Nokia is giving away 1,000 Lumia 800 devices to app developers

25 May 2012

The availability of 1,000 Lumia 800 smartphones and various PR and advertising tools are among the concessions available to some of Europe’s top developers to get them building apps for the Windows Phone platform, according to Keith Varty, head of content and developer marketing at Nokia.

Varty said the apps Marketplace on Windows Phone is developing fast and as of April there were 70,000 apps in the Marketplace, with 300 new apps being added every day.

“The pace in terms of the number of apps that are coming to the platform is really positive,” he said. “All the big-ticket apps are there, like Angry Birds, LinkedIn, Facebook, Groupon, Twitter, etc. But the message we need to get out to top development talent is to get developing.”

Varty was recently in Dublin where he met with 20 of Ireland’s top developers.

Lust for innovation

“It strikes me that developers are looking for something else and in most cases having already developed for iOS are looking for something new and that’s not necessarily Android.”

The key strategy Nokia is employing is to make it easier for developers to develop for Windows Phone.

“Developers and designers are inspired by the Metro interface. It’s unique, it’s fresh and contemporary. Plus Windows Phone is a very context-based operating systems for starters. A lot of developers are looking for something that inspires them and for ways for content to be seen and heard.”

Varty said Nokia is taking a very hands-on approach to working with developers to the point of working with them on where and how they target and sell content within Windows Marketplace.

He said that as part of a joint programme with Microsoft, there is a maelstrom of activity taking place in terms of bi-monthly coder camps, student workshops, and faculty programmes.

“We have created a number of resources where you can go and collect vital tools and SDKs from the App Hub, or general tools around learning to code.

“We are also ceding more than 1,000 devices over the course of 12 months into the developer community. Developers who can demonstrate that they are working on an app via Visual Basic and that they are serious about the product they are creating will be issued with a Lumia 800.”

Varty added that in terms of sales and marketing tools, Nokia is running a pilot called Marketing in a Box, which was launched at the GSM Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Spain, earlier this year. The resource kit includes strategies on how to market apps via Facebook and Twitter, create videos on YouTube and develop banner ads.

“It’s all about giving the developers the marketing tools to make their apps successful. We are currently running another pilot in the UK called Appvertise, where we are giving a selection of publishers and developers free advertising space on Marketplace with a view to marketing their new apps,” Varty said.

John Kennedy is a journalist who served as editor of Silicon Republic for 17 years