As we go to press with the Mobile Enterprise Mobilizer Newsletter today, CTIA Wireless 2012 - the largest mobile event in North America, is just getting underway in New Orleans, with the first keynoters of the week about to take the stage. We'll report back on what CTIA has to offer this week in our next newsletter, though from a pure mobile perspective we anticipate it will be limited. The Spring CTIA show has long been one that pulls together a primarily wireless infrastructure world - all the telecommunications vendors are gathered in New Orleans for the spring show. CTIA's fall show - which typically takes place in San Diego, is specifically targeted as the "mobile enterprise" event.
Never the less, mobility from a mobile apps and smart mobile devices perspective manages to find its way into the spring event and continues to slowly chip away at the larger telco focus of the conference. As the conference is set to open, Nokia, for example, has made a substantial announcement that focuses on mobile app development. To be sure, the announcement targets a number of consumer verticals - on the surface there isn't much in the announcement to tie Nokia's future to North American enterprise mobility.
However, it is worth noting that the likeliest path Nokia can take to make inroads into the enterprise is to deliver as much consumer-side Lumia cachet as possible, in order to attract as many users as it can - in the hope that those users translate consumer-side purchases into enterprise BYOD momentum. That is a key "life-sustaining" goal for Nokia. To launch this effort, Nokia has chosen the CTIA spotlight to announce a fairly substantial set of new mobile application partnerships. Some of these application partnerships look to be exclusive. Is it enough to create meaningful differentiation?
"We are focused on delivering great, locally relevant apps, and importantly, those which offer unique, exclusive and original experiences," noted Marco Argenti, SVP, Nokia Developer Experience. "With Nokia Lumia smartphones now available in 48 markets, developers are rapidly recognizing the business opportunities and creating their best work for our consumers."
Microsoft also has an ongoing role here, primarily in ensuring that the Windows Phone Marletplace grows into a vibrant community. Though a far cry from the hundreds of thousands of apps available for iOS and Android, the WP7 market does now have more than 80,000 apps now available. It is a start in the right direction and should slowly begin to help Nokia emerge from a tenacious inability to create large scale momentum.
Following the initial launch of the Lumia 900 sales have tapered off, and there has been speculation that Microsoft might need to jump into the fray and pump potentially billions of dollars into the Lumia/Nokia efforts from its end - the overall investment and partnership really leaves the two with very little wiggle room and both companies need to keep the investment possibility on the table.
So what has Nokia announced? Let's look at it vertical by vertical.
- The new PGA Tour app will be exclusive to the Nokia Lumia platform for 12 months from launch. The new mobile app will provide fans with live, enhanced coverage of PGA Tour events. Developed with Nokia, the app will be available exclusively on Nokia Lumia smartphones beginning in late June 2012. The new app provides fans with a new way to follow PGA Tour tournaments. In addition to live tournament scoring, highlights and player information, the app provides interactive, augmented coverage of select events and holes, showing each player's exact position and scoring information. This allows fans to "get inside the ropes" so to speak, and follow all players competing on the PGA TOUR
- The ESPN Hub, which will be exclusive to Nokia until May 2012, will deliver a number of key updates in coming months, including sports scores on Live Tiles, team-level panoramas, personalization of scores, leagues and teams, and additional sports coverage such as Tennis, NASCAR and the 2012 Olympics. Additionally, a Windows Phone version of the ESPN Fantasy Football app will launch exclusively on Nokia Lumia smartphones this coming fall
- Starting with Angry Birds Space, Rovio is building a dedicated design and development team to create games for Nokia Lumia smartphones and the wider Windows Phone ecosystem, with the goal of developing and publishing all future Rovio titles as soon as possible. Nokia and Rovio will partner to develop innovative new consumer products and content exclusively for Nokia Lumia smartphones, alongside cross platform multi-channel integrated marketing initiatives. "Nokia is one of our longest-standing partners, and Windows Phone and Lumia are of strategic importance to Rovio. We are very committed to bring our games to Lumia devices, and are looking forward to delighting our fans on the Windows Phone platform," said Mikael Hed, CEO of Rovio
