At S60Blogs, which is published by Nokia, Aleksi Uotila has clarified that Java Verified certification is NOT a requirement for Java ME applications to be accepted in the Ovi Store. Apps must still pass Java Verified test criteria and do need to be signed with a Verisgn or Thawte certificate, but testing by an independent test house while recommended, is not required. Nokia will apparently do the testing themselves at no charge to the developer. There’s a discussion of what this means in this thread on Forum Nokia.
This is good news for small developers and even larger ones who want to support a large number of devices and languages or plan to release frequent updates. Java Verified testing costs about $175 per device family/language with retests running around $125. There are about 60 Nokia device families with about 45 of them representing handsets made in the last three years. If you want to support a number of languages and device families costs add up quickly, plus there is a considerable amount of paperwork and process involved in each individual device/language submission. Java Verified certification is good for 10 years but this doesn’t really help if you do frequent updates as each new build must be retested.
Versign and Thawte certificates run about $500/year. These certificates only guarantee who created an application and that it hasn’t been modified since being signed. There is no testing involved and a single certificate can be used to sign an unlimited number of applications and builds.
I think this is a step in the right direction by Nokia. We should start seeing more Java applications in the Ovi Store, like Opera Mini, which is already signed with Verisign and/or Thawte.
As Nokia’s already doing the testing, it would not take much for them to also sign applications that pass. This is the approach Apple and BlackBerry are taking and would do a lot to get more quality open source and freeware products into the Ovi Store.