Nokia is attempting to lure more app developers to its new Lumia smartphone platform, by locking them into semi-'exclusive' Windows Phone deals.
The company has been in a partnership with Microsoft, who develops the Windows Phone operating system, to attempt to reduce Google Android and Apple's iOS devices' dominance over the smartphone market.
While users of Windows Phone compatible devices have access to 80,000 apps through Windows Live Marketplace, Nokia is looking to pull some exclusive deals to tie some higher profile apps to its Nokia devices only.
The Lumia series will now have these exclusives (note: amongst Windows Phone users only; not Android or Apple users - whom already have access to these titles):
- The PGA Tour app - exclusive to Nokia Lumia for 12 months from launch
- ESPN - exclusive to Nokia Lumia until May 2013
- Groupon - Exclusive to Nokia Lumia for 6 months from launch
- AOL Entertainment Hub - exclusive to Nokia Lumia for 6 months
- Tripdots - Exclusive to Windows Phone customers for 3 months from launch
- Angry Birds Space - Rovio has also promised to release all future titles on Nokia 'as soon as possible'.
Nokia also announced (non-exclusive) support for EA and EA Sports' series of sports games, Paypal, and a promise from Rovio that, after its Windows Phone release of Angry Birds Space, all future games will be ported ASAP. Time and Newsweek will also be creating news apps for the platform, as will Box. All of these apps are available on competing platforms.
The problem is, these apps are mostly bringing Windows Phone 7/Nokia's devices up to speed with the competition - they aren't game changers or differentiators.Even Skype, a company Microsoft owns, and is one of the most popular internet calling apps in the world, was released in a temporary form in February, with a delayed release date for the 'proper' integrated app tied to a future Windows Phone platform.
The problem is that its platform, which is struggling (as is the company as a whole), is not the first choice for developers, keen to support the larger user bases on rival platforms. This has also seen Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer put pressure on the company's Windows Team, and sacked the president of the phone division. Since its launch in November, its new Lumia devices have failed to take off - selling just 3 million units since November. By comparison, Apple has sold more than 30 million iPhones in that time. Nokia has issued profit warnings since.
"Nokia has achieved much in a short space of time when it comes to key brands and partners creating apps for Nokia Lumia customers. We believe developers are now moving away from simply porting, to create new innovative and high-design apps that fully leverage the Windows Phone Metro UI and features such as live tiles. With new and exclusive apps launching on a regular basis, and Nokia Lumia rapidly expanding into new markets, Nokia and Microsoft are demonstrating meaningful differentiation for consumers, developers, operators and retailers," said Crawford Del Prete, EVP, Chief Research Officer, IDC.
It is worth noting that these apps are not necessarily available on Nokia's Symbian operating system, which the company continues to support - potentially confusing customers. It has just announced a gimmicky 41MP cameraphone, the Pureview 808, which runs the Belle OS.