Who will win Emerging Market Mobile Opportunity? Nokia’s strategy is questioned

Gigaom has a post on Nokia’s Ovi Store and the emerging market.

Are Emerging Markets Enough to Fuel Nokia’s Ovi Store?

By Colin Gibbs Feb. 2, 2010, 12:27pm PST No Comments

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Nokia’s Ovi Store, after stumbling out of the gate last year, appears to have found its rhythm, becoming the storefront of choice for mobile developers in emerging markets. But whether it can turn that success into big money is unclear.

Deemed “a complete disaster” in the wake of its launch last May, the Ovi Store has gained remarkable traction in recent weeks. Nokia last week said the storefront had begun delivering a million downloads a day, and Greystripe — which recently scored another $2 million in funding –  today said it had extended support for its mobile gaming ad network to the Ovi Store. Research In Markets has confirmed the momentum, proclaiming that the Ovi Store has overtaken Apple’s App Store in “crucial high-growth emerging markets” in the Asia-Pacific region and Latin America.

The success in Emerging Markets is questioned.

That success is getting lost in translation, though, in Western Europe and North America. An executive from the mobile app analytics firm Flurry told me this morning that over the last year building for the iPhone has accounted for roughly 80 percent of developers’ time, while Java — the feature phone platform that Nokia dominates — accounts for only 1 percent. And Flurry has some experience in emerging markets, as it built and distributed email apps for feature phones in developing economies before shifting its focus to higher-end gadgets in more mature markets.

The Economist makes a good point on what are the mobile services for emerging markets.

The third trend is the development of new phone-based services, beyond voice calls and basic text messages, which are now becoming feasible because mobile phones are relatively widely available. In rich countries most such services have revolved around trivial things like music downloads and mobile gaming. In poor countries data services such as mobile-phone-based agricultural advice, health care and money transfer could provide enormous economic and developmental benefits. Beyond that, mobile networks and low-cost computing devices are poised to offer the benefits of full internet access to people in the developing world in the coming years.

Here is another example of how mobile phones in emerging markets are used for entrepreneurs and finance.

In 2005, the Grameen Foundation set the stage for emerging market cell phone adoption and launched the the “Village Phone” business in rural Bangladesh, publishing a how-to manual and setting up micro-finance loans to villagers in towns that had no access to telecommunications.   Four years later, entrepreneurs have finally caught on and despite the downturn, the last 6 months has shed light on a few innovative initiatives that have been announced in a variety of sectors around the world.

In February, the Gates Foundation in partnership with a worldwide consortium of mobile industries teamed up to announce the Mobile Money for the Unbanked (MMU) initiative.  With a goal of supplying 20 million people with mobile financial services by 2012, this program will enable those in developing countries to carry out mobile banking from their phones in order to protect and grow their money.

How many iPhone users use their phone as their primary banking device?