I’ve been using the latest Android Mytouch phone for the past couple weeks and I wanted to share my experience dealing with the Android Marketplace and how it fares to the recently launched Ovi store.
Things Android Marketplace does better than Ovi:
- With over 1,200 live applications, Android has made it very easy to search and locate whatever apps a user might need. Ovi search (on the phone and store website) has always had major hiccups and I am surprised that Nokia has not taken any actions to address the issues yet. This needs an immediate attention.
- All Android accounts are tied with Google Check-out and this makes secure purchasing just a click away. Obviously operator billing is the better choice but since Ovi has not rolled this out in the US yet, I believe Google Check-out (or for the sake of comparison Paypal with Blackberry App World) offer a user friendly way for customers to purchase apps.
- As much as I hate to say it, but the quality of apps are just much more superior to those found in Ovi store. Many online services and content providers offer native Android apps. Just this week, Amazon launched their latest Android app that essentially allows customers to scan barcodes and search for items in Amazon. When will we see major publishers, gaming properties adopt Ovi?
- Going back to the previous point, Android is not crowded and for developers it is easier to get downloads.
- User Reviews are a key part of any application store. Android has built a very strong review platform that makes it very easy to navigate through reviews. Just this weekend, I purchased 6 paid apps solely based on user reviews. You can also email the developer or in some cases Gtalk/Skype them directly from the marketplace and ask questions. Many of the developers proactively respond to users and provide feedback on their apps. This makes the purchasing more exciting to say the least.
- I am not exactly sure how this works in Ovi store but with a single click I can request a refund of a paid app in Android Marketplace and get my money credited back. I hope it is that easy in Ovi store but maybe somebody can clarify that for me?
This post is in no way to bash Ovi. If you look at Nokia forums or chat with some of the Nokia team on Twitter, you know that they are well aware of the problems and appear to be working on some of these issues. But in my opinion, the one thing that they need to do fast is to improve developer supports and work with publishers of all sizes to get their apps showcased in Ovi and improve the quality of applications available. I’ve had several discussions with Symbian developers over the last few weeks trying to understand the exact pain points and challenges associated with the Ovi store. There are two common themes that I hear from them:
- Developing for Symbian is much more complicated than other platforms.
- Many of the application developers have serious concerns about Ovi store DRM. There simply is no way for a developer to protect their app and avoid a free spread of their application through Ovi. They can potentially lose thousands of dollars in revenue if they get their app ported in Ovi. There is a lot of passion behind this subject and I would rather not comment more on it at this time but if you want to know how Symbian developers really feel about it read here.
Having experienced with itunes, Android, Blackberry App World and Ovi, it is all clear to me that in order for Nokia to legitimately challenge Android and others is to refocus on developers and get on their good side. It is not all about quantity and how fast they can get to 1 billion downloads but rather how satisfied their developers and users are with the program.
Picture Credit to Kalel Koven- Flickr