IT'S easy to be sceptical about Nokia's announcement last week that it is launching an online marketplace called Ovi.
Just think, how many mobile games or songs have you bought online in the past two years?
I'm a geek but I've yet to do that.
But I think Nokia has a good shot this time of attaining the mobile Holy Grail.
Ovi, which means 'door' in Finnish, will offer several types of Internet services when it launches in the last quarter of this year.
There's the N-Gage games marketplace which sells mobile game titles, the Nokia Music Store for all your digital songs, and Ovi will also sell maps for Nokia's growing range of satellite navigation devices.
It's clear that Nokia has spent plenty of time examining and plugging many of the potholes that have dogged the realisation of this online dream.
SEEDING THE POPULATION
Firstly, there's always been a problem of incompatible phones from different brands. Mobile game developers often have to customise one game for a dozen different phone models.
And even if the phones are from the same maker, they can display the same content differently.
That's why Nokia has been aggressively pushing its smartphones over the past few years, seeding the market with potential buyers.
The smartphones, ranging from mid-range models like the 6120 Classic to the N-series models like N73 and N95, all use variants of the Symbian Series 60 (S60) operating system.
That means if you develop games or business software for one S60 handphone, it'll probably work well on other S60 models released in the same year.
To date, Nokia has sold over 100 million S60 smartphones. People often buy them for their design and multimedia features, not realising that they've been forming a massive common user base for Ovi.
That's roughly the same as the number of iPods Apple has sold so far. And of course, Nokia is going for Apple's jugular.
It has tied up content with the four major music publishers for its music store - Sony Music, EMI, Warner and Universal - to provide millions of tracks to browse and buy.
Prices are also reasonable at a euro ($2) per song which you can download using either PC or compatible Nokia handphone.
But there are other hurdles Nokia needs to overcome before Ovi can truly take off.
APPEAL TO THE MASSES
Ask the average person to download software into his handphone and you'll probably get a blank look.
Or he'll say : 'Why can't I make this Ovi thing work on my Motorola/Samsung/Sony Ericsson phone?'
Actually, the three Nokia rivals and other phone makers are also licensees of Symbian operating systems, but Nokia has been pushing S60 largely on its own.
Nokia may be the market leader, but right now, people won't buy a Nokia just to purchase songs or games online.
To fight Apple in both software and hardware, it helps to understand why people love their iPods.
Apple's iconic players are simply better at browsing huge music libraries and playing songs.
Nokia is launching new XpressMusic models and the new N81 and N95, both with up to 8GB storage.
While they are impressive as phones, they still aren't as easy to use as iPods when it comes to music.
As for N-Gage games, Nokia should remember that most kids and young adults are playing on their Nintendo DS or PlayStation Portable devices.
Mobile games pale in comparison, as handphones with their tiny buttons and small surface areas just don't give a great user interface for gaming.
But the biggest hurdle of all is the data charges for surfing with your handphone. It's become cheaper, but still not cheap enough.
I currently pay $22 to M1 every month to download up to 1GB of e-mails and access webpages at 3G speeds.
Most consumers will compare that to superior speeds and lower pricing of home broadband plans.
That, I believe, is the main reason why many tech-savvy people still don't surf or buy content on their handphones.
With Ovi, Nokia looks set to shake up the mobile arena, but first it'll have to convince the average Joe to go beyond just making calls on their phones.