What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

Summary: When Nokia and Microsoft announced their future Windows Phone strategy less than 10 months ago, there was the promise of some unique features in Nokia's devices. We saw a couple of these unique features last week at Nokia World.

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I had the chance to attend the first day of Nokia World last week where they announced the Lumia 710 and 800 devices. James mentioned that he did not see much from the Nokia partnership. Nokia did mention three pieces in the keynote, but didn't explain many of the details so I spent some time talking with some folks on the show floor and found out more to share with you.

Nokia Maps and Nokia Drive

One of the main services mentioned in February when Nokia and Microsoft announced their partnership was the integration of Nokia Maps into Windows Phone. The two companies said that Nokia Maps would not be exclusive to Nokia devices and that was confirmed at Nokia World. People with HTC, Samsung, LG, and other Windows Phone devices should see Nokia Maps appearing in the Windows Phone Marketplace within the next couple of weeks as a free software application. This version of Nokia Maps will NOT support offline maps or voice guided navigation, but does have the following features:

  • Local POI details (provides you location, phone number, reviews, and photos of up to 25 locations in your vicinity)
  • Deep link support (you can pin destinations to the Start screen)
  • Detailed maps in satellite, 2D, and 3D views

The differentiation between Nokia and other manufacturers will be offline maps and Nokia Drive, which is the program powering voice navigation. The voice navigation experience is much like what you see with Nokia Maps on the Symbian and MeeGo platforms. You can find voice guided navigation on Windows Phone in programs like Navigon, but when you get a Nokia Windows Phone you will get this support for free.

Nokia Music

The Windows Phone experience is best in the United States where you get full access to all the services of the Microsoft ecosystem. Outside the U.S. there is a matrix of unsupported services that gives Windows Phone users an inconsistent experience. Nokia is working to improve the out-of-box experience by providing Nokia Music for FREE on all Nokia Windows Phone devices. Nokia Music is similar to Spotify, Slacker, Rdio and other $10/month subscription services where you get unlimited streaming music support and offline music to enjoy when you have no connection.

As you can see in my video walk through with a Nokia representative below, there are several features in Nokia Music that make it a pretty compelling experience for new Windows Phone users.

Nokia Music does provide a one tap link to the Zune music on your device when you tap the My Music words in the main Nokia Music interface. There is radio stations customized for different regions that you can tap and download for offline listening. You get 50 songs per channel and up to four channels to download for something like 10-12 hours of music that should cover most any flight. There are also personalization options where you can search for your favorite artist and enjoy music from that artist.

The ability to get up and running with music right out of the box on Nokia Windows Phones is pretty compelling, especially when you know that other Windows Phone devices require you to first connect to a PC or Mac to get any music. With this free service and the trend of people to stream music, Microsoft may find fewer people subscribing to the Zune service with Nokia Windows Phones.

ESPN Sports Hub

The third app/service announced at Nokia World was an ESPN hub. I didn't find this on the show floor to discuss more details and there was not much covered during the keynote. Based on what was shown, I really did not see any differences between this ESPN app and the ESPN ScoreCenter app for all Windows Phone devices. The ESPN Sports Hub was not on any of the devices in the hands-on area of the show and Nokia did not reveal when this would be coming to these devices.

Is this enough to offer a compelling Nokia WP experience?

I think the two main services, Maps and Music, are compelling offerings and if these services are important to you then it may be a no brainer to purchase a Nokia Windows Phone. It is important to put what we see here into perspective and understand that it was just earlier this February when Nokia and Microsoft announced this Windows Phone strategy and we already see a couple of unique Windows Phone services and two solid Windows Phone smartphones. I imagine there will be a LOT more coming from both Nokia and Microsoft in the future and in my opinion this partnership will be valuable for both companies.

