Home » Cloud client SW platforms » Multiplatform value proposition for developers from Nokia, with potential of Microsoft joining the fray

Multiplatform value proposition for developers from Nokia, with potential of Microsoft joining the fray

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After understanding what does the new Nokia X platform mean in preceding posts mine:
Nokia’s “best of everything” X range smartphones to conquer the smartphone market between the Asha and Lumia devices [Feb 24, 2013] and
Nokia X family of smartphones, leading local brand partners for Windows Phone and the potential of all that on the Indian market [Feb 27, 2014]
it is time to consider the Nokia X announcement from developers’ point of view.

Nokia Developer Day at MWC 2014 [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, Feb 27, 2014]

Amit Patel, VP Developer Relations at Nokia tells us more about Nokia X, the Nokia porting bus and the Nokia Developer Day at Mobile World Congress 2014

The Nokia provided content included here (later on): Lunagames success story—Nokia Developer Day Keynote—Nokia X: where Android apps will thrive—HERE Maps on Nokia X Family—Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1—Nokia X Porting Busbring apps to the Nokia Store for the Nokia X family—Five reasons: Android App to Nokia Store—Nokia’s Developer Day at MWC

But first take note of Nokia X Get Started Portathons [Nokia Developer, Feb 24, 2014]

The Nokia X Porting Bus is going to be driving all over Europe. If you’re nearby, please drop by with your Android app. We’ll show you just how easy it is to port to Nokia X. …


as well the Developer Offers for Nokia X.

And why there is a definite potential of Microsoft joining it? The proof-points for that were already included in a recent post of mine here:

  1. Consumers are now calling the shots <—> consumerization of IT”, i.e. enterprise computing is not ruling ICT alone any more, and as a result of BYOD the private, consumer devices are even dictating.
  2. Sales are not simple for developers anymore” Instead of the earlier uniform way of selling developers should use the most sophisticated approaches—think of the fremium, or advertisement based models as examples—in order to earn their revenue.
  3. The times of single platforms are gone, as developers own several platforms now

I met “cloud first” last summer with regards to Microsoft at TechEd, primarily through the words of Satya Nadella, who is the CEO now (see “Cloud first” from Microsoft is ready to change enterprise computing in all of its facets [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 4, 2013]). … Tim … was elaborating that Microsoft was much more considering the cloud interfaces (APIs) in the development of their software in this regard.

From View from Redmond via Tim O’Brien, GM, Platform Strategy at Microsoft [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Feb 21, 2014]

As the biggest news of this new developers’ value proposition is that of the new Nokia X:

We’ve maintained maximum possible compatibility with AOSP [Android Open Source Project]. We’ve made a few changes. And that’s mostly in the services layer. So we’ve taken away some of the Google services and replaced them with some of our own or some of the Microsoft services.

There are 3 services which we’ve changed:
– In-App Payment [Nokia In-App Payment], and I’ve already explained that it’s an advantage for developers
– Location [HERE Maps], and
– Notification [Nokia Notifications]
and for these APIs [Nokia APIs] some changes are needed. Otherwise your Android apps just work.

From [46:56 and on] of the keynote video (embedded later on) by Amit Patel, VP of Developer Relations 

from [45:12] of the keynote video continued into the following feedback from partners:image
Lunagames: A Nokia Asha success story [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, Nov 28, 2013]

We all need a break from the daily grind. That’s why developer Lunagames delivers consumers “daily feel good moments” through a variety of free-to-play games for mobile phones and tablets. The Netherlands-based company focuses on creating games that offer short moments of entertainment — ideal for your morning commute or waiting for an appointment. And it’s working quite well for them! The company, which develops specifically for the Java platform, has more than 100 apps in the Nokia store today with a combined total of more than 150 million downloads! [NOW THEY MOVED TO NOKIA X PLATFORM WHICH YOU CAN WATCH IN THE KEYNOTE FROM [49:43]]


Regarding the position of the upcoming owner of Nokia Devices & Services Business an actual report stated that Microsoft: ‘no surprises’ regarding Nokia X, knew about Android work, okay with it [Windows Phone Central, Feb 25, 2014]:

If there was any question today about what Microsoft thinks about the Nokia X and its Android phone, their public line is that they’re fine with it. During Nokia Developer Day, John Shewchuk [see Deep technical evangelism and development team inside the DPE (Developer and Platform Evangelism) unit of Microsoft [May 17, 2013]], a Microsoft technical fellow responsible for “strategy for cloud platform services”, took to the stage to demonstrate Microsoft services running on the Nokia X, noting that they’re a ‘devices and services company’ first and don’t consider Nokia’s choice to be against their interests.

