Nokia Ovi Store fails in many ways, buy with extreme caution

Summary:I have now had two issues with the Nokia Ovi Store over the past couple of weeks and will no longer buy ANY application from the Ovi Store until I see some major improvements in how business is conducted and carried out. Andrew (and I) thought that the Ovi Store could actually rival the Apple App Store, but I see now that this is not going to happen anytime soon, if at all. The Ovi Store is a major failure, in my opinion, for a few reasons that I will discuss below and Nokia may want to think about going back to the drawing board and seeing what others are doing to get it right.

I have now had two issues with the Nokia Ovi Store over the past couple of weeks and will no longer buy ANY application from the Ovi Store until I see some major improvements in how business is conducted and carried out. Andrew (and I) thought that the Ovi Store could actually rival the Apple App Store, but I see now that this is not going to happen anytime soon, if at all. The Ovi Store is a major failure, in my opinion, for a few reasons that I will discuss below and Nokia may want to think about going back to the drawing board and seeing what others are doing to get it right.

Apps and supported devices: Some devices have an Ovi Store application that can be installed and used (I will talk a bit about that later) and others can access the Ovi Store through a web browser. AT&T has stated that they will bring the Ovi Store to the Nokia E71x later this year, but in the meantime you can access the store via the web browser. One advertised feature of the Ovi Store is that it is supposed to only present you with apps that can be used on the device you are using to access the store. That is something I am not personally experiencing and seems to be a failure at this time.

To test out the store on my Nokia E71x, I purchased the Bejeweled game for $4.99. I was able to go through the process, purchase the game, download, and install it on my E71x. However, only the upper left part of the game appears on the display (it is a Java game) and it is thus completely unusable. Thus, since it was not my fault and was a technical issue I went to the Nokia Ovi Store and found the the customer service form you have to fill out to request some kind of resolution.

A couple days later I received an email and explained the situation yet again. I then received an email stating they needed me to send them a scan of my credit card statement showing the charge. Hey Nokia, you have all of my credit card and charge details in your Ovi Store system already, correct? Anyways, to try to get my $5 back I performed this step. I thought it would have been resolved and I would be OK with the process. However, the email below is what I received as Nokia told me to take a leap and suck up the $5 loss.

Dear Matthew,

How are you today? Feeling excellent I hope.

I greatly appreciate you getting back to us with those details and do take note that we have received a response from our relevent department.

Mattherw, based on nature of the issue, we are unable to process a refund.

Matthew, as in this instance you are facing an issue with the game itself, I would recommend that you contact the developer of the game for further assitance.

The game's developer would certainly be able to provide you with a solution to your situation.

I do apologise for the current predicament that you are facing at the moment, Matthew

For more information, please visit our website at the address below for more information and support on OVI: http://www.ovi.com/care

Kind regards,

Nokia Careline

Hmm, why would I be feeling excellent? Is it because you are going to refund me my money for a game I cannot play on my E71x? No, OK then I am not feeling excellent. I am not having an issue with the game itself, I am having an issue that Nokia sold me a game that is not compatible with my device. The game may be perfect for other devices, but you won't let me redownload it and put it on another device anyways, right? I think you and I wasted more time trying to resolve this issue than the $5 you could have refunded me and you just ensured I won't buy anything else from the Ovi Store.

Unable to redownload apps: A great deal is present on the Ovi Store right now where you can purchase the outstanding DataViz RoadSync Exchange syncing client for your Nokia N97 for only $10 (regularly priced at $50). I bought the application to put onto my N97 (this was before I finished the process mentioned above). As a tester of multiple apps and a reviewer, I performed a hard reset to test out some aspects of the device. I then went back to the area on the Nokia Ovi Store website that is labeled My Stuff so I could redownload and reinstall my purchased copy of RoadSync. What did I find? There is NO capability to redownload your apps or reinstall them so if you ever reset or have an issue with your device you currently LOSE ALL purchased apps forever.

I have some great contacts at DataViz, but since the application is not yet available as a download from the DataViz site they cannot help me out. They were kind enough to email me the purchased serial number for the application since the Ovi Store failed to do so (I understand they should have too) and I will be able to eventually get this application back on my N97, I hope.

Unable to archive apps to CD, etc.: Related to my issue of not being able to redownload purchased apps, you also have no way to access your apps via the web browser so you can burn them to CD and store them in case something happens to your device.

Slow and limited on-device storefront: The Ovi Store application on the 5800 and N97 perform OK, but they are quite slow even with a super fast wireless connection. The store also presents you with almost the same lame recommended apps every time you log in. I do not find the store easy to browse and overall it just is not a very pleasant experience.

I enjoy using Nokia and S60 hardware, but I will stick with the methods I have used in the past for finding and purchasing applications.

For comparison purposes, you can backup and redownload apps on the Apple App Store. The Android Market and BlackBerry App World stores let you redownload as much as you need to as well. I posted more thoughts and a comparison of the four main application stores here.

Topics: Apps, Mobility, Nokia

About

Matthew Miller started using a mobile devices in 1997 and has been writing news, reviews, and opinion pieces ever since. He is a co-host with GigaOM's Kevin Tofel on the MobileTechRoundup podcast and an author of three Wiley Companion series books. Matthew started using mobile devices with a US Robotics Pilot 1000 and has owned over 200 d... Full Bio

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