Nigerian Developers get support from Nokia

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I am just back from a meeting at Nokia West Africa (Nigeria) Limited where I met with Praveen Shetty (Head of Solutions: Nigeria) and Teemu Kiijarvi (Forum Nokia Developer Relations Manager, MEA). We had very fruitful discussions about Nokia’s new drive for supporting Nigerian developers.

nokia developer

For example, the manufacturing giant has plans for developer workshops and other meetings through which they can support developers with information, skills development and tools that will make it easier for them to create great applications. Developing platforms that Nokia are pushing including QT (for both Symbian and MeeGo) and J2ME (java). If you want to learn to develop apps in these platforms, please head over to Forum Nokia for tutorials and tools to help you design, create and publish your apps.

For those with no programming skils but who would like to create simple widget-type apps for their web content, the Ovi App Wizard lets you do this in minutes. The MobiNigeria app for Symbian is an example of this.

Our statistics for the MobiNigeria app for Symbian shows that there have been 84 active users and 659 pageviews in the last 30 days. Not bad. With support from Nokia, I am sure that we can push some more.

We will certainly be bringing you more information about this subject here on Mobility Nigeria, so if you are a developer or a mobile startup looking for opportunities, Nokia say they have your back. This is a good time to get on the mobile apps train in Nigeria, as the opportunities and possibilities abound.

One thing is certain, the mobile apps landscape in Nigeria is set to change for good with this move by Nokia. One certainly can only hope that other manufacturers follow in their steps.

22 comments

  1. Just read that Nokia wont be mentioning things like Symbian 3 or 4 again that from now on Nokia will use QT for Symbian and Meego developments, and the developments will be released as updates for devices.

    Nokia is sure a world leader.

  2. Smart move by nokia just that I am not sure how ready we are for mobile apps in terms of paying for it which is very important.

  3. Quam,

    I am not sure how ready we are for mobile apps in terms of paying for it

    Praveen, Teemu and I discussed that issue as well. Our concensus is that most app developers don’t make significant money from selling apps, but from creating apps for corporate organisations and service providers. As such, we are looking at developers exploring both angles – downloadable paid apps, as well as corporate-sponsored developments.

  4. @Yomi,

    I beg to take a different view. A good app. sells fast. Nigerians are not used to paying for apps online. But when that catches up and there is a sure and convenient means of payment, like, paying 300 Naira for instance in a bank and punching the teller number online to download the bought apps, the event should surely catch on!. People would make it just there, especially with apps unique to the Nigeria environment!

  5. Afewgoodmen,

    Disagree all you want. Its a free world 😉 But Teemu and I are insiders with access to statistics.

    Often, people read the story of one (often lucky) developer whose app sells hot cakes and who smiles to the bank and take that as reflective of the whole developer landscape. Such stories are the extreme exceptions.

    The most open secret in the mobile app landscape is this: Most app developers do not make significant income from selling apps.

    Of course, that does not mean that people should not develop and sell apps. Just stating the facts.

  6. I think I better pick my books and start learning how to be a Developer. What would it take, Yomi? I have started by downloading the Nokia Qt SDK! A 923 Megabyte software!

  7. @Yomi You are right, that is one angle we explore. The other is that via Nokia Ovi Store you can reach over 200 countries to distribute, with over 91 operatos supporting billing. Just the other day we met a Nigerian Developer who has sold his app in 55 countries!

    1. Praveen,

      Welcome to Mobility Nigeria.

      @all: guys, feel free to ask Praveen about Nokia’s plans for us here in Nigeria!

  8. @Afewgoodmen I also downloaded it yesterday. And am going on serious learning this weekend with my brother who runs Gnaija.

    @Praveen
    Just love to say Thank You to Nokia for bringing these devices to Nigeria. we have seen alot of devices online by other manufacturers that dont ever get to Nigeria or some may even get here when manufacture no longer support it.

    Love the Nokia N8 and looking forward to Nokia E7 and Meego Devices. (hope the pre-order continues)

  9. Afewgoodmen,

    That’s a good start. I am already playing around with QT too. I did some mobile programming with OPL (which ran on Symbian S80 and UIQ) years back. It was all hobbyish though for personal use on my Nokia 9500 (RIP).

