in October 2010, Nokia announced its Ovi Store was seeing 2.3 million daily, 70% of which were app downloads (Nokia's Ovi Store offers non-app purchases, too).Nokia revealed during its Q4 earnings call last week that its mobile application market, the Ovi Store, now offers 30,000 apps available for download. In previous announcements regarding Ovi Store numbers, Nokia talked in terms of downloads, not actual apps. For example,
Now Nokia has hit an app milestone it feels is worth sharing: 30,000 apps, along with 4 million downloads daily and operator billing partnerships with 100 mobile service providers worldwide.
Some Good News, Some Bad News
While 30,000 apps is a drop in the bucket compared with the hundreds of thousands of apps on the Apple iOS platform and Google Android (estimated at 350,000+ and 200,000, respectively), it's competitive with the smaller app stores from RIM (BlackBerry) and Windows Phone 7. RIM has 17,000 apps and Microsoft's WP7 has 6,500.
But all news was not good news for Nokia this go-round. During the call, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop admitted that the company has challenges ahead, as evidenced by this morning's report that Android has now unseated Nokia Symbian as the top smartphone platform worldwide as of Q4 2010.
Says Elop, Nokia has been in the process of assessing the company's strengths and weaknesses, and in the coming months, will focus on expanding its channels' reach, advancing its software and services' assets, harnessing its demand/suppy network and "building upon the passion of people inside and around Nokia."
To clarify what that means, Elop explained that Nokia knows it must improve both the "quality of its execution" and "accelerate the speed at which we execute and enhance the effectiveness of our partnerships."
"In short," said Elop, "our industry changed, it's time for Nokia to change faster."
Where's MeeGo? Speculation on Android, WP7 Partnerships Heats Up
While Elop made no specific mention of MeeGo during the call, he did note that the company plans to embrace its "strong hardware innovation and production capabilities" that allow it to differentiate from low end to high end handsets and across a wide range of hardware components. That doesn't sound like a change in strategy, really, just a continuation of its plans regarding the MeeGo roadmap, as explained to us during Nokia's annual conference last September. At that time, Nokia executives were clear on the fact that MeeGo was designed to address the high-end of the smartphone market.
However, the fact that MeeGo was not called out by name, along with other comments regarding how Nokia needs to "build, capitalize and/or join a competitive ecosystem" has led to speculation that Nokia will indeed scrap its MeeGo plans and partner with either Microsoft, Elop's former corporate home, for its Windows Phone 7 platform or even Google, with its Android platform.
Whether or not that's the case is all pure speculation at this point. For a well-argued counterpoint on why Nokia may not be ditching MeeGo, see this post from My Nokia Blog, an unofficial Nokia-tracking news site. Among the points made here are the fact that MeeGo development is continuing at a fast pace with the majority of its focus on quashing bugs on Intel platforms, not on ARM; a lack of recent Nokia hires with experience that could contribute to any major moves to a new platform like Android or WP7; and finally, Nokia's lack of "official" support for the Nokia Labs' Lighthouse project, which helps developers port its Qt development platform to new platforms.
That's not to say that Nokia hasn't been working on major changes behind closed doors and plans to surprise the world with announcements at February's Mobile World Congress, for example. But until there's official word from the company as to its plans, MeeGo or otherwise, speculation should be taken with a grain of salt.