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Can Nokia’s App Contest Boost Sales?

With surprising speed, {complink 3847|Nokia Corp.} has come out of the gate with a worldwide marketing campaign for its new mobile phone. Nokia's Create for Millions contest, launched June 28, is targeted at uniting global consumers and developers around the Nokia Series 40. The company is offering cash and prizes for submissions of Java or Web applications for the product.

The contest might be the shot in the arm the company needs to increase revenue and build developer support for the new mobile phones. The company's plans to build a new manufacturing plant in Vietnam left observers a little puzzled: How did the company expect to fund the new development when sales were headed downhill? (See: Nokia Plans for Growth Despite Dropping Sales .) The contest, with a deadline of September 20, will at least create a lot of buzz.

The Nokia challenge for global developers is to create and submit their works for Nokia’s Series 40 phones in four categories:

  • In the Know — Series 40 Web apps focusing on news and locally relevant information
  • Fun & Games — Series 40 Java games and entertainment
  • Emotional Closeness — Series 40 Java or Web apps for social networking
  • Access to Knowledge — Series 40 Java apps or Web apps for life improvement.

The winning apps will be promoted globally with free marketing support in various Nokia-owned channels including online, social media, and newsletters.

I'm only guessing that would-be developers will run out to buy one of the Series 40 mobile phones in order to get used to the device. This alone should increase sales. Additionally, non-developers can participate in the contest. Consumers can submit their best ideas in three additional categories:

  • Health & Education
  • Social Networking & Location
  • Games & Infotainment.

All of Nokia’s efforts are being directed toward emerging markets where Nokia plans to provide consumers with their first mobile phone Internet connections.

How do you think this move from Nokia is going to affect the mobile world? Share your thoughts with us on the message board below.

41 comments on “Can Nokia’s App Contest Boost Sales?

  1. AnalyzeThis
    June 30, 2011

    Well, it's not a BAD idea by any means — at least they're trying something — and I do think it'll help encourage development, but will this have any noticable effect on the larger mobile world? I really, really don't think so.

    When it comes to apps, there are a couple of sure-fire things you can do that'll help: and Windows Phone 7 just did one of those things the other day when they got Rovio to port “Angry Birds” to it! And that's obviously good news for Nokia as a whole.

    Anyhow, like I said, this is nice… but it won't change the Series 40 market share in any significant way. And in case anyone is curious, here's the Create for Millions Contest Web Site.

  2. Daniel
    June 30, 2011

    Susan, it’s another way of advertisements for the company and new product Series 40. I think so because any application development contest can target the youngster’s tech community. It has 2 advantages, primarily by make sure of their participation with creative apps and secondly news can easily spread among such community for a wide debate. Mainly most of the smart phones or tablets are using by peoples in age range of 20-45 and they hardly like to regain their market share through such releases.

  3. saranyatil
    June 30, 2011

    Its indeed a good idea! finally Nokia has woken up and decided to do something before they would be washed off in the mobile phone industry.

  4. FLYINGSCOT
    June 30, 2011

    I believe the market for mobile apps is dominated by the Apple and Blackberry platforms. It is interesting to see this Nokia effort to try and gain some traction and become a competitor in the apps industry. It is a good idea to hold this competition as the company may gain valid and worthy business strategies and designs essentially for free. Overall, I think Nokia's plans will not dramatically impact the mobile world as some drastic changes would need to be made if Nokia is to compete with the iPhone and Blackberry businesses.

  5. Himanshugupta
    June 30, 2011

    Is the contest for the Symbian platform? Then i do not think it as a smart move. Nokia has already abandoned Symbian with giving all the work to Accenture. 

  6. Susan Fourtané
    July 1, 2011

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts, DennisQ. 

    I am very curious to see how this contest will develop and what results we are going to see in just about less than three months. We have to recognize that as a marketing campaign is an interesting one. As I mentioned in the article, all the developers who are serious about enetering the contest most likely will buy one of the Series 40 phones. As we have seen, the prices are very affordable. For anyone willing to win the big prize it is a very little investment. 

    Now, if this is going to have any noticeable effect in the larger mobile world it is yet to be seen. At least it will put Nokia on the map again.

    I also included the link to Create for Millions, maybe you haven't noticed it? 

