RCom app store indicates Symbian survival

Caroline Gabriel/Rethink Wireless
25 Feb 2011

Windows Phone 7 may be Nokia's primary operating system now, but devices are a year away, and in the meantime Symbian remains central - especially in the emerging markets where the Finnish firm still has great strength and growth.

The firm said it would work hard to enhance Symbian/Ovi content this year, even though it would eventually transition into the Microsoft software platform. That could be a long process, since initial WP7 models are likely to address the high end, and pushing the OS down into mass market smartphones could take two years or more.

For now, Nokia is keen not to lose the undoubted advantages of its investment in localized content and services based on Symbian. This week, it has unveiled a version of Ovi Store for India's second cellco, Reliance Communications, which includes carrier billing in the local currency, a first.

Symbian will have a longer life across Asia than elsewhere because of its huge installed base and the prevalence of emerging economies - although one of its bastions is also Japan, where NTT DoCoMo has contributed significantly to the platform and has its own user interface.

Vlasta Berka, general manager for Nokia in Singapore, Malaysia and Brunei, promised his markets that "the Ovi Store will see more applications, better software and more Symbian partners".

In India, Nokia and RCom claimed a "first of its kind partnership in the country" with the launch of the "India chapter" of the Ovi Store. This will build on Nokia's high level of activity in building an apps base in India, even among those with very basic phones.

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