Nokia Ovi Store vs Apple App Store – an indepth comparison

Since Nokia announced the Ovi store at the Mobile World Congress this year, speculations have been rife about the success of this store in comparison to the already well-established and popular App Store from Apple. The N97 will be the first phone integrated into the service, with the remaining phones following when the system goes live in May.

We take a deeper look at the speculations and give you an insight into what’s in store for the end-user and beneficiary of what is clearly the big software battle between two giants.

First the similarities: Both Apple and Nokia offer a 70% revenue share to developers.

Differences: Apple began its App Store as a request from the public and developers to be allowed to develop products for the iPhone while Nokia is opening an application store to stream revenue into the company with a share of app sale prices, and to potentially push the sales of cellphones and smartphones.

Apple’s services are for a single handset, the iPhone; while Nokia’s is for dozens of different handsets with two different Symbian OS’s aboard.

The Ovi Store would offer services which include Ovi Music Store, N-Gage Gaming Service, Ovi App Store, Mashable Widgets and Nokia Maps. Think of it as iTunes, App Store and Google Maps combined with a couple more services. Then there’s Nokia’s “comes with music” service, which seems to have stirred up a degree of excitement. It’s simply a music-delivery system for Nokia phones.

Nokia has spent the bulk of their time on the Ovi Store developing what you might call a “Relevancy Engine.” What this does is solve a significant problem: how do you find the stuff you actually want? Nokia’s answer is to use their sophisticated engine to ensure that stuff you’re interested in gets pushed “to the surface” so you can find it more easily. By far the biggest problem with Apple’s Store is that it’s getting harder and harder to find the apps you actually want in a sea of junk.

Ace up Nokia’s sleeve:

Customisation to the last bit: a user gets what THEY want. Nokia’s Ovi Store works on the logic that a simple “most popular” is not enough for you to look through numerous apps. “This is not just a place to find applications,” Niklas Savander, executive vice president of services and software for Nokia said. “It’s a smart store. That is not just for smartphones. It actually suggests things you might like and adds social location dynamics to show you relevant applications. And it shows you what your friends have bought. And it changes the inventory based on where you are.”

What works: When you view the Ovi Store on your Nokia device, you will only be presented with content and apps that are actually compatible with your device.

What your friends like: If you like, you can toggle a feature (you can also toggle it off) that allows the Ovi Store to broadcast your downloads to your friends and also to see what your friends have downloaded. Think of it like finding out about good movies or music by talking to your friends. If you have a particular contact you know is really into games, for example, you can go and see what games she has downloaded recently and get them yourself.

Where you are: If your Nokia phone can determine your location, the Ovi Store will present content that’s relevant to it. Just landed in a brand new city? The Ovi Store may present you with a city guide or a language translator.

Although Ovi and iTunes services are aiming at different markets: Apple to its smaller but brand-loyal hoard of smartphone users, and Nokia at countless millions of its own users, Ovi with big name launch partners already signed including Facebook, MySpace, EA, Qik etc is eager to take on Apple.

Who will be successful? Time will tell!