Nokia has finally provided a timetable for the long-assumed withdrawal of the Ovi brand from all Nokia products and services.
Ovi was born out of Nokia’s effort to create a series of Web 2.0 products and services, to answer rivals such as Apple’s App Store and MobileMe. However, the message was mixed, with products often being rebranded from existing non-Ovi services. At its height, Ovi encompassed Mail, Maps, Photo & Video as well as Calendar & Contact synchronization. The Ovi Suite also replaced the well-received Nokia PC Suite, albeit with a new interface that was criticized in the marketplace for being too glossy and slower than the functional predecessor. Many other Ovi products received similar criticism.
With Nokia’s transition to becoming primarily a Windows Phone 7 device manufacturer, Ovi became less necessary for the company to differentiate from its Symbian devices and feature phones. Nokia has confirmed that by July they will begin rebranding Ovi Maps to Nokia Maps, and hopes to accelerate an internal timetable of 18 months to disband Ovi completely.
Nokia has committed to offering software updates that will remove Ovi branding from older devices, but representatives for Nokia did not elaborate how far back Nokia would go in firmware and software updates in this process.
Also unclear is if Nokia will shut down Ovi Mail, Ovi Photos & Video and Ovi Contacts & Calendar. Apple this week announced their intention to wind down Apple’s MobileMe, including its email service, but did note that email service for existing customers may continue indefinitely. Nokia has already transitioned email service and support for Ovi customers to Yahoo! for customer maintenance.