Third party applications have been available for Palm, Windows Mobile, S60, and BlackBerry devices for years, but it wasn't until Apple made the iPhone App Store such a huge success that companies finally woke up to the potential market that was out there. It really is a shame that one of these companies never took the initiative to create an application store and now they are all announcing one, again following Apple's lead. Some of the best news I have seen so far from Mobile World Congress is the announcement regarding the upcoming Ovi Store by Nokia.
The Ovi Store will open in May and Nokia is putting a twist on the standard 3rd party application store by integrating content based on your social connections and physical location, or what Nokia calls "Social Location", so that you get the most relevant content based on where you are in the world. Developers can visit the Ovi Store by Nokia publish site and start submitting content now for inclusion when the Ovi Store launches in a few months. I am particularly excited because Nokia is the worldwide leader in smartphones and has a community of 3.5 million developers that should make this store quite successful.
I am saving up for the Nokia N97, which should be available right around the time of the Ovi Store opening. Then again, those E75 and E55 devices they just announced look pretty sweet to me as well.