Nokia appeals to mobile app developers

BARCELONA — Nokia is pitching 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 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.

While Toshia isn’t at Mobile World Congress, PC World’s Melissa J. Perenson got her hands on an upcoming tablet called the AT270 (at least, that’s what the tablet is identified as by the Android Operating System) at the Nvidia booth. Here’s her report:

The AT270 sports Nvidia’s Tegra 3 chip, which is why Nvidia was showing off the tablet at its booth. Toshiba showed several prototype tablets in January at CES 2012, this 7.7-inch model among them.

The 7.7-inch AT270 I played with at MWC feels more real than the prototype I handled at CES. The buttons are well-crafted, and the back is made of pleasingly-textured molded plastic. Along the bottom vertical edge is the headphone jack, a microUSB port, and a microSD card slot. The camera is at the upper right corner. While I don’t have the actual specs on this tablet, I can say it’s slim and lightweight and–most importantly–feels comfortable for extended one-handed use.

Toshiba’s display appears to have beautiful colors–not surprising, since it’s using a 1280 by 800 pixel super-AMOLED screen. Text looks sharp and crisp, as it does on Toshiba’s current 7-inch Thrive. The AT270 is expected to replace the current Thrive, at an as-yet undetermined date.
Nvidia also notes that Toshiba’s upcoming 13-inch tablet will also be powered by the Tegra 3. Toshiba says that model, shown in rough prototype form at CES, will have a wide viewing angle display and weigh around 2 pounds. The back of the model shown at CES was made of aluminum and the display resolution was not final. The reference design shown at CES ran Android, but Toshiba implied the tablet could, in the future, run Windows 8.

(From Melissa J. Perenson, PC World and Nancy Gohring, IDG News)

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