Nokia just published its fourth-quarter and annual results for 2010. I am not going to focus on the overall announcements and what they mean for Nokia’s device business in particular, but Nokia’s update on the Ovi Store is quite interesting.

Here are some of the key takeaways from a data perspective:

  • 4 million-plus daily downloads on the Ovi Store.This is an increase of 200% from the 2 million daily downloads statistic shared at Nokia World in mid-September. If momentum continued and we assumed an average of 5 million-plus daily downloads throughout 2011, this would represent close to 2 billion downloads for 2011 alone. That’s not bad considering that Apple just announced 10 billion cumulative downloads since the launch of the Apple App Store in July 2008.
  • Good performance in BRIC and emerging countries.Seven of the top 10 most active countries are in the BRIC region or are emerging countries. These include: China, where Nokia claims to be the No. 1 store with 65% share (based on independent research); India; Indonesia; Russia, which sees more than 1 million downloads per week; Saudi Arabia, Turkey, with 1.6 million downloads per week; and Vietnam. One should not forget that growth and volumes will increasingly come from these regions. As a result, developers may increasingly be open to Nokia’s pitch that it offers local reach and global scale. One of the main advantages of the Ovi Store is its ability to provide operator billing (currently available in 32 markets), which makes a lot of sense in unbanked or underbanked countries where credit card penetration is low. Interestingly, 27% of the current downloads come from low-end devices (e.g, Nokia’s S40 proprietary platform) — meaning that apps are not just for “smartphones.”

So, is Nokia really gaining traction here? I’ll stick to my previous comments on how application stores can succeed moving forward and the challenge for Nokia in offering a fully integrated Ovi brand experience. That said, I think these results are encouraging, especially as Nokia is fully aware of the need to provide better tools for consumers and developers. Personalization and recommendation tools, as well as analytics tools (based on its acquisition of Motally), are currently in beta and should be released in the coming months. The same is true for in-app billing.

The fact that Symbian^3 devices (N8, C7, and C6) now account for around 15% of total store downloads in the past 10 weeks is encouraging. It means that shipping devices with the Ovi Store and providing a better user experience is absolutely critical.

One of the main challenges for Nokia is to regain leadership in the smartphone design and user experience arena. If you want to know more about these challenges, clients should read Ian Fogg’s research here. It’s particularly key for Nokia to make sure that its brand perception improves and that the Nokia platform is seen as one of the priority platforms to develop for — still a major challenge for Nokia in Europe. Nokia’s future will depend on how well it executes on its strategy in the coming year.