Before the session even officially kicked off, Shewchuk chose to address the elephant in the room by talking about Nokia X and Microsoft. Their stance, at least overtly, was that they knew about Nokia’s Android work going into the deal (to acquire Nokia’s hardware division) and that there were “no surprises” here this week. Instead, Microsoft’s focus on services, specifically OneDrive, Outlook.com and Skype, were considered to be just as important business for Microsoft as Windows Phone.

The session then focused on the benefits of developing services on Nokia X and Lumia phones, with Microsoft’s services being front and center. Nokia then later returned to the stage to discuss their imaging SDKs and development work.

We spoke with Shewchuk briefly after the session regarding his statement. He was forthright in stating that Windows Phone, as a developer platform, is still superior for many companies out there whom are making apps. The idea here is yes, Android is popular, but Windows Phone has momentum now and things like the web developer tools offer a great alternative.

Microsoft clearly has two business here to consider. More, actually. It’s not about just Windows Phone, but about Skype, OneDrive, Bing and even Azure. While to Windows Phone users, prioritizing that OS seems very obvious, Microsoft is taking a different approach. At least in this regard, publicly, they are on board with Nokia X and do it see it as an opportunity to grow Microsoft’s services in emerging markets.

Will Nokia X remain after the sale? We’re leaning towards yes, that this is a long term strategy by Microsoft. We’ll just have to wait and see. But for now, Nokia and Microsoft are acting like everything is business as usual.

Nokia Developer Day Keynote @ Mobile World Congress 2014 [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, Feb 27, 2014]

Welcomed by an excited and upbeat crowd, Stephen Elop kicked off the Nokia Developer Day with a keynote where he recapped Nokia’s product announcements and how the Nokia X software platform opens up new opportunities for existing and new developers. He also emphasized that Windows Phone is the fastest growing ecosystem today and that between Nokia X and Lumia families, Nokia is further increasing the market opportunity for developers. Timo Toikkanen, EVP Mobile Phones, cemented the news: “The Nokia X is the ultimate affordable smartphone in growth markets. Now that we’ve re-mapped the software platforms as well as the hardware. It will introduce new apps to millions of new people.” Many of our partners agree. Richard Hazenberg, CEO Lunagames, told the crowd that he is excited about the market potential Nokia X has to offer his company as it combines high volume, ease of porting and seamless billing. He announced “Our game HighWay Hei$t, is now available in the Nokia Store and we are going all in and shipping 20 more games for Nokia X platform”. Bryan Biniak, VP & GM of Developer Experience, Amit Patel, VP of Developer Relations, Neil Broadley, Director of Product Marketing for Nokia X, Sam Browne, Managing Partner from Carat, and David Proulx, from Blackberry, also took the stage.

Nokia X: where Android apps will thrive [Nokia Conversations, Feb 26, 2014]

The developer world for our devices is changing. With the Nokia X software platform opening up rich opportunities for Android devs to expand the reach for their apps, what does this mean for the developer community and consumers?

We spoke to Amit Patel, Vice President of Developer Relations, Nokia to get his take on this brave, innovative world.


NC: How do you see the Nokia X software platform as an attractive proposition for developers?

AP: Developers are interested in reaching more consumers. With the Nokia X family of device, we are able to reach new consumers in the affordable smartphone segment. This part of the smartphone (sub €100) is growing four times faster than any other part of the smartphone market and we are in the best possible shape to capture our share.

The majority of the growth is coming from the emerging marketsIndonesia, Thailand, India, etc. – where we are already significantly present, especially with Nokia Asha. There’s already brand preference and brand loyalty for Nokia.

In essence, we’re going to be able to deliver a large amount of consumers to developers very easily.

NC: What if developers already have Android apps. How can they get them onto Nokia X?

AP: Those developers are our primary target audience. And, for them, we have made it really easy to bring their apps to Nokia Store. We provide an online tool called Nokia X Analyser where you can drag and drop your app to see whether you’re 100% compatible, or whether you need to make some changes. In most cases, the majority of apps just work. If that’s the case, just publish your app into the Nokia Store and you’re done.


NC: And if you don’t reach the magic 100% compatibility rating?

AP: There are three APIs that make them non-compatible; HERE Maps, notification and in-app payment. For any apps that are using these APIs, the developer would need to be some modifications. In many cases the changes are relatively small and can be completed in a matter of hours. Once done, just package your app and put it into the Nokia Store.

NC: Ok, so from a consumer’s point of view – how will they see an ‘Android’ app?

AP: Consumers can find apps in Nokia Store and from third-party stores. In Nokia store, modified and unmodified apps will be shown side-by-side, there is no difference. From a consumers’ point of view, the only thing that changes is the ever increasing amount of apps on offer.

