Ovi Store Blues

I love the Ovi Store for simplifying what used to be an exhausting method of purchasing Symbian apps. Before the Ovi Store, purchasing a Symbian application was an exhausting cycle of:

  1. Searching for your app online and with luck, landing directly on the developers website or the many online marketplaces which include Handango, PenReader, or Handmark, etc.
  2. Purchasing that app using their payment processor of choice. Remembering to keep that email invoice safe by printing out the receipt or permanently storing in your e-mail inbox in case when you replaced your phone and needed to reinstall the app. With Handango, you would get charged a download fee if 30 days have passed since your first purchase so you not only have to keep your invoices, you have to save a copy of the installation file (.sis or .sisx).
  3. If you’ve replaced your phone, installing your purchased app involves the following:
    • Email the developers with your purchase details and IMEI number.
    • Wait anywhere from 24hr – 4 days for a response with a link to the new installation file
    • Unfortunately for Nokia users & developers, there are 3 “versions” of Symbian that they may have to support if they wanted to cater to all markets.If you’re lucky, you might not get charged extra if you moved from a non-touchscreen phone like the Nokia E71x to a touchscreen phone like the Nokia N8.

Needless to say, I’ve become a digital packrat with copies of (almost) every Windows (Mobile), Android, Symbian application I’ve ever purchased. So, I was very relieved when the Ovi Store came out because I finally had a source that would *always* be available for me to download from. When you purchase an app on the Ovi Store with either a credit card (you’ll have to pop out your SIM for this option if you are in the USA) or operator billing (i.e. you get billed when you get your monthly phone bill), you get an email receipt of your purchase and the Ovi Store stores this information so that reinstalling your app is as easy as clicking the “Download” button that will appears on apps you’ve purchased or downloaded before.

Unfortunately, there is a fly in this ointment. Did you know that if you click the “Download” button 5 times, you will be prevented from further downloads of the app that you paid for? I experiment with my phone a lot by using a lot of Nokia Beta Labs applications and other .sis/.sisx files that I find online. Rather often, I run into issues that I have no idea of troubleshooting and for me, reformatting is the easiest option. With my latest reformat, I was greeted with this message when I attempted to download Angry Birds, the $1.99 application I purchased and blogged about here:

Exhibit #1: Angry Birds
Blocked from Downloading Angry Birds on Ovi Store

Exhibit #2: SoundHound
You need to update this application to a newer version that is compatible with your current phone mode

The notification reads: “You need to update this application to a newer version that is compatible with your current phone model“. For crying out loud, SoundHound was one of the first applications I bought for my Nokia N8 and I freaking blogged about that in this article about Ovi Maps Improvements and Some Recommended Apps on the Nokia N8!

Before I did the kneejerk “tweet about how horrible the Ovi Store is and threaten to blog about it” thing, I did the following:

  1. I opened up a support request here: http://support.ovi.com/osc/home
  2. Then, I sent a tweet to @NokiaCareUS and asked for their intervention.
    .bbpBox32208253072965630 {background:url(http://a1.twimg.com/profile_background_images/70457218/twitter-janetalkstech.png) #9AE4E8;padding:20px;} p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata{display:block;width:100%;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid #fff;border-top:1px solid #e6e6e6} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author{line-height:19px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author img{float:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px} p.bbpTweet a:hover{text-decoration:underline}p.bbpTweet span.timestamp{font-size:12px;display:block}

    @NokiaCareUS I reformatted my #N8 2x in the 24hrs and I’m getting a “max # of download attempts reached” msg for Angry Birds!less than a minute ago via TweetDeck

To Nokia’s credit, @NokiaCareUS got back to me and shortly afterwards, sent me a direct link to download my Angry Birds installation file! As for my SoundHound app, I couldn’t find my email invoice. Expecting the trust bar to be raised higher for a $4.99 app, I went ahead & re-purchased it. This time, I printed my email invoice. 🙂

