a good idea to me and will reduce the number of questions I get from people about Ovi. I wonder if the Ovi Store will be rebranded as the Nokia Store.
One developer that has been very supportive of the Symbian platform and continues to actively develop and improve its product is Nimbuzz. They just announced version 3.01 and posted the following 9 reasons you should be excited about the update:
- Improved call quality thanks to peer to peer call connectivity.
- More space for your chats for full screen chatting experience.
- Chat bubbles bring an iPhone like chat experience to your (Nokia) Symbian phone.
- Custom wallpapers in the chat screen choose a color or an image from your gallery to display as background for your chats.
- Custom color for the text font in your chat screen
- Call Quality Indicator so you can check the expected call quality before you make a call.
- Free Avatars choose new and exciting avatars for your profile picture from N-World
- Last Seen Online – shows you the last time your friend was seen on Nimbuzz.
- Fast group selection straight from your contact list.
Make sure to read their full blog entry that offers more details for these 9 reasons.
I like the looks of the new chat screen and ability to enlarge the viewable area. I downloaded the update to my Nokia N8 and look forward to testing it out.
I previously mentioned that Nokia asked me to work with them on five reviews for the Ovi Daily Apps site and I wanted to let you all know they posted my review of SugarSync for Symbian this morning. This is a review I have been meaning to write here for quite some time because I have checked out most every cloud sync/storage solution and found SugarSync to be the best, especially for multi-platform guys like myself.
As you can read in my review, SugarSync is available for S60 3rd Edition, 5th Edition, and Symbian^3 devices. You get a whopping 5GB for free with other storage capacities available at reasonable rates. I hope they eventually add streaming capability of music like they do on other platforms, but just having access to files and the ability to get to them from my Nokia N8 is valuable to me. You can’t go wrong giving it a try for free.
Last November I wrote that the Ovi Store was seeing 3 million downloads per day and today Nokia announced they are up to an amazing 5 million downloads per day. This is quite an achievement and on my Nokia N8 I have definitely seen the quality and quantity of apps increasing.
Along with the 5 million per day figures, 158 developers have seen 1 million download each. 15% of the 5 million downloads are happening on the latest Symbian devices, the N8, C6-01, C7, and E7. Another statistic in the press release states that there are about 200 million Symbian users today so if you are a Nokia Symbian fan then you can pretty much rest assured that Symbian will be supported for some time as Nokia is not about to give up on such a huge customer base.
Last month at CES Slacker Radio announced it was coming soon to Symbian devices. I just read a Tweet from the NokiaUS account and saw that Slacker Radio is now available in the Ovi Store. I popped my SIM back into my Nokia N8 and downloaded it immediately. Keep in mind, the initial download to get the software is 1.3 MB so make sure you have a solid connection or are connected via WiFi before downloading.
Keep in mind, Slacker is a service with support for those in the US and Canada so this service is only available for these two countries. I understand many other countries have Spotify so it looks like we finally get a client/service in the US before others
I have been using Slacker Radio on my Android, iOS, and Windows Phone 7 devices for over a year as my primary streaming music client and find it works very well at providing just the right mix for me. I actually have a Slacker sticker on my MacBook Pro since I love the service. The great thing is that favorite stations are synced to your account so you can pick up a different smartphone and listen to your favorites on any device. I like how the client on other platforms lets you cache music for offline listening so you can load up tunes for your next flight and then stream again when you land. This offline caching feature is not yet in this new Symbian client, but we may see it in the future.
This news for Slacker Radio is timed particularly well since Last.fm is going to start charging a monthly fee to stream music.
As stated on the Ovi Store description:
Listen to free personalized radio on your Nokia phone. The award-winning Slacker Radio application gives you access to the entire Slacker music library featuring millions of songs from thousands of artists. Listen to over 130 expert programmed radio stations or create your own custom stations. Learn more about the music you hear by reading the artist bios and album reviews. Slacker Personal Radio is the best way to discover new artists and hear your favorite songs.
Basic or Radio Plus?
The free account you setup with after downloading Slacker Radio gives you full access to Slacker Radio music, but you are limited to 6 song skips per hour, per station, there are some ads, and you get no lyrics. You can upgrade to Radio Plus and pay $3.99/month to have ad free listening, unlimited song skips, complete lyrics, and ABC News Radio. On my N8 this can actually be billed through T-Mobile. I like the service so pay for the Radio Plus upgrade.
UPDATE: OK, I am using it up here in Alaska and when connected via EDGE the music streams flawlessly. However, if I switch to the task manager or another app the music pauses for 1/2 second and then starts back up again. This is going to be real annoying if I am trying to multi-task with Slacker Radio playing. Hopefully this is something they can fix easily enough and soon.
Also, don’t forget my tip that you can Zune Pass music on your N8 and get a taste of what kind of services a Nokia Windows Phone 7 device will provide.