NC: How do in-app purchases work on Nokia X?

AP: We’ve had in-app payments on Nokia Asha for a while now, and it’s the same mechanism that’s being used on Nokia X. All a developer needs to do is change the in-app purchase API ‘call’ from Google Play to Nokia.

However, one of the big worries that developers have is fragmentation – where they need to service all types of app stores. What we’ve done is to develop the platform, tools and APIs in such a way that we’re promising developers that they can maintain a single ; if you need to support the Nokia APIs, you can make the edits in the same code as your Google code.

The benefit of this for the developers is that he has much lower costs to maintain his app. This is just one of the things we’ve done to make things easy for developers.

NC: Is there anything else you’ve done to make the process easier for devs?

AP: Absolutely. One key area is in-app payments linked to operator billing. Taking India as an example, there are 1.2 billion people, around 350-million phones and 24-million credit cards. It’s clear that most people aren’t using credit cards for their in-app purchases. People are paying with operator billing. And we have ‘more than one’ operator billing deal in India.

Not many of our competitors have that.

So, publishing in the Nokia Store using our in-app payment method, means you’ve instantly got 350 million people at your disposal to buy your app, or an in-game sword!

NC: Are there any upcoming Nokia X apps that you’re excited about?

AP: We already have many of the top apps preloaded on the Nokia X devices including apps like Plants vs. Zombies, BBM, Skype, Facebook and many more. And we have others like OneDrive, Outlook.com, Angry Birds and hotels.com in the Nokia Store. We are continuously adding new apps and I am looking forward to apps like Facebook Messenger, Spotify and Temple Run 2, which should be amongst the many apps coming soon.

NC: Do you think there’s a good enough range of apps on Nokia X to give, what might be some peoples first foray into phone apps, a great experience?

AP: Right now, for the Nokia X family, we’ve got hundreds of thousands of apps available in the Nokia Store and in third-party stores. The Android ecosystem being what it is, there are lots of places for consumer to get all the apps they want.

NC: What do you think of people side-loading apps onto Nokia X?

AP: Side-loading happens predominantly in markets where consumers are reluctant to spend money on data. Often the mobile data costs in these markets make downloading large apps prohibitive. Obviously we encourage people to download over wi-fi, but we also realise that it’s convenient for people to side-load apps, often in bulk, to their devices.

Our focus is to give developers the chance to reach millions of consumers. Side-loading helps us to achieve that. With our in-app payment solution and our leading operator billing network, we are also uniquely position to maximize the revenue potential for developers regardless of how the apps are distributed.

None of our major competitors have the same operator billing coverage and device market share in growth markets.

Are you a developer? We’ve love to know what you think of the porting system. Let us know in the comments, below.

HERE Maps shows the way on Nokia X Family [Nokia Conversations, Feb 27, 2014]

The new Nokia X family bring together popular Microsoft services like Skype, OneDrive and Outlook as well as the best of Nokia experiences – HERE Maps included.

We sat down with the HERE team to learn more about the HERE Maps experience on the Nokia X and how it all came to be.

Nokia’s HERE business was charged with creating the new location and navigation app for the Nokia X family, working from scratch and in a time-frame of less than twelve months.

Nonetheless, says Niko van Eeghen, HERE Maps for Nokia X product manager:

“We’ve managed to pull off a hell of a release. We’d say that, though it says it’s version 1.0, it’s more like a version 2.0 release in terms of functionality and polish.”

The team had high ambitions. Niko’s colleague Jens Klaus explains:

“For Nokia X we have brought the HERE Maps experience, with regular search, nearby search, and points of interest. We also have routing functionality for cars, pedestrians and transit. And there’s the in-car experience with voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation.”

Niko adds that the app offers online and offline functionality, with maps available for nearly 200 countries, and navigation available for 98 countries.


The experience is very smooth and Lumia-like. “Customers will be really surprised at the performance of HERE Maps on the Nokia X family,” says Niko with a smile.

“Compared to mapping and navigation solutions that draw their maps from online, it’s amazingly fast, because we store our maps offline.”

While the app is installed out of the box, the team decided not to preload the local country maps. “This way, we give customers the choice of which map, what regions and cities to install, and whether to install the map in the main storage memory or on a MicroSD card,” explains Jens.

The HERE Maps app also integrates with the device’s Fastlane feature. The HERE Maps shows up on Fastlane together with other apps you’ve recently launched. This way you can easily go back to your most recent locations and also get notifications for when updates are available to be downloaded for your offline maps. You can perform direct searches for locations on HERE Maps for Nokia X using the device’s global search. The app also integrates with contacts in the address book. If you’ve stored your friend’s address, you can click through to show a map and get directions.


