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Ovi discovers the price of popularity

Signing process goes titsup due to traffic snarliness

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Nokia isn't coping well with the new-found popularity of its Ovi store, with delays to the signing process driving some developers elsewhere despite public apologies.

Nokia reckons it is the popularity of the Ovi store that's causing the delays, which are running into weeks... and upsetting developers who based their schedules on Nokia's five-day promise. One developer, however, was surprised to see his application on sale despite failing the quality-testing process.

Nokia tells us it has seduced 400,000 developers to Ovi in the last year, and is now delivering three million downloads every day. It said India was its biggest market, followed by the UK. Nokia has been bending over backwards to help developers with an on-device app store for the latest phones, as well as a point-and-click application development with the Ovi App Wizard. The Wizard makes creating an application trivial, even if the applications thus created are a bit identikit (RSS... rendered).

But even identikit applications have to be signed for distribution, and it seems the volume of applications has been too much for Ovi, prompting a public apology for the delayed service:

"We apologize for not being able to keep up with the demand but we assure you we are doing everything possible to get your content into store within five business days" says the forum posting from the Online Community Manager, which may not be enough.

Some developers are complaining that the process is taking more than a month, with one complaining that their Halloween application had been rendered worthless by the delay. But it seems that many of the problems are down to a lack of testing on the part of the developer, or failure to attach the right credentials, and certificates, to the submitted application.

The developer of Generator Variante Loto was surprised to find that his application appeared in the Ovi store despite failing the quality assurance process. He has no argument with the bugs that caused it to fail the process, but remains unsure what he should be doing now, given the application is apparently available.

One could argue that all this is evidence that Ovi has made the process too complicated, but by making the creation of applications increasingly simple, Ovi has attracted a lot of developers, not all of whom have the patience, or fastidiousness, to submit applications in exactly the right way, although they are quick to complain afterwards.

Things are improving for Ovi, and developers are making money; BLStream's Crazy Hamster apparently sold 200,000 copies though Ovi, and the company expects to see Ovi sales outperform Apple's App Store. With Ovi on the up it would be sad to see it fail thanks to its own popularity, especially when there are so many other things that could yet kill it off. ®

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