SILICON VALLEY, USA - Two weeks ago, I was in Silicon Valley spending time with some of the most important people in our industry – consumers and developers. To demonstrate how consumers are embracing our services and developers are finding them to be good business, we also announced a lot of Ovi stats including daily Ovi Store downloads of 2.3M; I’m pleased to report that we are now exceeding 2.5M downloads a day. In particular, we highlighted a lot of developer-centric news, including the fact that 70 of them have reached at least 1 million downloads, many a lot more than that.
We kicked off the visit with an hour-long Twitter Café – and while there wasn’t nearly enough time or space to answer all the questions that poured in – I was really excited about the engagement and seeing the questions and feedback.
The questions during the Twitter Café, my fireside chat with Om Malik during the GigaOm Mobilize conference and other meet-ups were often tough, but important to address as forthrightly as possible. The why-not-Android question was consistent at virtually every stop, as was Nokia’s response: the new Symbian and MeeGo operating systems represent the best platforms for the smartest devices, and we have no plans to change course.
As for developers, it is clear they appreciate the global scale and local perspective we enable. Global in the sense of the number of countries and consumers we reach (for example, more than 1.3 billion consumers using a Nokia product each day) and local in that Forum Nokia is known to them by individual Nokia people who provide support and local connections.
In fact, it was some of the connections we were able to make during the trip that proved most rewarding. Over dinner with a number of developers, for example, one looking for a cloud storage partner met another that seemed to meet requirements – a great example of what being local is all about. Throughout the two days, we heard a lot of questions about development tools, operator billing and future services. These are top-of-mind things for developers because they have a direct bearing on their business decisions, and ultimate success.
Qt, the development platform for Nokia’s Symbian devices and future MeeGo products, was a hot topic. It addresses the key issue of fragmentation. And apps developed on Qt today have the added bonus of working on Symbian S60 devices that are in market already.
Not all developers have heard about the increased revenue share on operator billing. For some developers, the increase can be as much as 50% more than before. I encourage all developers to check it out. In fact, in markets that offer operator billing and credit cards, downloads via operator billing are 13 times higher. Today, Nokia is the only on-device store that offers operator billing.
Other questions focused on services we might offer in the future. One could sense that there is some concern that Nokia would enter areas that today are provided by third-party applications, as some of our competitors have done. Specifically, Ovi Share and Foursquare were topics. Our approach with Ovi Share and check-in apps is to help third-party developers make these apps better by providing quality support and access to our assets like Ovi Maps. We believe in our developers. They have great talent and a thirst for innovation. Our job is to provide the right devices and services that enable them to provide great apps. We’ll help with programs like the $10M Calling All Innovators contest we recently announced with AT&T.
We have made a lot of progress in making our services more seamless– going from Maps to Messaging to Store should be easy and fluid. It should not be like going from the kitchen to the living room via the front door of your house. We have a lot of work yet to do and to those who pointed that out last week, know that our efforts are focused on making Ovi better and better.
What does the future hold for Ovi? We’ll take our cue from the consumer. We’ll share access to our services for future third-party development and, again, we’ll keep making Ovi better and better. For developers, it’s a great time to create Nokia apps. Let’s keep the conversation going.