At CTIA today, Nokia announced Preminet, a turnkey mobile storefront for carriers to sell J2ME apps and other mobile content like ringtones, etc. You can find the info in the Wall Street Journal article (subscription required) and over at CNet. I *really* wish I had been well enough to go to the conference today now. I had no idea Nokia would be announcing new services, etc.
If you remember, Nokia recently announced they were closing Club Nokia, their self-branded online mobile content store and community site (WSJ says they stopped selling content last year, but I'm not sure if that's right). Obviously Nokia has come to face the reality that the carriers own the customer relationships and any storefront solution will have to be done in conjunction with them. I wonder how much of Preminet is just Club Nokia with customizable templates?
CNet seems to want to make this announcement into some sort of slam against Qualcomm's Brew Distribution System, but honestly, it's only somewhat comparable. Nokia isn't closing their phones to independant developers or closing off distribution competition. You can't develop for Brew unless you go through Qualcomm and the CDMA carrier - which have tight control over network and handsets. I may be wrong, but Preminet just seems like a storefront solution equal to PinPoint, InfoSpace and Sun's Pixo.
If you look at the graph above from the WSJ, I think it's interesting that Nokia is predicting that the mobile entertainment will only reach â‚¬70 billion in the next three years. With 3G taking hold and more powerful handsets getting out there, it seems to me that it would start to equal voice in terms of revenue generating power. But I guess that's still a few years off.
Anyways, cool announcements. It'll be interesting to see which carriers sign on in the coming months and how difficult and/or expensive it is to get apps into their system. Selling an app on Brew right now is $10,000 investment up front. Nokia would do well to lower that price for Preminet.