Nokia’s App Ecosystem Strategy is Pragmatic and Concrete

by Harry Wang | Feb. 26, 2014

While the Android-based Nokia X smartphone stole the attention at MWC, everyone knows that for any Nokia smartphones to be successful, the phone maker needs to do more and fast in the app and content space. In a close-door meeting with industry analyst, Nokia’s two leaders, Bryan Biniak and Amit Patel detailed Nokia’s app ecosystem initiatives and answered our questions.

I left the meeting with an overall feeling that these two Nokia leaders know where the gaps are between Nokia’s app and content offerings versus leading platforms’ and Nokia is working hard to narrow those gaps in three fronts: app development and curation for its app stores, app marketing and monetization for developers, and differentiation and localization of apps to appeal to end users. Although it will take some time for developers and consumers to change their perceptions towards and then behaviors on Nokia products and app store, it is the right approach and in my opinion the only viable option for Nokia to earn back consumers’ favor and developers’ cooperation.

For instance, Bryan told me that Windows’ app store now has 245,000 apps and growing. Nokia is focusing on getting the most popular apps to Windows phone and app store so it will not become a deal breaker when consumers shop for a handset. It also strives to incentivize developers to come up with unique or more localized features with their Windows app. An example Bryan gave is Adidas’ MyCoach app which features unique training packs from famous athletes. These packs, Bryan said, are only available on Windows’ app.

As to the portability of Android apps to the Nokia X and all other Nokia device platforms, the two leaders assured us that a majority of Android apps will be supported.

At MWC this year, Tizen, Firefox, Opera all provided updates on their respective platform approach and Nokia will need to further differentiate itself from the handset and app/content side, especially in the emerging markets. It can’t afford to losing this piece of pie to these upcoming competitors while fighting for mind shares and market shares in the developed market.



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