When the Nokia X was announced, Nokia stated that as they had no Play Store access, they would be operating their own App store for the Nokia X. The app store is actually run by Opera, the company behind the browser and tends to be fairly bare-bones with gaping holes in their app choices, but it seems Nokia or Opera has a plan for this -the company is uploading apps without the knowledge of their developers.
Via Google+, Ander Webbs, the developer behind ADW.Launcher shared a screenshot of an email he received from Nokia which states that the team behind the Nokia X store has created an account for him for the Nokia app store and uploaded his app to the Nokia X store. All he needs to do is login to the Nokia dashboard and publish the App.
There was a little bit of confusion to start with in the comments of his Google+ post, as many assumed that Ander was distributing his App through one of the many other App stores that Opera operate. Ander has disputed this stating “I’ve never been a developer of Opera and have never uploaded anything there, so I’m not completely sure about that…”. But Anna Melnychuk, Opera Mobile Store, Marketing Manager who claimed responsibility for the original email that Ander received, weighed into the comments advising him that he had once registered with Handster, which Opera acquired in September 2011 to distribute his app through them.
It’s….well, semi-legit, at least from a legal standpoint, though still leaves a fairly bitter taste in the mouth for the developers involvedd. But there are other issues at play here besides the distasteful practice of assuming a developer just wishes to distribute their app as far and wide as possible.
The main issue is that the app may not technically run on the Nokia UI, which runs without Play Services. A number of Apps I tried side-loading on the Nokia X failed miserably due to this. If developers have to invest time into re-working their apps to work without Play Services, many independent developers don’t have the time or resources to spare to do this for every upstart app store that appears.
Nokia has a large hill to climb in terms of populating their fledgeling app store, primarily with convincing developers that they are a trustworthy place to distribute their apps from. Currently, app availability in the Nokia App store can only be described as woeful, but Nokia is continuing to try and woo developers.
If Nokia want their Google-free Nokia X series to succeed, they need developers, but the question has to be asked is playing free and loose with APKs the best way to do it?