Nokia takes beta label off free signing

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Nokia has taken the beta label of its free Symbian Signing program, demonstrating Nokia's long term commitment to lowering costs for developers placing their applications in the Ovi Store. Previously the cost for a developer to sign their first Symbian application was $215, with an additional $15 for every signing instance thereafter. In order to participate in the free signing program developers need only become Ovi Store publishers (necessary to publish content in the Ovi Store), which means paying a one-off fee of €50.

The free signing program provides developers with a lower entry costs, but, perhaps more importantly, places the Symbian platform and Ovi Store on a more competitive footing with other application stores. Android is currently the cheapest option at $25, but all the application stores, with the exception of Blackberry's App World, have fees of less than $100, which should be acceptable to most developers.

Application Store Platform Minimum Cost
Android Marketplace Android (Google) $25
App Store iOS (Apple) $99 a year
App World Blackbery OS (RIM) $200
Ovi Store Symbian (Nokia) €50 ($64)
Windows Marketplace Windows Mobile (Microsoft) $99 a year

As we mentioned in our original story:

The cost of signing has long been one the more common complaints from Symbian developers. Initial costs include the purchase of a Publishers ID ($200), which is only available for registered companies. Then, for each signing instance, there are further costs: €10 for Express Signed (suitable for 95% of applications) or €100+ for Certified Signed (for applications requiring access to sensitive capabilities). Together with the Ovi Store registration fee (€50), this meant the minimum cost for developers signing their first native or Qt Symbian application is $215.

Clearly Nokia's new initiative is going to be very attractive to developers and lowers the barriers for developers wanting to get their content into the Ovi Store. It means that the only cost for a developer to place content in the Ovi Store is the one-off fee of €50 to register as an Ovi Publisher.

Developers wishing to take advantage of the free signing offered by Nokia must go through the following process:

  1. Ovi Publisher emails support ( and requests more details
  2. Ovi Publish support asks publisher to review and accept new terms and conditions
  3. Ovi Publisher accepts new terms and conditions and provides IMEI numbers for up to 5 devices
  4. Ovi Publish support sends publisher UIDs, a cert installer, and developer cert/key pair for testing their app
  5. Ovi Publisher packages their unsigned SIS file using the UID provided and tests on their device making sure is tested against Symbian’s signing criteria
  6. Ovi Publisher submits their app (unsigned SIS file with the UID provided) to the intake tool
  7. QA and moderation will test the app and if it passes it will be express signed by Nokia and put into Ovi Store

The program only covers those applications that can be expressed signed (around 95% of applications fall into this category). An additional advantage of using the program is that the signing process becomes part of the Ovi Store quality assurance (submission) process (rather than a separate activity), which means a quicker time to market. 

There are some limitations that developers may want to consider before using the free signing program. For example, the developer certificate provided by the program only allows for up to 5 devices. This will make it more difficult for developers to organise wider testing / beta programs. 

More details are available on Forum Nokia.