The Nokia store experience is pretty crappy and the bad news is it isn’t caused by technical issues on the platform.
Right of the bat i’m confused about what i’m buying. Is it linked to my account ? To my mobile ? Can i download it again ? Are the media files drm encumbered ? What are the formats ? Nokia needs to make a much better job at telling me why i should spend my money, the apps don’t even have a proper list of features and compatibility or screenshots.
Nokia allows off store payments, this sounds like flexibility for the publisher right ? Wrong, it means shareware apps get listed as free which doesn’t work to strengthen the trust in the store. And while we’re on pricing, what happened to the bread and butter of an app store, the 0.99 price point ? Nokia traded it for direct billing deals with the carriers. Nokia does the usual 70/30 revenue split but has a small hitch, if the billing goes through a mobile carrier they can apply a transaction fee that comes out of the developer’s cut so 70 cents can easilly go down to nothing. That and the fact Nokia goes to great lenghts to beat away independent developers fill the store with 2Eur pieces of crap and there’s even some utterly pointless apps in the 20+ price range. The irony in all this is after all the trouble Nokia went through setting up the direct billing stuff both the US carriers and Vodafone rejected it.
There’s also the thing about the content quality. There’s no adult filter and about 30% of the content seems to be racy wallpapers at 5Eur each (some of it of dubious copyright standing). On the apps side java craptastic apps are mixed with native s60 apps (and the lack of proper descriptions doesn’t help). And to top it all the selection criteria for the front page and the recommendations sections seems to be either ‘none’ or ‘paid placements’.
Another annoyance is the lack of proper app management. You can install right from the store app but sometimes it doesn’t let you chose where to install. On the oposite end you can’t uninstall from the store so it thinks you have a bunch of crap installed that you actually removed right after the first run. There also isn’t any obvious way of upgrading installed apps.
All told, until Nokia (or is it Ovi ? I’m confused!) makes the revenue model cristal clear and manages to get developers on board by dumping legacy annoyances like Carbide and moving to this century (go go magic symbian foundation!) the store will never get interesting content. And then they’ll have the opportunity to fix it up!