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Nokia's Ovi Store grows despite doubts about its future

Microsoft's app store expected to replace Ovi, but not for some time

Nokia's Ovi Store app downloads have reached 5 million a day, and the number of apps in the store exceeds 40,000, an eight-fold increase in its first year, Nokia said Tuesday.

While Nokia touted its app store's success, it did so even as the store's future seems doomed because of the cell-phone maker's agreement to work with Microsoft in selling Windows Phone smartphones starting in 2012.

Microsoft also has an app store called Windows Marketplace, and analysts say it is unlikely that both stores will continue when Nokia begins selling Windows Phones next year. Symbian smartphones will be almost totally replaced by Windows Phones by 2013, according to Gartner and IDC forecasts.

A Nokia spokeswoman said Tuesday that details of the Microsoft agreement are still being finalized, adding: "That said, with up to 5 million downloads a day, Ovi Store is extremely important to Nokia and its current and future Symbian customers, and Nokia will continue to support it in order to provide consumers with the best experience possible."

Analysts said that even if the Ovi Store and Symbian devices continue as expected for two more years, that is well within the average life of a smartphone and would require Nokia to offer a full range of support with plenty of applications for sale. Nokia on Tuesday also announced an update to the Symbian OS and two new smartphones, the E6 and the X7.

Nokia clearly sees continuing momentum for its Ovi Store and Symbian, noting that 1,000 more apps are added each week to the store's current listing of 40,000. By comparison, the first and biggest app market, Apple 's App Store, has more than 350,000 apps for its iPhone .

Matt Hamblen covers mobile and wireless, smartphones and other handhelds, and wireless networking for Computerworld. Follow Matt on Twitter at @matthamblen or subscribe to Matt's RSS feed . His e-mail address is mhamblen@computerworld.com .

Read more about mobile apps and services in Computerworld's Mobile Apps and Services Topic Center.


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