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Ovi Store overtakes Apple in key markets as CSeries looms

By CAROLINE GABRIEL

Published: 26 January, 2010

READ MORE: Nokia | App Store | Handset | Symbian

Nokia may try to steal at least a tiny rumble of Apple's thunder by launching its long awaited CSeries phones this week. These will be mainly targeted at emerging markets like Indonesia, building on the success of the firm's Ovi Store in such regions - it has recently overtaken Apple App Store in key territories in Asia and Latin America, just months into its launch.

The Finnish giant announced a new branding plan last July, and promised two new ranges - the XSeries for smartphones and the CSeries for feature and media handsets.


Two 'X' products have already launched, the X3 and X6, but details of actual CSeries designs have remained elusive. Nokia may look to rename some existing models, to rationalize its branding, as well as adding new phones. According to various leaks, there will initially be two CSeries designs, the C3 and C5.

These will be heavily focused on Nokia's strongest growth market, affordable webphones for emerging economies where the mobile device will be the main way to access the internet. Indeed, most of the leaked information has come from one of the most promising of those territories, Indonesia, whose regulator has filed documents referring to a quad-band GSM gadget with Bluetooth and Wi-Fi, the C3, plus an HSPDA/Bluetooth phone, the C5. Both will be heavily oriented to web services with strong browsers and access to the Ovi Store.

Nokia's scale, distribution channels and efficiencies give it a massive headstart in emerging markets compared to pure smartphone rivals. It is looking to leverage this to help its fledgling attempt to reinvent itself as a software and web apps player. While the Ovi umbrella brand, and its associated store, have struggled to make a major impact in the developed markets against Apple App Store, they are performing well in newer economies, partly because Nokia is the only major to create different localized implementations with carefully targeted apps.

This has generated results. According to Evans Data, Ovi Store has already overtaken Apple in high growth markets in Asia-Pacific and Latin America, after just six months of availability. The firm's Wireless Development Survey comments: While Apple's App Store set the pace in north America and Europe, Nokia has been busy cultivating developers outside the US in their traditional offshore strongholds, and has been remarkably successful in the short time of the Ovi Store's existence."

As for Nokia's favorite operating system, Symbian, it is experiencing slower growth than the newer Android, especially as it goes through the transition to open source, but will remain the dominant smartphone OS in 2013 and probably beyond, according to IDC. Android powered devices will grow from just 690,000 in 2008 to 68m by 2013, a CAGR of over 150%, says the research firm, ending up second behind Symbian.

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