    -Susan

     

     

  7. Susan Fourtané
    July 1, 2011

    Jacob, 

    You have a good point with the target group. I believe the app contest is going to lure many young developers, as you well noticed, and I also believe these young developers are going to purchase a Series 40 phone and spread the word in the social media.

    All this makes for an interesting marketing campaign where the capital invested by the company is small and the message reaches millions. Every marketing campaign that ever involved the consumer it suceeded in one way or another. What makes the difference here is the campaign being active and challenging. 

    -Susan

  8. Susan Fourtané
    July 1, 2011

    saranyatil, 

    If I remember correctly from other discussions, you have been supporting Nokia saying it's a strong company in the emerging markets. How have you seen the reaction to these news in your part of the world? 

    -Susan

  9. Susan Fourtané
    July 1, 2011

    Hello, Flyingscot

    You know, what if Nokia doesn't have in mind compiting with iPhone anymore and has set different goals for the next moves? This is something that keeps me thinking. I don't see Nokia too interested in compiting with Apple as it is in winning new markets. 

    I also notice that Nokia's willingness to enter stronger and triumphant in the American market is not the same anymore. 

    Would you say this makes any sense from your viewpoint?

    -Susan

  10. saranyatil
    July 1, 2011

    Susan, Definitely there is some speculation on what kind of application may come up, will it unique while compared to present ones. Another aspect is in low end markets while Nokia has 45% of its 2 lakh retail outlet in rural areas hence i think the demand for low end models will be highly prevail.

  11. Ariella
    July 1, 2011

    It's definitely an intriguing idea, to generate interest as well as ideas. Definitely the winners would consider their apps to be the best. That's human nature– to alway consider one's own ideas best. It's one of the concept Dan Ariely touches on in The Upside of Irrationality: The Unexpected Benefits of Defying Logic at Work and at Home


     

  12. t.alex
    July 1, 2011

    Organizing contests is a great idea. However, it is often short-lived. In the long run, a proper strategy is required for apps to grow further.

  13. Susan Fourtané
    July 2, 2011

    Himanshugupta,

    It was last year that Nokia and AT&T tried a similar contest, a Symbian app developer contest launched in the U.S and Canada for the Nokia N8. (http://www.unwiredview.com/2010/09/23/nokia-and-att-launch-symbian-app-development-contest-with-10-million-in-prizes/)

    Changing the strategy to a global contest and more focus in the developing markets might bring a different result. Do you think a global contest can make a difference rather than the previous North American contest?

    -Susan

  14. Susan Fourtané
    July 2, 2011

    saranyatil, 

    That will be covered. The estimated price of the Series 40 C2-02 and the C2-03 are about 75 euros or $105, while the C2-06 is expected to be available at 80 euros or $112. This affordability has to rise some sales numbers for Nokia. How do you see these prices in your area? 

    The smartphone land is a different story, though. 

    -Susan

  15. Susan Fourtané
    July 2, 2011

    Ariella, 

    I checked out the book. It sounds very interesting and the concepts can be applied to different aspects of business as well as personal life. 

    As for why we favor our own ideas, already touched by Mark Twain: “Anything you can do, I can do better,” I believe this has to do with a lack of self-esteem that turns out into the need of self-assurance and a need of feeling superior. This is linked to how the inferiority complex in certain subjects appears as a superiority complex, which is is only acting as a mask to hide the real problem.  

    I am not sure if it's human nature as if it were something innate. I tend to believe it's more a learned pattern induced and fed by society and certain cultures. I always try to look at the cultures that are more concerned for an inner and spiritual balance between mind and soul. I would like to know if the Buhddists, for example, also think they can do anything better than others. 

    I believe that living in the illusion that we can do anything better than others is an unhealthy reaction in the long run. It's one step toward arrogance. Leraning to keep a balance in emotions and thoughts of our own Self is what leads us to more understanding and better actions. 

    Now, a good question is how do we see and apply these concepts in the case of the mobile companies and the endless stories for doing things better than the other/s. My very personal view is that keeping more focus and attention in our own garden we can see more flowers bloom faster, and if we focus our attention in improving our own garden, day after day, constantly, instead of wasting our energy in looking at what is happening in the neighbor's garden, soon our flowers will be at the level of the most beautiful flowers in the world by their own merit. And they will be appreciated and valued as such.

