Nokia Lumia Smartphones Getting Exclusive Access to Apps

Nokia Lumia phones will receive exclusive access to new apps from ESPN, AOL, Groupon, Tripdots and others. Rovio, EA and other popular application developers are also working on new apps for other Windows Phone devices.

At the CTIA Wireless show in New Orleans May 8, Nokia detailed a number of new mobile application partnerships designed to get more of the company€™s Lumia smartphones into consumers' hands. The agreement also benefits Microsoft and its Windows Phone platform.

With the Windows Phone Marketplace now at 80,000 apps strong, Nokia€”which is struggling to rebuild its brand on the Microsoft platform and currently faces a lawsuit from a disgruntled investor€”has to drum up new and, in some cases, exclusive apps for the phones, which are now in 48 markets.

These apps will include:

PGA Tour
Exclusive to the Nokia Lumia for 12 months from its launch, it will offer golf fans "live, enhanced" coverage of PGA Tour events, live tournament scoring, highlights and player information, and interactive, augmented coverage of select events and holes, showing players' positions and scoring information.

Exclusive to the Lumia until May 2013, this app puts sports scores on Live Tiles and can be personalized to a user's interests in particular scores, teams and leagues. It'll also include 2012 Olympics coverage, as well as tennis and NASCAR, and, in the fall, Lumia users can expect an ESPN Fantasy Football app as well.

Arriving this summer, and exclusive to the Lumia for six months from launch, the Groupon app will include a "reality deal discovery function," said Nokia, that will combine known points of interest with what it can see through the camera's viewfinder to find nearby discount offers in real time.

This app, exclusive to Windows Phone users for three months from launch, offers drivers information on their vehicle to help improve fuel efficiency. It's said to also offer easy-to-understand information that manages to make taking care of your car fun.

Electronic Arts, which calls Nokia one of its "longest-standing partners," is also working on Windows Phone apps€”current titles in the store include FIFA, Madden NFL and NBA Jam€”as is Angry Birds maker Rovio, PayPal, Time magazine, Newsweek, and Box, which offers a solution for sharing files.

AOL, set to launch an Entertainment Hub, says it's also creating some exclusive content for Nokia Lumia users.

"The live tiles on Nokia Lumia helped us create an awesome app that makes it easy to stay in-the-know on what's happening in film, TV, radio, concerts and music right from your home screen," Sol Lipman, AOL's director of Mobile First products, said in a statement.

The New York Times reported in April that, in an effort build its app portfolio, Microsoft was paying developers of popular applications to build versions for its platform€”a move that many analysts agreed was necessary for a relative latecomer. Apple's App Store, as of April, had more than 600,000 applications, while Google Play, gaining fast, was up to 400,000 apps.

"This is how the game needs to be played nowadays. A company cannot roll out a new platform and expect apps to grow organically at a fast enough speed to allow it to succeed," analyst Ken Hyers, with Technology Business Research, told eWEEK at the time.

"Anyone coming to market with a 'build it and they will come' Field of Dreams mentality," Hyers added, "will get steamrolled."

Nokia offered no details in its announcement about the logistics of its arrangement with the developers.

Also at CTIA, Samsung introduced a phone that's likely to benefit from Nokia's work to entice developers to the Windows Phone platform. The Samsung Focus 2, running Windows Phone 7.5, will arrive on the AT&T Wireless network May 20 for $50 with a new two-year contract.

Follow me on Twitter at @eWEEK_Michelle.

EDITOR'S NOTE: This article has been corrected to reflect that the Samsung Focus 2 will arrive on the AT&T network, not Verizon Wireless.