But the HERE Maps application was not the only job for Niko’s team. They also had to power location services on other apps, creating API’s to allow developers to tap into HERE services for their own functionality. “When you share your location in WeChat, for example,” Niko explains, “the app uses our APIs to establish your location and our maps are shown when you share that location.” Developers can tap into the HERE API by downloading an SDK plug-in that makes it simple to switch from competing mapping services.

“It’s our ambition to provide a great experience for all mobile phone users,” Niko concludes.

More on this story on HERE Three Sixty.

New Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1 available [Developer News | Nokia Developer, Feb 24, 2014]

Today we’re announcing the latest release of the Nokia Imaging SDK. This powerful library of exciting image manipulation tools makes it quicker and easier to create imaging apps for Windows Phone 8, and now also Windows 8.1 – desktop and RT.

With the Lumia 2520 tablet (running Windows 8.1 RT) now part of the Nokia family; the shared API allows developers to reuse a lot of the code across Windows Phone and Windows 8.1

The new 1.1 release also includes a number of new effects:

  • Interactive Foreground Segmenter: this filter API picks the foreground/background from an image and makes it easier for you to create an interactive UI where users tap, swipe or point at the object boundaries and the API will figure out which objects belong to foreground and vice versa. This is often used to e.g. swap backgrounds or for blurring effects.
  • Lens Blur, also known as Bokeh: this is used in professional photography for creating photorealistic image effects. The Nokia Imaging SDK makes applying the new Lens Blur effect or blending with mask quick and easy.
  • Single Image HDR: this effect can be applied to an image to create stunning and vibrant photorealistic color effects similar to HDR, or with more conservative settings, auto enhance the image colors.

We have also made some improvements under the hood, with fixes and memory optimisations.

Bottom line, the Nokia Imaging SDK is now even more powerful than before.

Documentation and sample code have been updated to help you get started and you can now also sign up for next week’s Lumia App Lab webinar, where Windows Phone MVP Michael Samarin will walk through everything that’s new in this release.

More than 1,500 developers have already created great imaging experiences for consumers using the SDK 1.0. Will you create the next outstanding imaging app using 1.1? If you think you’ve got what it takes, make sure you enter our new Imagin8 Mission competition: your creation you could win you an expenses-paid trip for 2 to experience zero gravity! Check out the Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1 today!

Learn more and download the SDK

More information: Get creative with Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1 [Nokia Conversations, Feb 25, 2014]

Get on the Nokia X Porting Bus [Developer News | Nokia Developer, Feb 27, 2014]

A lot of enthusiastic developers came over to meet us this week at Mobile World Congress. Now it’s time for us to return the favour: we’re going to come to you. The Nokia X Porting Bus has been parked in Hall 8 in Barcelona all week and inside its comfort we’ve helped developers port hundreds of apps to Nokia X. (To be honest, not much help’s required; most ports are simple.)

Now it’s time to hit the open road. Over the next month we’re driving across Europe with a crew of experts, a pile of Nokia X devices and DVLUP XP that we’ll trade for ported apps. When we stop in your area we’d love it if you pop in. No registration, no reservations. Just bring your laptop, your Android apps, and an appetite. We’ll get you started with Nokia Store and you just might walk away with some DVLUP points you can redeem for rewards.

Find a portathon near you

Nokia and Handster, an Opera Software company, bring apps to the Nokia Store for the Nokia X family [Developer News | Nokia Developer, Feb 27, 2014]

Working together, Nokia and Handster, an Opera Software company, have brought apps submitted via the Opera Mobile Store’s publisher portal and published them in Nokia Store for use with the Nokia X family of devices.

Announced this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia X family offers access to the world of apps via Android Open Source Project (AOSP), coupled with Nokia signature experiences and the most popular Microsoft services. For Android app developers, it’s an easy, risk-free way to expand the reach of their applications to a new user base while still using the existing code base.

Based on Handster’s existing agreements with its developers, they have granted distribution rights to Nokia for these free Android apps which have been published in the Nokia Store.

How Handster developers can join the Nokia Store and reach new users

Developers with apps distributed by Handster can quickly join the Nokia Store and reach new users with their apps.

If you are ready to start the registration process, click here. Nokia will then contact you to get your consent and to explain the process for creating your Nokia Store account.

Also, if you already have a Nokia Store account, you will not need to do anything else. Your compatible Android apps will automatically be added to your account. Log in to Nokia Publish to check your apps.

Want to learn more about Nokia X?

Check out the five reasons why you should publish your Android app to Nokia Store.

