Ovi Store and Application Languages

Earlier today Nokia’s Developer organization (aptly named Nokia Developer) released a set of really interesting numbers.

See the article here: http://www.developer.nokia.com/Distribute/Ovi_Store_statistics.xhtml#article0

Let’s drill down behind the numbers and reflect for a second what they mean for selling and marketing your app. From astounding fact that Ovi Store is available in 190 markets to interesting tidbit that Turkey sees 1.6 downloads a week this article is a must read for anyone doing software localization.

90% of Ovi Store users have Ovi Store in their local languages (Ovi Store supports 32 languages)
So 9 out of 10 Ovi users see the store in their own language. What does that mean? First of all: your app needs to speak local language. We knew that already didn’t we? But secondly and even more importantly: your support and marketing material (like webpages) needs to speak user’s language. Localized apps and support material stand out in the crowd of English only apps and it makes it more likely that your app is promoted in country specific recommended lists (it also helps if you have a strong local brand).

The 10 most active markets are (in alphabetical order): China, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Russia, Saudi Arabia, Turkey, the U.K. and Vietnam

To fully reach all top 10 most active markets your application needs to speak:

  • Chinese (Simplified)
  • German
  • At least English, Hindi
  • Indonesian
  • Italian
  • Russian
  • Arabic
  • Turkish
  • Vietnamese

Only top 10 countries you can cover with English are India and UK. And Latin character set gets us only half-way through this list. We have Right-to-Left language Arabic and we have Top to Bottom languages like Chinese. And we have cyrillic alphabet in Russian. Surprisingly no Spanish speaking markets are in top 10 of Ovi Store, but Spain is mentioned as one of the top 15 countries along with France. For app developer this list is a good check list for answering following questions:

  • What languages I should support with my app?
  • Is my web page and marketing material available in all relevant languages?
  • Am I addressing the right markets with my app?
  • What does it mean for my application to support Right-to-Left/non-Latin character set languages?
  • Is my beta test audience right?
  • Is “Lucy in the Sky with Diamonds” sung by William Shatner the greatest song ever? (yes it is)

It would interesting to drill down even further to these numbers. What is the actual order of these countries? What are the top grossing countries? Hopefully we will get to see these numbers next time.

Other Ovi Store Facts

Series 40 accounts for 25% of the Ovi Store downloads. And number of Series 40 devices out there is mind-boggling: 650 million. Series 40 users would form the third biggest country by population in the world!

In China Ovi Store is 7 times bigger than Apple App Store.

Active users download something 8.5 times a month.

Interesting numbers, aren’t they? What is the most important or interesting of all the numbers? And what number you would like to see to support your app business?

MIX 2011: My thoughts on Windows Phone 7.5

Greetings from Las Vegas! Microsoft’s annual developer conference MIX 2011 is currently on-going. We’ve also attended to this event to gather some information about recent developments on the planet Microsoft.

One of the hottest topic here is clearly Windows Phone. There’s new version coming up, code name “Mango” a.k.a Windows Phone 7.5. They claim it will introduce around 1500 new API’s, 16 languages and the marketplace will be available to 35 countries. We can confirm these when SDK will be available next month.

What this means for developers? Microsoft is hugely investing in creating the best possible development platform and from our point of view, it really looks like they’re in the right path with it. Developer tools that are now provided for free corporate features that were previously only available in the most expensive tools. I’ve personally worked with quite many development environments from different manufacturers so I’m not easily impressed but what I’ve seen here really look cool. Of course, we have to see how they work in practice.

New API’s bring WP up to the level where it can really compete with others as well. I wasn’t impressed by the first version as it was lacking a lot of important API’s but as they are now introduced in 7.5, I’m actually looking forward to developing for it. On the negative side, lack of native SDK is a disappointment. I’ve discussed with Microsoft guys, and signals I got was that we should not even expect to see it.  This means that bigger open source projects like Firefox can’t really make appear on Windows Phone.

However, in the end I can see rise of Windows Phone good thing for developers. It will take some time to get up to the level of Symbian or Android in terms of features or API’s but eventually I can see this platform as a winner.