The Ramadan application suite is one more small step for Nokia

Published by Ewan Spence at 13:04 UTC, August 3rd 2010

One we all missed last week, but Nokia have released an updated version of their application suite for Ramadan. Following on from the acclaim of the 2009 release, this year Nokia have gathered everything under a single application. When we talk about Nokia reaching out to customers, this is a wonderful example. See below for details.

RamadanFirst up, the Ramada Application includes the following…

  • The Holy Quran
    allows users to read, search, bookmark and listen to recitations
  • Prayer Times
    Prayer timings and Qibla direction for 1000 cities in 200 countries. If you need another location added, this is easily down using GPS.
  • Hadith
    Ways to read the Honorable Hadeeth from Sahih Bukhari, Sahih Muslim, Riyad us-Saliheen, Holy Hadeeths and Arba'in An Nawawi
  • Boyoot Allah
    A mosque locator that works in conjunction with Ovi maps.
  • Arabica
    This helps non-Arabic speaking Muslims to read and understand Quran, Hadeeth and Dua in Arabic by self-learning or with the help of online teachers through their mobile.
  • Makkah and Madinah
    Multimedia guide to locations that people can visit during Hajj and Umrah
  • Mozzaker
    Allows mobile users to listen, search and translate a large collection of of daily Azkar and selected supplications. These can be downloaded and shared via SMS and MMS with friends and family.

Now I’m far from an expert in Ramadan, but this looks to be a pretty comprehensive list (I’m sure people can agree or suggest otherwise in the comments). What I do like is the fact that Nokia themselves are behind it, Nokia are promoting it, and this is the sort of positive message and engagement that I hope becomes second nature to Nokia as soon as possible.

Nokia are working with a number of networks and developers to showcase the features of their smartphones and the benefits to Symbian applications – the Virgin Mobile package which includes an application to help those attending their V-Festival being one notable example. There should be more of this.

Every one of these applications that gets downloaded, every one that gets used, is one more person making a connection with Nokia. To win over hearts and minds there are two routes. The first is a massive “over the top” effort at every level of marketing - sort of like a media/blitkreig effect.

It appears that Nokia are going for the second route. To engage one-on-one, in small groups, be it developer days, music festivals, media briefings and with special offers and advertising to slowly bring people into the Ovi eco-system.

None of these will make a big splash online, in the press, or in analysts’ reports. But as Nokia slowly build up people to fans, fans become supporters, supporters become influencers, and influencers start to make themselves known, then the strategy may become clear. It’s very much a long game, and long games aren’t the sort of thing that markets normally comment on. 

That’s why the Ramadan suite is as important as it is from a business perspective. It’s another of those small steps.

What I can’t understand is why this has been kept to only a few Nokia territories. Nokia is the largest smartphone maker on the planet, this is an application that could be of benefit to millions of users, and it’s been made available for free.

To call it a killer application would be wide of the mark, but consider how much consumer goodwill and market acceptance these first party applications can have (look at the passion for Internet Radio for one).

And what better way to push the message that you can download applications to your Nokia (via the Ovi Store, naturally) than telling people about an application they can download, and which is more than a clone of (for example) the Bejewelled game? An application that makes a difference in their lives and helps build up an emotional relationship with their smartphone?

I can’t think of any negatives either to the approach, although I do have some issues with the implementation. Firstly is the availability in other regions. It would be nice to have this application listed in other Ovi Stores around the world for those who wish to benefit from the app - Islam is a world religion after all. And Nokia does have another smartphone platform available to the public - it would be nice to see a MeeGo/Maemo version of the application suite as well.

Hopefully those issues will be taken on board for the next update in 2011. Nevertheless this is a smart and sensible move from Nokia for all the reasons listed. Congratulations to the regional managers that made this play. Now lets see the same sort of smart thinking at an international level across the Nokia portfolio.

-- Ewan Spence, August 2010.

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