On May 8, at the CTIA Wireless 2012 show in New Orleans, Nokia announced that they are partnering with a bunch of top-tier brands to bring their various apps and games to Windows Phone, with a lot of those apps and games being exclusive to Nokia’s Lumia line of Windows Phones.
Some of the highlights from their press release:
PGA Tour (exclusive to Lumia for 12 months)
In addition to live tournament scoring, highlights and player information, the app provides interactive, augmented coverage of select events and holes, showing each player’s exact position and scoring information. This allows fans to “get inside the ropes” and follow all players competing on the PGA TOUR.
ESPN (exclusive to Lumia until May 2013)
This app already exists on the Lumia devices, and is in addition to the ESPN ScoreCenter app that is available to all Windows Phones. The Lumia app will see some functionality updates and in addition, the ESPN Fantasy Football app (another Lumia exclusive) will be made available later in the Fall to align with the NFL season.
After a back-and-forth on whether they are going to build Angry Birds Space for Windows Phone or not, Rovio is now building a dedicated design and development team to create games for Lumia and other Windows Phone devices. That’s quite a scoop for Nokia from the rather negative start that the game maker had with Microsoft and Windows Phone.
Nokia and Rovio will partner to develop innovative new consumer products and content exclusively for Nokia Lumia smartphones, alongside cross platform multi-channel integrated marketing initiatives.
EA will be bringing some of their most popular titles to Lumia and other Windows Phones, including FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA Jam, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR®, Mirror’s Edge and Yahtzee to add to the several titles they already have in the Windows Phone Marketplace.
Groupon (exclusive to Lumia for 6 months)
There is already an official Groupon app which is going to get some major updates, including a cool and innovative augmented reality feature to find deals near you.
Tripdots (exclusive to Lumia for 3 months)
Tripdots helps vehicle owners optimize their driving behaviors while connecting with other vehicle owners and sharing driving efficiency achievements via social networks. The app lets users monitor the operation of their vehicles to enable cost savings through better understanding fuel economy.
Yet another “key” app missing in the Windows Phone ecosystem is for the popular PayPal service. PayPal is going to work with Nokia to not only bring their app to Windows Phone, but also use functionality like Live Tiles to enhance the user experience.
AOL Entertainment Hub (exclusive to Lumia for 3 months)
Whether you want to listen to one of 55,000 radio stations via SHOUTcast, stream free music albums with AOL’s Listening Party or view Trailers and Movie listings, the AOL Entertainment Hub delivers everything you need.
Yet another app where Live Tiles are going to be used to enhance the user experience:
“The live tiles on Nokia Lumia helped us create an awesome app that makes it easy to stay in the know on what’s happening in Film, TV, Radio, Concerts and Music right from your home screen,” said Sol Lipman, Director of Mobile First products at AOL.
Utilizing the stunning Windows Phone UI, the app will enable users to view TIME.com content, receive breaking news alerts, watch rich media content including video and share stories via the Windows Phone People Hub, while delivering the latest news and stories to users first via Live Tiles.
Newsweek – The Daily Beast
The Daily Beast app delivers the latest content through Live Tiles and combines the unique style of The Daily Beast with the Windows Phone UI to deliver a stunning experience. For users who only have minutes to digest the latest news, the app also delivers The Cheat Sheet – your one stop must have reads from across the world – uniquely designed for Windows Phone.
Box app for Windows Phone
Box, another oft-requested app, will finally come to Windows Phone with support for nine languages.
This is a long list of apps, from most of the big brands that still don’t have a presence on Windows Phone. There is also a conscious effort made to utilize some of the unique features of the Windows Phone UI like Live Tiles, to differentiate the apps from the other platforms. As a Windows Phone user, I always smile when a developer uses Live Tiles to provide at-a-glance information, or allow me to create secondary tiles to get deep links into the app (like a flight boarding pass in an airline app, or my home commute in a public transport app).
Nokia obviously is pouring a lot of money to get these brands to build the apps, and I think it is justified to a certain extent. Nokia, and Windows Phone in general, needs to have more users buy their devices. One of the stumbling blocks for Windows Phone has been the lack of top-tier apps. Microsoft has tried both “depth” and “breadth” developer evangelism but obviously more work is to be done. Nokia, with its own great developer network, can also provide help in the area.
Another good thing in this announcement is that despite some of these apps being exclusive, none of them are “permanent exclusives”. In other words, because of Nokia, the entire Windows Phone ecosystem will ultimately benefit. Unfortunately, the other OEMs have shown little or no such intent. I think I finally get what Stephen Elop meant when he said that Nokia is the real Windows Phone maker.
Are you a Windows Phone user? Are you happy seeing this, especially if you have a non-Lumia phone? Let me know!