    We can replace flowers by phones and it's the same story.

    -Susan 

  16. Susan Fourtané
    July 2, 2011

    t.alex, 

    What makes you think that an app contest is not a proper marketing strategy? Marketing has changed in many ways during the past years, especially since we live in a social media era and marketers are taking good advantage of it. 

    What would it be a proper strategy for you for app to grow further? 

    -Susan

  17. saranyatil
    July 2, 2011

    Initially their strategy was to give good sturdy mobiles with a less price and that s how people developed liking flavor for Nokia Exactly These kind of prices are going to bring them back and increase their sales .

  18. DataCrunch
    July 2, 2011

    The new Nokia Series 40 phone devices, Nokia C2-02, Nokia C2-03, and the C2-06 will all have both touchscreen and slide out keyboard capabilities as well as “advanced” web and mapping features.  Oh and yes, they are all Symbian devices and they will be low cost.

    What I thought was very interesting that there is little to no mention about Symbian with the focus on Java and Web platforms.   In my opinion, the contest is a good idea and would make sense to focus the content around Java and web applications as Nokia as this will be the most portable regardless of what mobile OS they settle on.  Meanwhile, they get to build their app store and not have apps specifically focus on native Symbian, which the industry and developers would probably consider “throw away” apps due to Nokia phasing out Symbian towards Microsoft’s mobile platform.

      nokia-c2-06-cheap-and-purple

  19. t.alex
    July 2, 2011

    Susan, app contest is a great idea, similar to what Google did previously for Android. However, app store and is required to grow the number of apps further. And will all these apps able to run on th next-gen Windows phone?

  20. t.alex
    July 2, 2011

    I like the idea of combining touchscreen and keyboard. To some people, typing on keyboard is easier than on thr touchscreen. Is Nokia planning to make touchscreen plus qwerty keyboard ? (similar to the E63 or E71 serie)

  21. Ariella
    July 2, 2011

    ” keeping more focus and attention in our own garden we can see more flowers bloom faster, and if we focus our attention in improving our own garden, day after day, constantly, instead of wasting our energy in looking at what is happening in the neighbor's garden, soon our flowers will be at the level of the most beautiful flowers in the world by their own merit.”

    There is no arguing with that, Susan. Did you have the conclusion of Voltaire's Candide in mind with respect to the garden analogy?

  22. Michelle
    July 3, 2011

    It does seem like a bit of a waste with Nokia's adoption of Windows mobile unless the Java app requirements make it so they run on both platforms.

  23. elctrnx_lyf
    July 4, 2011

    The contest is definitely a great way to actually get the best applications wothout spending lot of time n resourses on own. But does these application will any boost the sales of nokia phones. I suspect this because the Android has becoming so popular and everyone wants to have an android phone to njoi the huge applications avialable. These phones are already avilable at affordable price eveywhere.

  24. Daniel
    July 5, 2011

    Susan, Good apps can make a Smartphone even smarter. I think Nokia is conducting the contest in a cost effective way. They are offering prize money only to one of the best Apps and going to own the copyright for all other submitted apps. I think, later they have plan to sell all these apps through OVI store or through some other sources similar to Intel developer Forum.

    In my opinion, through this contest Nokia is going to benefit in many ways. Targeting a large audience, with a lesser advertisement cost and secondly “n” number of apps without spending even a single penny as developer cost.

  25. stochastic excursion
    July 6, 2011

    Mobile app's development can also be bogged down by a gap in programming language facility.  In terms of ergonomic coding, the Objective-C language used in Mac app development has many advantages.  Symbian I believe mainly supports C++.  Generally speaking the Mac/iPhone platform is within reach for Java programmers, who are used to dealing with object-oriented concepts.  C++ has performance advantages over Java but Objective-C is looking like the best of both worlds.

  26. Susan Fourtané
    July 6, 2011

    saranyatil, 

    Do you think that if Apple offers a less expensive phone, one that could be able to compete in price with the Nokia Series 40, would people prefer an Apple phone or not? 

