Mobile app stores: Nokia and Microsoft each get one, too

Today at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia announced that its Ovi suite of mobile applications will be getting its own App store in May, and Microsoft announced Windows Marketplace for Windows Mobile devices.

Nokia's store fits into the company's Ovi suite of mobile services, and will appropriately be named The Ovi Store. It will carry the applications, games, videos, podcasts, widgets, and "personalization content" (likely wallpaper and ringtones) previously found on Download!, MOSH, and WidSets, now combined into a single location.

Nokia Series 40 and S60 users will have first access to The Ovi Store, and Nokia announced that its first handset to come with the store built in will be the N97, which will be available in June.

How will it differ from any other mobile applications store, such as the one also launched for Symbian Handsets this weekend, the PocktGear App Store? Since Ovi is a social sharing platform which relies greatly on location awareness, Nokia has proclaimed that users will not be forced to comb through every application in the store, but rather be intelligently suggested content based upon their social networking habits and geographic location.

Content providers can immediately sign up for access at, and should expect to begin uploading their content in March. Since Nokia is the largest distributer of Flash-equipped handsets, the Ovi Store will be the premier distribution channel for applications commissioned by Adobe and Nokia's Open Screen Project.

Microsoft, meanwhile tied in the announcement of Windows Marketplace for Mobile with the upcoming availability of Windows Mobile 6.5. Though the Redmond company did not say exactly when the store would be launching, it gave the general "before Christmas 2009" timeframe.

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