Dear Apple: Please Steal Features From Nokia's Ovi Store

If you haven't heard, Apple's a no-show here at Mobile World Congress 2009, this show pretty much belongs to Microsoft, HTC, and Nokia (with a side of Samsung and Sony Ericsson). However, as with other trade shows like CES and CTIA, Apple's presence is felt in its absence. Rather than join their brethren in the mobile community, Apple sits it out and watches while other companies are forced to make their announcements in a context Apple has created. To wit: Both Microsoft and Nokia announced App Stores this week. Microsoft's Market is basically a no-show, though, all we have is promises. Nokia's isn't ready yet either, but it will be in May.

Actually, we know quite a bit about Nokia's App Store, called the Ovi Store. It's an extension (and replacement) of their earlier services and includes everything from apps to ringtones to wallpapers to widgets. Here's the thing, folks: Nokia may have solved the #1 problem at Apple's App Store: finding apps that are 1. good and 2. interest you.

What Nokia has done is build a sophisticated relevancy engine that can sort apps based on a variety of factors that are actually relevant to you -- like what you friends are using, or what kind of app you like to download, or what music you tend to prefer. It looks to be much better than your standard "top 50" list and if Apple is smart and shameless (we know they're both), they'll steal these features as soon as humanly possible.

The Ovi Store also looks to be a little kinder and gentler on developers too, giving them more power over how (and if!) their app will be distributed.

I've written the whole thing up over at sister-site Nokia Experts, go on and take a look.

[How about Apple needs to expand iTunes GENIUS recommendations to the App Store immediately? -- Rene]

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Dieter Bohn

Dieter Bohn is former editor-in-chief of Smartphone Experts, writing across iMore, Windows Phone Central, Android Central, and more. You can find him on Twitter (and everywhere else) @backlon.

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Reader comments

Dear Apple: Please Steal Features From Nokia's Ovi Store


Apple needs to get a working search for apps before anything else. I can search for an app now and get maybe 4 apps that are related to what I looked for and 30+ other apps that have nothing too do with what I searched for. Like the seacrh just throws in random apps to fill the search out.

sting: have you read descs for the apps that are unrelated? I remember there was some flap about apps 'gaming' the search by writing "we love these apps: ifart, things, AnotherAppThatIsFamous, etc!" in the descriptions.

I'm sure it's like they do on ebay where they just throw in words to show up in more searches, but ebay has cracked down on that.
But the app store (or iTunes) search is pretty bad. Apple should reject apps that try to game the search or something, in it's current form it's pretty much useless and I have to look through a sea of 15,000 dumb apps just to find the few good ones in the categories.

If Ovi isn't going to be running until May and likely won't have 20,000 apps of the bat whose to say that their algorithm is any good? If we took Nokia's word for it then we'd all have N95's or N96's and not iPhones. Sorry, Tenacious D, but I'll believe them when it's real and not vaporware.

I don't care if it's real or not. No Nokias for me, ever, regardless of ANYTHING they do.
I'm an Apple user, and always have been.. Everything else is cr@p... period.

I kind of hope that all works out for nokia and microsoft app stores. My hope is that it will push apple to instate the missing pieces of the iPhone puzzle. I.e. Cut and paste, flash, Bluetooth file share and music streming ect ect. Personally I don't need any of those things but they seem to be a deal killer for others. So I hope apple implements the changes before the completely reconfigure the iPhone hardware specs (quadcore HD so on).

So it's OK for Apple to steal ideas, but if anyone else does, the Apple Evangelical Army freaks out. Typical.

I've never heard anyone here "freak out" at others stealing Apple's ideas. It's just ironic how they all suddenly want to copy from a company they've always viewed as the Poor Black Sheep (only good for graphics and music) for so many years. But when Apple steals, there's nothing ironic about it.