    -Susan

     

  27. Susan Fourtané
    July 6, 2011

    Dave, 

    I like it that in many of your comments you include a picture or a chart. 🙂 

    “Meanwhile, they get to build their app store and not have apps specifically focus on native Symbian, which the industry and developers would probably consider “throw away” apps due to Nokia phasing out Symbian towards Microsoft’s mobile platform.”

    If the industry and developers would consider them “throw away”app, why do you think Nokia decided to launch three Symbian phones?

    -Susan 

     

  28. Susan Fourtané
    July 6, 2011

    t.alex, 

    Nokia has the OVI Store. This app contest is exclusively for the three new Nokia Series 40. The Windows phone is a different story. 

    -Susan

  29. DataCrunch
    July 6, 2011

    Hi Susan, Thanks!  I found it interesting that the contest is focused on Java and web apps for the Nokia devices and not for native Symbian.  My guess is that Nokia is looking to build their application portfolio on non-Symbian specific apps, so that they may be portable to another mobile OS in the future.

  30. saranyatil
    July 7, 2011

    Susan,

    I am very skeptical about this one side i feel people will prefer Apple because the brand image they have created on the other Nokia will also be prefered many people residing in th erural parts have no clue about Apple. It looks like a win win situation for both.

     

  31. Susan Fourtané
    July 7, 2011

    Ariella, 

    No. I haven't read Voltaire's Candide. It seems like I should. Your question triggers other thoughts, connected to Jung's Collective Consciousness, though. Not a topic for discussion here but something to think about. 

    I simply love analogies. I use them quite often in my writings, no matter what I am writing about. 

    -Susan 

  32. Susan Fourtané
    July 7, 2011

    t.alex, 

    Was it you that I recommended to go to a shop and try a touchscreen for some good time, write an email or something so you can see it's only a matter of practice?  If it was you, you didn't do your homework. 🙂

    -Susan

  33. Susan Fourtané
    July 7, 2011

    tinym, 

    This contest is for the Nokia S40, at least so far, as specified on the contest website. 

    -Susan

  34. Susan Fourtané
    July 7, 2011

    elctrnx_lyf 

    Not the future app to be developed, but the contest itself is one way that maybe helps to boost the Series 40 phones. Why? If you were an app developer wishing to win the cash prices offer by Nokia, wouldn't you buy one of the three new phones to know all about the device you plan to develop the app to? How many developers do you think are going to enter the contest? That number can be the equivalent to phone sales. 

    -Susan

  35. Susan Fourtané
    July 7, 2011

    Jacob, 

    “…with a lesser advertisement cost and secondly “n” number of apps without spending even a single penny as developer cost.”

    I'm afraid it's not like that. Nokia is going to give away 100,000 euros in cash prizes, Series 40 phones, a trip to London and marketing support to the rest of the developers who submitted the rest of the app. Nokia is not keeping their copyright. 

    There will be three winners, not only one. The first prize is 50,000 euros, the second and third: 25,000 euros each. 

    -Susan

  36. Ariella
    July 7, 2011

    Susan, one of the advantages of actually reading the books assigned for classes, rather than relying on notes, is that the quotes stick in your mind. So I still remember the ending of the book when Candide has given up on the philosophy he had been taught and instead focuses on cultivating his own garden.

  37. t.alex
    July 9, 2011

    Yep Susan. I have been practising with my iPad:)

  38. Susan Fourtané
    July 9, 2011

    Very well done, t.alex! 🙂

    So you got an iPad and everything. Did you notice it's easier after practising? 

    -Susan

  39. Susan Fourtané
    July 9, 2011

    “My guess is that Nokia is looking to build their application portfolio on non-Symbian specific apps, so that they may be portable to another mobile OS in the future.” 

    Hi, Dave 

    That makes a lot of sense, indeed. 

    -Susan

  40. Susan Fourtané
    July 9, 2011

    saranyatil, 

    Yes, it sounds like there would be enough market for both, right? Let's continue the conversation here , where we are discussing more in detail about how a smaller and less expensive iPhone will impact the emerging markets. See you there! 🙂

    -Susan

  41. Susan Fourtané
    July 9, 2011

    Ariella, 

    I this case, if my words had any similarity to Voltaire's philosophy I feel pleased knowing my thinking has evolved on a good path. 

    -Susan

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