Nokia said yesterday that its Ovi Store has reached up to 5 million downloads per day even as the future of the Symbian operating system remains in doubt.
Nokia says 158 of its developers have passed the 1 million download mark and boasts that it has operator billing arrangements with 112 operators in 36 markets.
“This is really being propelled forward by the latest wave of Symbian devices,” says Michael Bramlage, director of products at Ovi Store, in an interview.
Bramlage says there’s a “strong correlation” between growth in the Ovi Store and the release of new Nokia devices like the N8.
The announcement is part of Nokia’s apparent attempt to shore up support for Symbian, which the handset maker eventually plans to stop using in favor of Windows Phone 7.
On Tuesday, the company announced two new devices running an updated version of the operating system and reiterated its plans to release more Symbian devices in the months to come.
The company plans to continue making money off Symbian after it stops using the operating system by offering it as a franchise platform that can be used by other device manufacturers.
Nokia is working to retain its installed base of 200 million Symbian users and says it will sell about 150 million more Symbian devices during the transition to Windows Phone 7.
The Ovi Store, launched in May 2009, has grown steadily over the past year and now offers 40,000 apps, but is still a fraction of the size of application storefronts from competing operating systems. Google Android Market sells more than 200,000 apps and the Apple App Store contains more than 350,000 apps.
Nokia needs to retain developers, update the platform and release new Symbian devices to keep the operating system strong in order to leverage it as a franchise. Symbian has struggled to compete against other smartphone platforms, particularly in the North American market.
Bramlage was hesitant to concede Symbian’s weaknesses in the smartphone market, but argued that the wireless industry is too focused on developed markets, where smartphones are at the forefront.
“You have users in every market that have an almost primal need to entertain and inform themselves, and the mobile device is the way to do that,” he says.
The top 10 markets for Ovi Store downloads are weighted toward emerging markets: India, China, Turkey, Italy, UK, Russian Federation, Germany, Mexico, Spain and Indonesia.