- Electronic Arts will continue to deliver leading game titles to Nokia Lumia and Windows Phone consumers, including FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA Jam, Tiger Woods PGA Tour, Mirror's Edge and Yahtzee. These games join titles such as Need for Speed Undercover, Need for Speed Hot Pursuit, The Sims 3, Spider Jack, and Monopoly, which are already available in Windows Phone Marketplace
- Launching during Summer 2012 and exclusive to Nokia for six months, Groupon is currently working on an extensive upgrade of its Windows Phone app. The app will include a newly developed augmented reality deal discovery function to combine map and Points-of-Interest (POI) data with what is seen via the camera's viewfinder, enabling users to see virtual Groupon deals, in real-time, nearby
- Tripdots helps vehicle owners optimize their driving behaviors while connecting with other vehicle owners and sharing driving efficiency achievements via social networks. The Tripdots app, which will be exclusive to Nokia for 3 months, lets users monitor the operation of their vehicles to enable cost savings through better understanding fuel economy. Everyone can participate in the MPG Leader Board game, and information is only sent to drivers after their trip is complete
- PayPal and Nokia will work together to bring PayPal's secure, fast and easy payments capabilities to the Windows Phone platform and Nokia Lumia smartphones, globally. PayPal will leverage the power of Windows Phone Live Tiles to create what it believes will be a compelling user experience that provides users with the flexibility to pay on-the-go
- Available exclusively to Nokia Lumia users for six months following its launch, AOL is set to introduce the AOL Entertainment Hub, bringing together the best of AOL's content to deliver an immersive and inter-connected experience on Windows Phone. Whether you want to listen to one of 55,000 radio stations via SHOUTcast, stream free music albums with AOL's Listening Party or view Trailers and Movie listings, the AOL Entertainment Hub delivers everything you need
- TIME.com has announced the forthcoming availability of TIME for Windows Phone. Utilizing the Windows Phone UI, the app will enable users to view TIME.com content, receive breaking news alerts, watch rich media content including video and share stories via the Windows Phone People Hub, while delivering the latest news and stories to users first via Live Tiles
- Newsweek Magazine has announced the availability of Newsweek's digital partner The Daily Beast on Windows Phone. The Daily Beast app delivers the latest content through Live Tiles and combines the unique style of The Daily Beast with the Windows Phone UI to deliver a stunning experience. For users who only have minutes to digest the latest news, the app also delivers The Cheat Sheet - your one stop must have reads from across the world - uniquely designed for Windows Phone
- The new Windows Phone app from Box, a company focused on providing workers with simple, secure sharing from anywhere, will be available to Nokia Lumia consumers this summer. With support for nine languages, Box for Windows Phone will enable users across the globe to browse, search and share files from their account
Is Any of This Enough?
As with any announcement of the sort that Nokia has made, a closer inspection of both the exclusivity and nature of the applications themselves is not a huge deal. Cynics can easily point out that perhaps Nokia should have had these arrangements in place before it actually launched the Lumia 900.
Mobile Enterprise remains solidly in the camp that suggests Nokia needs to focus on delivering a truly differentiating piece of hardware. We’ve previously noted this in suggesting that Nokia needs to deliver a superphone
, and that it may already have the necessary framework to do so. Bringing together a truly stellar piece of hardware with the apps noted above is a good starting point. We're not sure the apps of and by themselves will buy Nokia (or Microsoft) much in the way of new marketshare. The missing piece remains hardware that can compete not only with the likes of Samsung's new Galaxy III, but also with the "anticipation" of what Apple will likely do next.
That hardware element will be crucial to Nokia breaking into the North American enterprise market. That, in turn, remains a top priority for Nokia to regain a true footing.