Microskia – Nokia and Microsoft Announce Partnership

In case you haven't heard, Microsoft and Nokia announced a new partnership that will make Windows Phone 7 the primary operating system for Nokia's smartphones. Nokia will get billions and billions of dollars and phase out their Symbian OS, and  Microsoft will start using Nokia's mapping and location services in Bing, which work well, considering they are in 80% of in-dash Nav systems under their brand name NAVTEQ.  Nokia has seen its smartphone growth slowdown as Apple's and Google's sped up. The decision to go with Windows Phone 7 as a primary smartphone platform is the company's bid to recapture the smartphone market.

But will this alliance work? The stock  market this week didnt' seem to think so, in fact it's response was pretty negative. There's no question that there's a lot of uncertainty for several reasons:

Apparently there's no exclusivity. Nokia will begin to drop its Symbian OS but continue to work in different segments of the market with different platforms and Microsoft will continue to work with other phone makers. Are tablets part of the deal? No. In fact, Nokia might bring a Windows or an Adroid version to market.

However, despite not having gained huge traction in the market, Windows Phone 7 does have a lot to offer. The platform has a pretty cool way of providing instant access to current information through its tile-based Start screen and its lock screen. You can easily view notifications, see upcoming appointments, review messages and emails, and keep on top of your social networks.  The platform also took a unique page for both the home screen and certain app screens by not linking the physical and logical screen sizes. An app's screen contents can extend beyond the physical screen allowing the user to swipe to see additional content. It's not a new concept, but it is well executed and built into the OS more than on other mobile platforms. That could offer app developers the ability to do some cool things. Yet, despite these innovations and a deep integration with social media and other technologies like Xbox Live and the Zune marketplace, the device hasn't caught on.

Nokia on the other hand does have some important things to bring to the table to help Windows Phone 7 succeed. Nokia is a global brand and generally makes very solid hardware. Although not thought of so highly in the U.S. these days, Nokia still has some brand value abroad, especially in Europe. That could pump up interest in WP7 and interests in building apps for it.

Stay tuned...

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