Ovi by Nokia: Software Above the Level of a Single Device

16 May

Quite honestly, for me this was one of the hardest topics to examine with among the 8 patterns of what Web 2.0 is as described by Tim O’Reilly. So what does he mean exactly by “Software above the Level of a Single Device”?

As Tim O’Reilly admitted himself that “it seems that this is still one of the principles that is not properly understood, or is understood only in the most obvious sense.”

At least O’Reilly’s concept became fathomable to me when he further substantiates that “every web application is software above the level of a single device. At minimum, these applications use a client on a local computer and one or more server computers. In the case of applications like Google, the server end may consist of hundreds of thousands of machines, and, of course, the data held on those servers is gathered from literally hundreds of millions of other computers. So clearly, this is software above the level of a single device.”

When I was handed in with a Nokia E71 phone as a gift last year, I was quite happy as finally I got a phone that’s compatible to Mail for Exchange functionality as compared to my previous phones that had limited or even zero internet connectivity (so just imagine how late I was in terms of owning hi-tech gadgets compared to you).

And before I even become unfathomable myself, let me explain that a Mail for Exchange is a software that allows you to use the email, calendar, contacts (address book), and tasks (To-Do items) of your Microsoft Exchange account on your mobile phone.  Now it can only get better, as through the process of synchronization I can now keep the entries on my mobile phone identical to the entries on my Windows Live Mail, or any Web-based e-mail service for that matter.

Whilst I was excited to explore my new phone last year, I surfed over to the Nokia website to check out the latest developments related to my new device—and voila! I stumbled upon a web application that makes it just practically a heartbeat interval to improve connectivity and/or battery life of my phone.

Ovi, which also means “door” in the Finnish language, is the brand for Nokia’s Internet services. The Ovi services can be used from a mobile device, computer (through Nokia Ovi Suite) or via the web at Without hesitation, I right away installed the application on my E71 and as you might expect it provides me complete access to the contents of my mobile phone via the web. Consequently, I can now organize and share my photos, contact details (which are very important to me), or calendar events between my desktop PC and my handset. Needless to say, I just love the idea of also using my desktop web browser to browse those said contents from my E71– unsuspectingly identical to what O’Reilly remarks when he observes that you can control your iPod from an iMac.

More over, just a day after my birthday this year (another gift perhaps) on the 11th of May, the Ovi Community Manager just announced that on that day forwards Ovi brings public transport directions to, along with walk and drive Directions. They are debuting the service currently for New York City, but will be covering more locations and countries in the future.

And that my friends, “opened the doors” for me and started to get me thinking why Tim O’Reilly coined such similar behavior as “software above the level of a single device” — and boy was he right!


Posted by on May 16, 2011 in Web 2.0 Applications


Tags: , , , ,

5 responses to “Ovi by Nokia: Software Above the Level of a Single Device

  1. Xavier Villagonzalo

    May 17, 2011 at 6:28 am

    Thanks Karen! I really found the article interesting, yet I don’t know what to feel though, whether I’ll be sad or happy, because as a Nokia mobile user myself I’m a part of its worldwide user base who are downloading an average of five million products every day since 2011.

    But I believe the same Ovi services will remain of course, which means that they will still be the same “jockey” in the race but on a different “horse” (that brand which is far more familiar to the public, Nokia).

    As like I mentioned in my post, Ovi is just the brand name for their internet services which to me personally would have been a lot better had they sticked plainly with their actual master brand, NOKIA.

    While its probably true when Ovi was on its early days, a lot of people criticized it as a rushed reaction to Apple’s app store and iTunes. So I reckon the move by Nokia to call it such (Ovi) was not at all necessary as they already had a name to gauged early on. It would have made a perfect sense to call it just NOKIA then, this way they can avoid customer confusion.

    According to BBC news, the Finnish firm said they “…planned to wind up the four-year-old project and would be offering services under the Nokia name in future.”

    Again, I so much appreciate the contribution you gave to this post Karen. Also you may want to read the The evolution of Nokia and Ovi. Thank You!

  2. Nimal

    May 17, 2011 at 9:11 am

    Nice writeup…

    For the past 6 years of using a mobile phone all of them were Nokia phones. My experience with Ovi is for the last two years with my Nokia XpressMusic 5800, which is my first smartphone.

    In my opinion, Ovi failed in replicating the Apple’s App Store model, specially with attracting app developers who could monetize their apps.

    I’m not an app freak and only use a limited number of apps that on my phone. Yet I find the offerings on Ovi not appealing. Maps and Mail for Exchange are the only two apps I download from Ovi.

    This will be my last Nokia phone as it moves away from the Symbian platform to Micro$oft, I’m more likely to pick up an Android phone next time and forget Ovi altogether.

  3. Jihye Jessica Kim

    May 18, 2011 at 12:14 pm

    So I have a question for you. Which do you prefer to organise and share photos, from your E71 or laptop? Because I still think that laptop is a little better for work, am I old-fashion? 🙂

  4. Xavier Villagonzalo

    May 21, 2011 at 2:20 pm

    Hi Jihye Jessica Kim,

    I still do prefer using my laptop though but it’s nice to use my E71 too when taking pictures & have it transferred to my laptop instantly through Bluetooth connection, but that’s another story.

    By the way, thanks for asking.



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