In a 3 month exclusive partnership with mobile operator Reliance Communications (RCom) Nokia yesterday announced an update to their Ovi store for India. The update brings operator billing and app prices in Rupees instead of Euros.
Having been following the information on Nokia's partnership with Microsoft, the Ovi Store for smartphones is more or less irrelevant since Microsoft has their own app ecosystem, which Elop calls the third ecosystem (Apple is one & Google is the second). If Stephen Elop is to be believed when he says Windows Phone 7 will be their primary smart phone OS, I am not excited about the update.
However, this announcement should interest existing customers and those purchasing Symbian phones till the Nokia-Microsoft deal materializes. Despite what the US centric press might make it sound like, Symbian isn’t going anywhere for a long time given Nokia’s portfolio in countries in like India. What has been negatively affected is the developer enthusiasm for Symbian.
Nokia has kept losing its grip on the Indian market and with the global developer affection for Nokia at an all time low, Nokia's Ovi Store is not much of a sell. Last year Nokia partnered with Tata Docomo and Reliance Communications to offer their Ovi Life Tools targeted at the farmers and rural India, developers working on such local apps should find the upgrade helpful though. Nokia's penetration and tailored apps for India should help Nokia sell phones.
Having Reliance Communication as an exclusive partner provides no incentive to Nokia but for Reliance Communication this should be a good selling point along with their 3G services. At least for 3 months.