Some months ago I last touched on the prospects of Nokia’s relatively new internet service, Ovi.com, and recent news made me believe it is now time for a follow-up.
The first item to touch on is the revelation that Ovi will be scaled back a bit in scope. The media sharing portion has apparently not gained enough traction in the time accrued thus far, so further development will be halted at least for the time being. As with anything in these economically-uncertain times, it’s difficult to speculate on whether this is truly the start of a permanent drawdown in that service or perhaps just a temporary retreat. Personally I hope Nokia does continue the service, even though I admit it’s up against some very entrenched competitors (such as the very popular Flickr). As I opined in the previous article, there still remains quite a bit of potential in parts of the world not fully served by established providers that are popular in the US, Europe, etc.
Nokia could still gain respect and admiration (and surely users) by providing that holy grail of internet services, the single-sign on experience. Imagine a one-stop-shop front end for all the various media services out there! True, there would be logistical and possibly legal hurdles to clear but the prospect is exciting nonetheless.
And just to show I’m not pulling this out of thin air, I present the following graphic from the Ovi home page:
This article on Engadget speculates further; the author believes the work heretofore spent on the share service will now go into APIs for integration of third party offerings. I also note that the look-and-feel of Ovi and Flickr are converging. Accidental coincidence?
Interestingly, Nokia is getting closer to providing the Ovi experience to those underserved regions like Asia, Africa and India. One of their latest offerings, the 2740 Classic, is a 3G phone for 80 euros. That’s cheap, folks. Couple that with a low-cost data plan and the internet really can go anywhere!
One gripe I still have about Ovi is that Maemo devices are not represented. When I first brought that up to the team they responded that it was not possible to support the technology. I then politely pointed them toward resources that did just that, received a thanks, and perhaps that was the end of it. I hope not. If any device platform was designed to embrace a concept like Ovi, it was the Nokia internet tablet product line (770, N800, N810). The Ovi gang needs to get on board.
On a final note, I am concerned about the future of Nokia’s devices in general. More job cuts were just announced and they are getting deeper and deeper into the bone of the organization. Nokia should have had the resources to keep the people it’s letting go (like me) IF there was some future for them once the global economy recovers. In my opinion too many critical resources are being let go if that were to be the case. I strongly suspect that in two to three years’ time Nokia will be out of the device business per se, choosing to outsource the entire operation. I think that would be a mistake, but then, my opinion is a small one. ;) And the fact that Nokia is releasing unused patents for any Finnish company to use (no strings attached it seems) just adds fuel to my musing.
How the events around Nokia’s other businesses will affect Ovi remains to be seen. I will say the Ovi site is looking better all the time, but I hope it’s not just a pretty facade on top of a troubled service… any Ovi users care to chime in?