Last year I wrote that the SugarSync cloud storage and sharing service arrived for S60 5th Edition. I was recently sent a note from the SugarSync folks that a version was just released for S60 3rd Edition devices. There are something like 390 million Symbian handsets around the world so there is still a rather large market for apps.
SugarSync gives you 5GB for free with options to upgrade to more storage as well. With SugarSync you can access, manage, and share documents, photos, music, and more stored in the cloud. SugarSync works with Windows, Mac, iOS, Android, and BlackBerry devices too so you get a truly cross platform experience.
You can find SugarSync at the Ovi Store for free. I will need to try it out on the Nokia E73 Mode.
I received an email from Nokia linking to a fun little quiz that gathers data on the apps you use and then tells you what type of app user you are. Visit the What’s your Appitype? page and go through the eight simple questions. Nokia is working with Cornell University sociologist and professor Trevor Pinch on this analysis and as you can see below there are some interesting results for US smartphone owners.
My quiz results
I took the quiz and was told I am a Live Wire. Here is the definition of a Live Wire from the quiz site:
You’re a realist who enjoys technical, outdoor and athletic pursuits. Clever and investigative, you’re sociable, have lots of friends but also seek adventure and relish a good challenge. You’re reliable and productive, and this is reflected in the apps you download which tend to be a mix of health/ fitness, social and travel-related apps.
Interestingly, I would have to say that is just about spot on and very truthful. The quiz also told me the Nokia C7 is my ideal smartphone and that actually is a very attractive device that I would pick up if I didn’t already have a love my orange Nokia N8.
You can check out the Nokia Conversations site for a short description of each App Type. Let us know what you are in the comments.
Study data results
I can be found with 25 to 40 apps on my smartphone, but generally only use about 5 main ones every single day and most are there for those times when I might need them, such as games. I also live in the West region (as described below) and personally do enjoy music applications as I have mentioned here before. Check out some of the data captured so far.
National Key Facts:
- 68 per cent of people in the USA have up to 30 apps on their device, with men more likely to download an app (83 per cent) vs. women (69 per cent).
- The most popular apps to download are social networking (39 per cent), games (37 per cent), music (26 per cent), news/information and utilities (21 per cent).
- The most popular apps people actually use are social networking (32 per cent), games (27 per cent), news/information (19 per cent) and utilities (18 per cent).
- Women (35 per cent) are much more into social networking than men (28 per cent), with the majority of younger users downloading and using these types of app.
- 48 per cent of people like to download apps because they know they’ll benefit their life.
- Most smartphone users frequently rely on apps throughout the day (42 per cent) while a further 14 per cent log on and use them once a day.
- 35 per cent of people use apps they have when at home while 26 per cent use them whilst travelling around their town or city.
- 51 per cent of Americans only download the free apps available for their phone.
Midwest key facts
- 63 per cent of people in the Midwest have up to 20 apps on their device.
- Keen socialisers, those in the Midwest use social networking apps the most (49 per cent) with 15 per cent citing that they could not live without them.
- 46 per cent of people from the Midwest frequently use the apps on their smartphones at various points throughout the day – more than in any other region.
North East key facts
- 49 per cent of those in the North East download social networking apps – more than any other region.
- 45 per cent of people in the North East download gaming apps – more than in any other region.
- 50 per cent of those in the North East like to download apps because they feel that they will benefit their life.
- Almost one in four in the North East (24 per cent) use the apps on their smartphone on their commute to or from work – twice as much as any other region.
West key facts
- 18 per cent in the Western US use music apps – more than in any other region.
- 16 per cent in the Western US download apps two or three times a week – more than in any other American region.
- Almost one in five in Western US (18 per cent) use the apps on their smartphone mostly at work – more than in any other region.
South key facts
- One in four (25 per cent) of those in the Southern portion of the US are likely to download news and information apps – more than in any other American region.
- 53 per cent of those in the South only download the free apps available for their phone.
I love checking out applications on my smartphones and I was pleased when Nokia reached out to me asking if I wanted to help check out some apps and post reviews over on the Ovi Daily App site. Of course I jumped on the opportunity to offer some variety over on the site, along with several other writers, and my first review is now live. Please go and check out my review of four Usablenet optimized web apps and then visit the Ovi Store for over 100 more from them.
At first I was thinking there wouldn’t be much to these apps that are essentially optimized websites. However, the four that I selected to check out are directly applicable to my life and actually offer a greatly enhanced web experiences, all for free. Since the current browser on Symbian^3 devices is still the older S60 browser, it helps to find apps that actually make the browser experience good. Maybe when the new updated browser is released you may find it better to visit the websites for these companies, but given how functional and enjoyable these apps were on my N8 I think I will likely stick with them even after the update.
I particularly like the Dell app where I was able to quickly search out the unlocked Nokia deals. The FedEx one is also handy since I send most of my evaluation gear back via my FedEx account. Do you find any of the Usablenet apps useful?