Nokia Focuses on Appealing to Developers

Nokia pitched its Windows Phones as the best bet for operators and app developers, and to prove it, announced partnerships for new apps with brands including Michelin Travel, Red Bull, Kraft Foods and others.

"We're creating a platform to attract third party developers that's far friendlier and far more aligned with the interests of operators all over the world" compared to the other leading mobile platforms, said Stephen Elop, Nokia's president and CEO, in a keynote speech at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona on Wednesday.

Nokia has been focused on making it easier for developers to make more money on its phones than others, he said. It offers operator billing with 140 operators in 40 countries. Nokia's own research shows that the purchase of apps increases by a factor of five if operator billing is available, Elop said.

That's partly because a growing number of people around the world are getting phones but don't have credit cards. "We're removing a barrier to payment," he said.

Elop announced a partnership that includes Microsoft with Kraft Foods, which plans to make an offering that spans mobile phones, PCs, TVs and Xbox. Nokia did not disclose further details about what kinds of apps Kraft might offer.

Nokia also said that Voddler, a video on demand service, will bring its offering to Nokia Lumia phones in Europe. The app will offer streaming video and integrate social networking.

Another deal includes Michelin, which plans to offer an NFC app for Symbian phones to offer location-based information on Michelin's 40,000 rated restaurants. It will also launch travel apps for Lumia and Series 40 devices.

Lumia phones will also get a new app from The Weather Channel that integrates Facebook and email, Nokia said.

Elop didn't have much new to say about how his company hopes to boost sales of Windows Phones. He reiterated that the company is focused on retail shops around the world, ensuring that sales people are showing people Lumia phones. "Our focus is getting those devices in people's hands," he said.

Nancy Gohring covers mobile phones and cloud computing for The IDG News Service. Follow Nancy on Twitter at @idgnancy. Nancy's e-mail address is Nancy_Gohring@idg.com

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