Nokia beefs up Ovi portal to take on Google

The media stored on Ovi can be accessed from anywhere, and will be secure and regularly backed up

Nokia showed off its new Ovi service portal at Nokia World 2007 in Amsterdam, demonstrating how it will be a 'dashboard to your life'. Designed to work on your mobile phone as well as your PC or Mac, Ovi is intended to bring together digital content and applications across all your devices.

The Ovi service will sit as a desktop application from where you can access files and the like, essentially taking on Google and its similar applications. It is currently in internal beta testing,

Anssi Vanjoki, Nokia's executive vice president, said it was time to make services easier to use for general mobile phone users, not just for early adopters and tech geeks.

"One big priority is making it easier to find things like mobile applications," he said. Nokia also wants to make it easier to store and access your photos, videos, music, calendar, maps and other data from a single place.

Ovi to unlock every door

"We have received a lot of criticism over the years about the PC client that we have, but that is almost gone," Vanjoki said in his keynote speech. "It has to be better. We have to have a more complete way of managing your digital life. Now we are at the stage of Web 2.0, and...we need to know how people can integrate digital as part of their everyday life."

A leading analyst thinks the move could mean that Nokia is competing even more with Apple. "These moves are a clear statement that Nokia intends to compete head to head with Apple and others seeking to be consumer's default personal information and entertainment destination," says Mike Grant, head of Broadband and Media at Analysys who was at the event as well as .

"As users increasingly build lives around their mobiles, taking pictures, listening to music, and maintaining and interacting with networks of friends and work colleagues, equality of access to content and data across mobile phones, PCs or another internet terminal is becoming increasingly important."

The media stored on Ovi can be accessed from anywhere, and will be secure and regularly backed up. The data will be automatically synced between your phone and computer, says Nokia. The mobile offering lets you access the web and applications such as Flickr, Facebook, Twitter and YouTube from within the Ovi interface.

"Ovi is not a portal, it's a complete environment which resides on the web, is on your personal computer, and serves your mobile device. It's a door to your digital life, and really is a dashboard to your life," Vanjoki said. Ovi, in case you're not up to scratch on your Finnish, means 'door' in the Nokia mother tongue.

You'll also be able to buy mobile games via N-Gage and music via the Nokia Music Store. Ovi is due to go into public beta sometime next year.