The Nokia Ovi Store and how it might prove just the thing for international aid agencies.

by Jon Thompson on February 28, 2009

Quite a while ago I covered the launch (belatedly) of Nokia’s Ovi store.  Back then you could only download Nokia built Apps to your handset but with the massive success of Apple’s App Store Nokia has now morphed Ovi into a platform where developers can upload their own content.  In Nokia’s words, “Your Content.  Their Devices.”  That pretty much sums it up the function of all these newly emerging App stores.

While I am both a fan and user of Apple’s App Store I can’t lose site of the fact that the popularity of the App store is really an American/European/etc. phenomenon and that most folks in the world use and trust their Nokia handsets.  The launch of the Ovi store will not only serve to lock out or, at least, slow the encroachment of iPhone’s into the global market but it will also allow aid agencies that operate internationally to develop tools for their users which in turn can be distributed to the field.  One tool that is already in development by Nokia that could prove useful to aid agencies is the Nokia Data Gathering application which I wrote about some time ago.  If development costs are not exorbitant I could envision a number of agencies pushing their own Apps once donor funds start flowing again.

This growing interest in mobile Apps was highlighted for me by a close friend that is a developer for a major tech company in Europe.  After an aggressive round of layoffs at his company he realized that shifting into coding iPhone Apps wouldn’t be a real stretch and something he could work on in his spare time.  He now has a Mac Mini set-up in his apartment and spends his spare time working out the code.  He’ll soon start submitting his own Apps to the Apple store so that he has a little insurance in case the economy continues to tank and the layoffs become more aggressive.  I hooked him up with my brother who just gave a pound of flesh developing a soon to be released iPhone App and there is no reason the two of them couldn’t put together a little development shop.  Anyone need an iPhone App?  Drop me a line.  Now I think I suggest they look at Nokia’s market…

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