Nokia to launch virtual store in India in 2009

Written by Rachana Khanzode | Mumbai | Updated: Feb 20 2009, 05:29am hrs
Nokia, the world's largest cell phone maker, is following Apple's popular App Store model by launching virtual stores for their mobile phone applications in India.

"We intend to bring our Ovi stores in India by the second half of this year. The pricing mechanisms for India are currently being worked out," said Vineet Taneja, head, marketing, Nokia (India).

The Ovi stores will stock applications, games, videos, widgets, podcasts, location-based applications and personalisation content for Nokia Series 40 and S60 devices, amon other things. Nokia's N97 will be the first device to include the storefront.

Unlike Apple, which sells merchandise through iTunes, Nokia plans to bring its applications to consumers through the carrier's billing mechanism or credit cards.

Nokia will also sell them differently, in the way that the store will recommend applications to users based on their interests and what their friends are downloading. Content will also be presented based on the location of consumers.

"This will be done to provide an experience that is most relevant to the customer's part of the world," said Taneja.

He noted that by providing consumers with a choice of payment options, content providers and developers will gain access to consumers in markets where credit cards are not widely available.

Apart from Apple and Nokia, Research in Motion plans to launch its own storefront application in March 2009. Microsoft is also looking at similar methods of distributing applications on mobile platforms.

Nokia also plans to launch a virtual music store that will offer Hindi and vernacular language songs. For this, the company is looking at revenue sharing tie-ups with major labels like Sony and Sa Re Ga Ma Pa.

"We plan to launch the music store in India within the next few months. Digital music will be initially available as free downloads. We will later price them nominally. The charges are being worked out at the moment," said Taneja.