Friday, February 27, 2015

Postmortem : So long, Nokia Store (ex Ovi)!

-Today, Leonard Nimoy died. He undoubtfully represented and played one of the most intriguing characters of Show business history.

Today, after a nice sauna and realxation, I remembered that something else was supposed to die - the Nokia store. I recalled some email sent from Microsoft stating everything would have been shutted down by end of February 2015. Puzzled if it already happend, I grabbed my laptop and quickly checked It seemed to still be there. Nokia Store. The place of shattered dreams. Once the biggest online app store by far, with download stats even Apple could have only dreamt of. Nowadays a sad, forgotten place full of outdated software. I recall my software I placed up there. Of course, as everything, I am always late - and as such, I started at the end of Nokia - time i.e. when the N9 was released. The iPhone-killer. The beast that would have reneved Nokia. Well, we all know how well that went.
At that time, with a steady job, and wanting to focus more on Linux, I bought the only barebone-linux phone available at the time, namely the N9. I wanted to start developing for it, I wanted to experiment, learn, investigate possibilities, have an adventure! And where else if not on Nokia (at that time still) Ovi Store? So I grabbed some extra money and funded myself for a shiny new Cyan N9 16 GB (yes back then it was all I could afford). I must admit, thinking about it, even today, I miss the slickness and the particular color and shape. It fitted perfectly in the pocket. But lets not disgress.
On the day the phone was made available, I was at Verkkokauppa, Helsinki, to pick it up, excited about this new adventure. I recall one of the store minions holding a bunch of them in his hand, portraiing an annoied look on his face like for saying : just please get these things out of my hands.
Well, turned out I did the right thing to show up @ Verkkokauppa, cause the Cyam phones got sold out in about a few weeks. The real reason for this was of course shortage of production (which by then had already been stopped by Nokia), but what would I have known back then?
I went back to my work place, and straight away placed the phone on, and started to discover it.
Finding the tools seemed to require a little bit of digging already back then, but from Nokia main page you would be able to gather all the necessary assets. After setting up everyting (not with a few painful mistakes at first), I was ready to go.

My first App was BWizz, an application which basically could be used to edit and import / export bookmarks between the different browsers available for the phone. It was my first Qt App, and as such, a fresh start, especially with qml; but becoming aquainted to it did not take long. Soon enough I was coding plugins for image ressources and UI interfaces like a pro. Qml is that easy, really.
So I got BWizz up to shape for publishing. I knew Nokia had QA process in place; and as I had previous experience with QA processes from my workplace, I knew it would take some time. I did not have many hopes to be able to pass it; but after a few weeks of rejection, eventually I managed to get BWizz published. The pricepoint was #1 (=1 €). "So", i thought, "this is done!" - and went off for a celebration beer. On the first day, BWizz made 20 downloads. I got about 5 emails with questions, and two with more feature requests. In order to try to improve downloads, a free version followed.
Eventually, the total would have added up to 2000 BWizzFree downloads, and about 151 paid BWizz apps. So, 151 €? Hell no! Keep in mind out of revenue made for selling the apps, you need to deduct operator and service provider (aka Nokia) fees. For each BWizz sold, then, 0.7 € would land in my pocket. Peanuts, really.