Nokia Developer Forum 19th May ’11

James Mwai Around Me app
James Mwai explains how Around me app works

The Nokia Developer Forum was held on 19th May ’11 on Sierra Lounge,hosted by Nokia’s head of Communication, Ms Dorothy Ooko at Yaya Centre which was primarily for one agenda: A showcase of apps developed by our very own Kenyan developer, James Mwai.

James Mwai is a recently graduated Kenyatta University graduate with a Computer Science degree. He developed 2 apps, Around Me and Places Directory all free and  available on Nokia’s Ovi Store.

James Mwai explains how Around me app works


He first demoed the  ‘AroundMe’ allows you to easily and quickly find important businesses and services in your surrounding or any other location with your Nokia phone. For example, you can find restaurants, banks, gas stations, and other local services with ease. View maps, directions, routes, street view, read reviews or call the business. It is developed for Nokia Symbian S60 V5, Symbian S^3 and the future Symbian ‘Anna’  phones.

The 2nd app demoed was “Places Directory” which was born from the Around Me app. It focuses on allowing the ease and haste to find important businesses and services in your surrounding or any other location with your Nokia smartphone. In terms of downloads, they were pretty impressive!

The ‘Around Me’ app garnered 127,000 downloads for the first 3 Months and the top countries in downloads were India and Italy. Also, it garned over 600,000 search requests which is spectacular! The Places Directory was downloaded 5000 times  for its 2 month stay at the Ovi Store. Even from this impressive downloads, the question of operator billing was raised in the forum.

Kenneth Oyolla, Nokia’s General Manager, East & Southern Africa pointed out the operator billing problem which was to help get developers paid for their applications they develop. Operator billing is service mostly developed in North America and Europe in which consumers pay for apps and it appears on their end month bill. He pointed out the biggest problem of getting operator billing be finalized in Kenya and generally Africa as a whole is the whole logistical hurdles in enabling the service., though Nokia is hard at work to try to push for the service.

Another thing  Oyolla pointed is the Kenyan culture where people are kinda reluctant to buy intangible the applications. The evening ended with and exchange of pleasantries and we all got inspired that its possible to develop apps that will have success in the downloads arena. Kudos to James Mwai and other Kenyan developers out there making us proud!