Nokia's Ovi Store has been growing in popularity in the Middle East and Africa, reaching 1.9 million downloads per week with continuous growth week on week, the company announced at GITEX. The strong consumer interest is also attracting more developers to develop for the store, allowing them to leverage Nokia's unrivaled global reach and its potential for their businesses.
"Ovi Store is gaining a lot of momentum in the region, and we see the strong interest from the consumer end, as well as the ecosystem. The reach of Ovi Store provides tremendous opportunities for developers with an active user base in more than 190 countries. Today, developers can distribute apps to approximately 175 million Nokia Symbian smartphones - the largest smartphone user base in the world," said Steve Lewis, Head of Marketing, Nokia Middle East and Africa. "With a new generation of amazing devices, like the Nokia N8, developers are looking at Ovi as a good business decision and a chance to innovate and create next-generation mobile experiences for our family of new Symbian smartphones."
To further support regional developers, Nokia has teamed up with AppsArabia, the new investment fund from twofour54 which is helping to grow a sustainable app development industry throughout the Middle East & North Africa, based in Abu Dhabi.
David Ashford, AppsArabia's General Manager, said, "We're keen to meet regional app developers and entrepreneurs. We've chosen to invest in a number of projects and are actively seeking developers to work with on these, and we're continuously seeking great ideas for apps where we can support the entrepreneur with funding and mentoring. The Nokia Symbian range of smartphones offers the largest market opportunity for apps and we're delighted to be working closely with Nokia to help app entrepreneurs and developers to achieve commercial success through the Ovi Store."
Forum Nokia, which supports third-party developers and publishers to bring content to Nokia devices, has seen a 53% growth in active developers just in the past 3 months in the MEA region, demonstrating the great interest people have in developing for Nokia and its potential. Nokia has also strengthened Forum Nokia's presence in there region to ensure direct support of the local developer community.
"Ovi Store publishing has come a long way since its launch and is maturing into a formidable tool. More importantly, support has been equally impressive, a clear indication of Nokia's commitment to us as developers," said Jamal Hammad, from Ijazza, a developer from Jordan.
Amr Osama Ali from Enpronomics, who developed the winning app from Nokia's Calling All Innovators – Bil3arabi competition said, "Nokia and Ovi Store have enabled me to reach a global audience with our "Here I Am" app. Our application has now been downloaded in more than 25 countries around the world."
For consumers, an updated Ovi Store experience has debuted on the newly available Nokia N8 and coming to the full range of new Symbian smartphones, giving a friendlier look and feel, faster content discovery and more popular content choices.
"In the Middle East and Africa, as many as 90% of users of Ovi Store are return users, averaging at least 2 visits a week, with social networking and gaming apps being the most popular. When it come to most active users, Saudi Arabia and Egypt are amongst the top 15 countries globally in terms of the most downloads," said Hatem Nawar, Forum Nokia Developer Relations Manager, Nokia Middle East and Africa.