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Nokia, Operating Systems, Software, Telcos, Windows

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27 comments
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  • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

    Really! This is competing?? Android have free navigation software from ages... Look out iPhone for some cool 3D mapping... Music! I spend hardly $10 per annum on buying music, so a subscription service does not entice me. Many sports apps including ESPN is available on both Android and iPhone. Nokia gotta do better - they need to innovate in hardware!
    browser.
    • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

      @browser. There is no subscription. Mix Radio is free out of the box. The start of the article implies its subscription like the other services but the last sentence correct this with the lovely word 'free' :)
      marthaboggins
    • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

      @browser. Of course it's competing, especially since none of these services can be matched by other WP manufacturers! <br><br>And apparently, you aren't aware that Nokia's current mapping services (for their Symbian/Meego devices) far exceeds Google's mapping services for Nokia's extensive clientele - outside of the U.S. <br><br>And Nokia owns Navteq - yeah, that mapping that is the power behind serveral mapping services currently on the market. And currently, Nokia uses C3 for 3D, but no doubt they are capable of developing their own, should Apple decide to not license the tech.<br><br>Get educated about Nokia, will ya?
      1019902735
      • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

        @1019902735
        +1
        Ram U
      • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

        @1019902735

        +2
        NoAxToGrind
    • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

      @browser.
      It seems you never owned a Nokia device before. 3D mapping is not new for them and Navigation software is million times better than Google's and that too free. Nokia owns Navteq who provide navigation services to mapping services more than you can imagine. I respect your opinions that you post on these talkbacks, but please learn more about Nokia before bashing them.
      Ram U
    • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

      @browser.
      I agree. I'm expecting the innovation out of Nokia to be hardware based, and leave the software innovation to MS.
      kstap
  • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

    Even without these Nokia specific services, the designs of the Lumia devices alone, are compelling enough!<br><br>The boring, multiple, never-ending rehash designs of the HTC and Samsung devices are simply, unattractive. I wouldn't purchase or take for free, a HTC or Samsung device.<br><br>Nokia will definitely get my money, subsidized or not!
    1019902735
    • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

      @1019902735 <br>Exactly. I am looking forward for a Nokia WP7 device with exact same look and style of E7, that would be a killer device.
      Ram U
    • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

      @1019902735
      Think I saw very positive comments about WP7 already for some time now. Or am I wrong? But my impression is that the part of positive comments is bigger than the part of the market WP7 has.
      somereader
  • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

    Look at android users, not even half of their devices are getting updated with the OS... After all this HuHa with Google's pirated OS... its a big shame.

    Anybody investing in smart phones, WP7 will be the smartest choice.
    owlnet
    • Updates

      @owlnet
      As a Nexus One owner, I am annoyed that the official ICS update will not run on my phone. Perhaps CyanogenMod will shoehorn it to fit.
      However, the only track record MS has with updates (desktops) requires you to get a new computer to move up an OS or suffer for the lack. I don't see any logic in recommending WP as a solution for that.
      Tsingi
      • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

        @Tsingi
        Your arguments do not make any sense.
        You do not have to buy the new phone to get update for Windows Phone. I updated mine to Nodo then to Mango. Did not have to buy anything.
        How is that related to desktop OS? No idea. By the way you do not have to buy a new computer if you want to install the new version of Windows either. Somebody lied to you.
        paul2011
      • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

        @Tsingi
        What do yo mean by needing a new computer to sync WP7? I have Windows XP and I am able to sync my WP7 with WinXP, no need to buy a new computer for this. I also can sync my WP7 with Mac Book. Please research before spreading FUD.
        Ram U
  • Unique?

    It's another mobile ball and chain. What's to like? Does it come with cookies or a death ray?
    ego.sum.stig
    • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

      @ego.sum.stig@... It comes with browser cookies...and a smile. :o)
      NotMSUser
  • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

    Nokia have always made great Hardware, i would have stayed with their phones if it was not for their old operating system. I would love android on them ><
    Frenz9
  • What makes Nokia phones special?

    In a year they'll be limited-edition collector's items, like the KIN.
    symbolset
  • Maps, that's all?

    Yes, Nokia maps are great, but if that's the only differentiator, they are not going to be very different from any other Windows phones, and won't last long in this market.

    Nokia's innovation department seems empty.
    kraterz
  • RE: What makes Nokia Windows Phone devices unique?

    Metro is Unique. Nokia's HW designs are unique. The combination of hw and sw +Microsoft $$$ + Nokia channel and combined MS / Nokia marketing is the differentiator which will surely (re)position WP7 as a serious platform. When Nokia succeeds, then all the other WP7 hardware providers succeed.
    mrmin