.bbpBox33283858484961280 {background:url(http://a1.twimg.com/profile_background_images/161868893/nokiatwitter.jpg) #C0DEED;padding:20px;} p.bbpTweet{background:#fff;padding:10px 12px 10px 12px;margin:0;min-height:48px;color:#000;font-size:18px !important;line-height:22px;-moz-border-radius:5px;-webkit-border-radius:5px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata{display:block;width:100%;clear:both;margin-top:8px;padding-top:12px;height:40px;border-top:1px solid #fff;border-top:1px solid #e6e6e6} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author{line-height:19px} p.bbpTweet span.metadata span.author img{float:left;margin:0 7px 0 0px;width:38px;height:38px} p.bbpTweet a:hover{text-decoration:underline}p.bbpTweet span.timestamp{font-size:12px;display:block}

@janetalkstech Just resent your content to you. Sorry for the inconvenience. U might get the link again if u already sent a care request.less than a minute ago via Spredfast

Moral lesson of this very late blog post: Hitting the “5 installs” limit on the Ovi Store is not a death sentence. Open a support ticket or send a tweet @NokiaCaresUS (make sure you follow them so you can provide personal information privately).

My recommended gear AND applications for the Nokia E71x phone

So, it’s been close to 3 weeks since I have had the Nokia E71x in my possession. What have I learned?

  1. For starters, get a good case for this slippery phone because it has slipped from my grasp more than once. A skin AND a case would be the recommended because your phone may slip out its case (like mine did).
  2. A good 2.5mm set of ear phones is hard to find so when I read online about the Planktronics Stereo Mobile headset, I was hooked. They arrived yesterday and I’m in hog heaven. 🙂
  3. Invest in a large microSD card. The Nokia E71x officially supports cards up to 8GB, but someone online has a 32GB card in their Nokia E71x phone. Use at your own risk. As for me, I have an 8GB Transcend microSD card and I’ve put a lot of music on it with ~ 5GBs left to spare for applications, files and whatever else. It’s a no-brainer. However, if you refuse to spend any more money on little gizmos, the phone has a generous 140MB of space.
  4. Download the Nokia PC Suite software. I’ve been a Windows Mobile user for a long while and I thought that I had seen all that there was to see. Well, this piece of software from Nokia syncs nicely with versions of Outlook 2003 to the Outlook 2010 technical preview!! I’m using the Outlook 2010 technical preview and that’s how I know. It is essentially a manager for your phone and I can’t sing it’s praises enough. Using the Nokia PC Suite is highly recommended for managing your phone. It’s free and what more could you want? You can choose to connect to the Nokia PC suite via USB or Bluetooth. Hint: use the USB cord for intense work like video transfers, etc. I use Bluetooth when I can’t be bothered with the cord and have time to spare.
  5. Don’t want to spend money on the XM radio application bundled with the phone? Nokia has a free Internet radio application! I’m serious: check it out at Nokia’s website.
  6. Don’t want to spend money on those solitaire apps? Well, I’ve got the ticket for you. Nokia has a free Solitaire application called Top Hits Solitaire. I’ve used it and I can’t see myself spending any more money on games if Solitaire is your thing.
  7. Can’t be bothered to spend yet more money on AT & T’s Navigator software, get Google Maps for Mobile here and if you’ve borked your connection settings, visit this help page on configuration by Google.
  8. Don’t want to plunk down money for a fancy schmancy E-book reader? There are two free Ebook readers available for the Nokia E71x device that I know about and have written about. There are hundreds of free Ebooks available as well for use with the Ebook reader. I will recommend getting a dictionary application if you are like me i.e. wanting to read old texts and realizing that they use a lot of ‘big’ words. Speaking of dictionary applications, I would recommend you pony up for the Merriam Webster Third New International (Unabridged) Edition which is the costliest of all versions on Penreader website, but it’s worth it because of the sheer number of words present.
  9. Don’t feel like using the trial software that ATT loaded this phone with, use X-plore to get rid of the applications and see this post on Nokia Experts for more details. You will save yourself the trouble of accidentally subscribing for something and free up a lot of memory. You’ll be glad you did.
  10. Don’t forget to spread the love by supporting the development of quality software by purchasing mobile software from the developers. My main sources for mobile software are: Handango, Handmark, Penreader and other developers talked about on blogs or websites.
  11. For more information, get product support and software from Nokia’s website here and visit here for Nokia E71x support. Nokia can be reached on mobiles by going to http://nokia.mobi on your device.

I hope this monster post was of use to you. Please leave questions or comments on this post and I’ll attend to them as quickly as I can. Cheers!