  10. I certainly will buy an app, and I know alot of people that will.

    The common problem people face is ease of payment. Most people don’t have Master cards or Visa Cards majority have Verve Cards(ATM card) and I think people will buy more apps if they can pay easily with Verve Cards(ATM card). Another way have seen in other countries is paying via your phone airtime.

  11. @Praveen and bosun99uk.

    If the apps purchases could be made through air time, or our local ATM cards then i bet that many developers of good apps in Nigeria would become millionaires in no time!

    @Praveen. I love what Nokia is doing. Do keep it up and you wouldn’t be disappointed!

  12. @Dee
    which OS is better depends on what you like our what you are used to but I will say that Symbian gives you more options.
    And some great minds are working on making it better.

  13. @Yomi You are right, that is one angle we explore. The other is that via Nokia Ovi Store you can reach over 200 countries to distribute, with over 91 operatos supporting billing. Just the other day we met a Nigerian Developer who has sold his app in 55 countries!

    @Praveen/Yomi

    Lets say I have 10 J2ME apps today (because I do) and I want to get them on Ovi, how easy is that with all the all the “road blocks” (verification, signing, etc, etc)? I would be interested in hearing what Nokia et al are doing, or prepared to do to simplify the process, especially for the developing world.

    I heard signing of Symbian apps is now free, but lets face it, for the time being being the majority of devices out there (in the third world) are not the very high end symbian phones or Meego devices but mostly J2ME devices.

    Talking about developing for corporate clients. I would like to think that the most creative energy and ideas lies with the youth – the boys in Ife, Uniben and Akoka. If these boys, no matter how good they are, walk up to the CEO of say GTBank proposing a solution, what is the chance they stand against the established devolpement houses in Europe, US and India? If you were such a CEO, would you take the gamble on an Akoka geek or a trusted firm?

    Before you can talk about doing Enterprise or co-orporate clients, you need track record, and this is why some of us are prepared to give apps away for free. If I can give out apps for free in Europe, why not in my country of birth?

    Finally, I was wondering, did you insiders consider advert supported apps? For example, free apps fueled by ads? I have seen examples elsewhere and I have basically put all my “third world” apps (which are mostly ready to ship, by the way) in the freezer while I restrategize on a Nigerian-ish mobile ads (and possibly payment) service. Hopefully, such an “infrastruture” will help unlock the mobile software industry in Nigeria.

    I am happy to discuss and open to collaboration.

    Cheers

    1. X-2-X,

      Welcome to mobility Nigeria.

      I’ll leave the Nokia-specific questions to Praveen.

      I do not think that it is a good idea for a developer with little or no visibility (and hopefully also credibility) to walk up to the CEO of say GTBank with a proposal. Visibility and credibility is everything. Your idea of giving away free apps is a good way to start. That will help build the visibility and credibility needed to take advantage of the corporate scene.

      Note also that I did not say that paid apps do not generate fairly good income. My point is that their share of the big pie is quite small.

      Also, ad-supported apps are a fine idea. For example, you could offer an ad-supported “lite” version of your app as freeware, then have a full paid version. That is a two-pronged approach that works well.

      Lastly, if you let us know about your apps (you can also send samples), we will carry news items and reviews on them. We are here to promote Nigerian mobile content. We can be reached at mobility[@]mobilityarena.com.

      PS: I am not on Twitter, but Mobility Nigeria is: @mobilitynigeria.

  14. Left to me i think the symbian^3 will surpass any OS except android to some point, cuz am currently taking Qt C++ since i have a good knowledge in C# ,basic in Java and C++, i can tell you that Qt Framework is God sent i remember trying to enter Symbian Development scene before when i was getting used to Symbian C++ then it was hell and the community wasn’t that encouraging and now Qt is a walk in the cloud if anyone has ever attempted MFC in C++ will acknowledge that.with Qt the same can be ported to any platform as it takes care of specific platform GUI libraries.

    Now the only issue nigerian will face is how to develop an application,earn from that,and also a suitable payment system, i keep telling everyone who cares to listen, the best payment method in nigeria that will work can be the Network Billing, each app paid deducts from the network or via your Interswitch Debit cards,Nigeria is seriously evolving, there are tons of Qt programmers here in Nigeria who are interested in Nokia,but the issue is how can they benefit from Ovi Store without the much hassle in signing an application. Embrace Qt now and your future for mobile application is ensured

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