Nokia counting on its Collection apps to help sell Windows Phones

Nokia counting on its Collection apps to help sell Windows Phones

Summary: Nokia is relying on its free 'Collection' apps to provide Lumia users with a differentiated and updated Windows Phone platform.

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Nokia is planning to continue to beef up its own app collection for its Lumia Windows Phones as a way to change the application conversation from quantity to quality.

That's according to Chris Weber, President of Nokia U.S., who was on hand for Nokia's April 6 Times Square party celebrating the launch of the Lumia 900 in the U.S.

"The Nokia Collection will really differentiate us in a big way," Weber told me during a one-on-one ahead of the Nokia-sponsored mini concert by Nicki Minaj on Friday night. "The idea is let's bring a differentiated experience... It's more about having the better apps on Windows Phone."

There are eleven apps in the Nokia Collection at present. WindowsObserver.com has the full list, which includes Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps, Nokia Transit, and some third-party apps like CNN and Univision. Nokia is making the Collection available for free to Lumia handset users. Nokia is planning to continue to add to the Collection. A reading app, known as Nokia Reading, is expected to debut in the coming weeks/months.

Nokia and AT&T officially (and puzzlingly) launched the Lumia 900 on April 8, Easter Sunday, a day when many AT&T stores were closed. On April 9, Nokia, AT&T and Microsoft are turning up the promo volume with a "Free Time Machine" events in New York, Chicago and San Francisco.

There are two primary target audiences for the Lumia 900s, Weber said: First-time smartphone users who will be attracted to the $99 price tage; and switchers, meaning "people who haven't had great experiences on any (phone) platform," in Weber's words.

Weber emphasized the dual consumer and business appeal of the Lumia 900s, noting that it provides rights-protected access to corporate mail; full fidelity Office document access; Lync unified communications; and the ability to connect to SharePoint without a VPN. He said his e-mail inbox is full of requests for phones from CIOs and business users he knew from his days at Microsoft. Those who already use Windows and other Microsoft products are a natural audience for the Lumia phones, Weber said.

I asked Weber whether he's hearing business and/or consumer customers ask whether the Lumia 900s will be able to run the Windows Phone 8 operating system when Microsoft releases it later this year. He declined to answer, claiming Microsoft itself has yet to disclose any particulars about the "Apollo" platform. (Microsoft has just started talking publicly about Apollo, and has shared privately its plans for Windows Phone 8 operating system due out later this year.)

Weber did say that "We know the importance of keeping the platform fresh." He said one way Nokia will do this is by continuing to deliver "unique" apps.

Nokia is expected to launch the Lumia 900 in the UK possibly later this month, and to take it to other countries this year, as well.

In other Windows Phone news, the HTC Titan II also is available on AT&T, as of April 8. And it seems Verizon is readying a Windows Phone update for the HTC Trophy devices that includes the disappearing keyboard fix among other patches. Still no word on when Verizon plans to push it to us Trophy users, however.

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

About

Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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15 comments
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  • Sounds great!

    .
    P. Douglas
  • Woot!

    Woot!
    TimeForAChangeToBetter
  • After All

    We all know how stellar OEM applications are. Just look at the wonderful, high quality stuff that has been provided on Android by Samsung and HTC, or for an older example, how many wonderful experiences have been provided by Dell and HP applications on PC's. When combined with applications from the carriers the experience becomes double wonderful. Yay.

    In the real world, wake up Nokia, you're a hardware maker. Your own operating systems have bombed in the market. Quit writing software. Just make great hardware, sell it to us at a fair price that includes a profit for you, and get out of the way.
    txscott
    • Interesting take.

      Although I have to admit I prefer the HTC Sense UI over the Samsung TouchWiz UI... HTC did a solid job with that. I guess what I'm trying to say is give the software a try before you declare it crapware.
      NonFanboy
    • Nokia Maps

      Nokia maps is a strong selling point, as it allows for Offline GPS functionality out of the box with no additional $$ spent. I have a 3 1/2 year old Nokia E71 with Nokia Maps that I am taking to England in 3 weeks and I have the maps already downloaded and ready to take me where I need to go. Data or no Data.
      jkohut
    • nokia has been producing software for a long time

      Nokia drive is an excellent example, offline turn by turn navigation at no additional cost.
      sjaak327
    • Great If You Like Them, If Not - Don't Download Them

      Since they aren't forced on you (you download them yourself), your comparison to Dell and HP - misinformed as it is from the get-go (because it overgeneralizes without proving your generalization is justified) - is flawed. Nokia's apps are quite nice, and if you don't like them, just leave them. Nokia is big enough that they can afford to have a software branch. Microsoft has a hardware arm, too, and there are plenty of people who like their keyboards and mice, for instance.
      WebSiteManager
  • Maps

    Maps is a weak point for MS in many countries outside US. Nokia apps could bridge that to compete against Android.
    owllnet
    • Exactly

      That's the very thing that many of their apps do - provide services outside the U.S. that Microsoft isn't provide, e.g., Nokia Music.
      WebSiteManager
  • Nokia apps

    Nokia Drive and Maps works excellent. Nokia music (probably not in US yet?) is great to, not necessary to have Spotify.I got a Nokia Lumia 800. Had 2 Android phones before.
    But from now it's Windows phones from me.
    johnh3
  • Pointless exercise

    I think they're kidding themselves. No matter what apps they try to offer on an exclusive basis, it won't be six months before somebody knocks them off and has an equivalent product in the Microsoft app store.

    All the "let's differentiate" tactics were tried in the PC business. They don't work. The PCs became "boxes running Windows" and the WP devices will be "cell phones running Windows." Like it did in PCs, making money is going to come down to supply chain management, ruthless cost cutting at every turn, and a willingness to make money by the grocery store method: low margins and high inventory turns.
    Robert Hahn
    • Unfamiliarly similar

      Except for jaded consumers, the "new phone" experience continues into the packaged software, so while hardware differentiation may have led to the purchase, good packaged software can create a loyal customer. You're right about the PC history, though -- bundled software was usually garbage. Fortunately for phones, I'm seeing good things in some of their bundled software.
      scH4MMER
  • Sounds like they are ready to conquer 2005

    Microsoft Office, offline maps, an OEM suite of apps, and WOW that hot CNN app. Ahhh the memories
    B.A.
    • Back to the Future!

      OK, that was actually pretty funny. Microsoft has a lot of catching up to do, although they can take heart -- it's clear from all the name calling that they are feared in the mobile space, otherwise who would even pay attention?
      scH4MMER
  • Nice Nokia Apps

    First thing I tried on the Lumia 900 was taking a picture and running it through Nokia's Creative Studio app. I turned the photo into what looked like a sketch and posted it on Facebook. Friends thought we'd actually had a sketch of our dog done! So my first impression is certainly that Nokia is adding value via their app Collection.

    I also think it is great that the basic user experience on Nokia Lumia phones is just the Windows Phone experience, not some Nokia-specific experience, and that they are adding value via apps. That gives me the best of both worlds, a consistent user experience across manufacturers but a lot of value add from choosing Nokia. I can't wait to use Nokia Drive etc., which is exactly what Nokia is hoping for. If I get hooked on Nokia's apps it is going to be really hard for me to switch to a Windows Phone (or any other OS) from someone else.
    EXMSDE