Nokia has done what it had to do...
As expected, the company today joined the likes of Apple, RIM, Microsoft (watch this space...), Google and more by launching its own third party applications store and formerly announcing some handsets to work on it.
Sensibly brought under the Ovi brand, the 'Ovi Store' does everything we've come to expect providing a centralised location for developers to make S40 and S60 based apps. Both free and premium apps can be produced with Nokia matching Apple in offering developers a 70 per cent revenue share of all downloads.
So far, so normal but one differentiator is Nokia will give customers the option to allow the Ovi Store to access their locations and social connections and consequently provide more relevant content. I suspect this would prove particularly helpful when abroad perhaps searching for an underground rail map, though - WiFi hotspot aside - the data charges may still kill you.
Launching in June, the N97 will be the first Nokia handset to come with Ovi Store pre-installed but existing S40 and S60 handsets will be able to download the client from June. Good stuff.
By contrast, the hardware side of things is less interesting with the Finnish giant officially announcing two handsets we got a whiff of ages ago: the E75 (right) and E55 (middle). You can read all about the former from the link, while the E55 spec highlights include its portability (116.5 x 48 x 9.9mm and 95g), HSDPA, a 2.4in QVGA display, SureType-esque Qwerty keyboard, Bluetooth with A2DP, 3.5mm jack and six to eight hours talk time. Both are planned for March.
The final handset (today at least) is the '6710 Navigator' (left) a chunky (14.9mm) 3G slider with 2.6in QVGA screen, 5MP autofocus camera with dual LED flash and GPS functionality. Nokia Maps 3.0 with 3D turn-by-turn directions will come pre-installed alongside Ovi when this debuts sometime in Q3. Bluetooth with A2DP, a 3.5mm jack, microSD expansion slot and up to 7.5 hours of talk time are other notables.
Lastly, the N97 is confirmed for a June launch - as mentioned above.
Nice start Nokia...