Five reasons to publish your Android App to Nokia Store [Developer News | Nokia Developer, Feb 24, 2014]

  1. Nokia X opens new markets to your existing apps
    Nokia’s sales leadership and brand strength in the fastest growing smartphoneand mobile app markets provide the launchpad for your apps’ success. With Nokia X, you can reach an untapped pool of savvy – and app-hungry — new smartphone users around the world.
    Learn more …
  2. Nokia X’s monetization tools create additional revenue streams for your apps
    Monetization tools like Nokia In-App Payment, combined with Nokia’s extensive operator billing network, provide your existing apps with new monetization mechanisms in emerging markets. Consumers in many high growth markets do not have international credit cards, making revenue collection a challenge. Nokia X leverages Nokia’s wide operator billing coverage, which extends to over 3 billion mobile subscribers, with over 160 operators in more than 60 markets. Operator billing has been shown to deliver up to a 5x increase in revenues and a 10x increase in purchases over credit-card billing in the Nokia X targeted markets, meaning more revenues opportunities for your apps.
    Learn more …
  3. Android app compatibility
    Nokia has tested over 100.000 Android apps and approximately 75% are directly compatible and ready to be published to Nokia Store. If your app uses Google services for maps, push notifications or in-app payments, you will need to replace these APIs with Nokia specific APIs that have been built to work almost identically to those they replace.Nokia services have been designed to minimize porting effort from apps using corresponding Google services and allow developers develop and distribute a single app package targeting both ecosystems.
    Learn more …
  4. Develop apps for Nokia X using your existing Android SDK, toolkit and skillset
    If you already develop Android apps, you can continue to use your existing tool chain. Nokia provides a plugin package to the Android SDK, including the services APIs and the Nokia X emulator.You’ve already got the other tools and skills you need.
    Learn more …
  5. Nokia Developer programs provide the marketing and technical support you need
    Through programs like DVLUP, Nokia Developer Offers and local outreach, Nokia offers you opportunities to promote your apps to new users and potential customers, while our online training, events and support tools make sure you’re putting your best app forward.
    Learn more …

A success! Nokia’s Developer Day at MWC [Nokia Conversations, Feb 27, 2014]

Porting, tech sessions, space selfies, a bus and games. This year’s event had it all!

The figures are incredible; more than 102-billion app downloads and $26 billion in revenue. That’s what the app economy looks like today. In the next three years, the takings are expected to grow to $77 billion.

It’s no wonder then, that hundreds flocked to this year’s Nokia Developer Day at MWC 2014 to see how they could be part of one of technology’s biggest growth areas, summed up by Nokia’s Seppo Aaltonen, VP Mobile Phones Business Management who said: “Our affordable smartphones are about connecting the next billion.”


Seppo Aaltonen telling it how it is…

Welcomed by an excited and upbeat crowd, Stephen Elop kicked off the event with a keynote where he recapped Nokia’s product announcements and how the Nokia X software platform opens up new opportunities for existing and new developers.  He also emphasized that Windows Phone is the fastest growing ecosystem today and that between Nokia X and Lumia families, Nokia is further increasing the market opportunity for developers.


Stephen Elop working up a dev frenzy

Timo Toikkanen, EVP Mobile Phones, cemented the news: “The Nokia X is the ultimate affordable smartphone in growth markets. Now that we’ve re-mapped the software platforms as well as the hardware. It will introduce new apps to millions of new people.”

Many of our partners agree. Richard Hazenberg, CEO Lunagames, told the crowd that he is excited about the market potential Nokia X has to offer his company as it combines high volume, ease of porting and seamless billing.  He announced “Our game HighWay Hei$t, is now available in the Nokia Store and we are going all in and shipping 20 more games for Nokia X platform”.

Bryan Biniak, VP & GM of Developer Experience, Amit Patel, VP of Developer Relations, Neil Broadley, Director of Product Marketing for Nokia X, Sam Browne, Managing Partner from Carat, and David Proulx, from Blackberry, also took the stage.

Besides Nokia X, developers also heard more details about some of the other news of this week, including, the availability of the Blackberry messaging service BBM on Nokia X and Lumia, as well as the latest release of the Nokia Imaging SDK and the Imagin8 Mission competition for Windows Phone.


A packed developers’ hall

The agenda was packed, with technical sessions about Nokia X and Windows Phone, as well as a number of fun activities for developers to engage and learn about Nokia Developer offerings.

Hundreds of Android apps were ported to Nokia X on the spot, with all participants walking home with a brand new Nokia X. Porting continues at the Nokia X bus, which is parked in Hall 8, so if you are a developer make sure you stop by.


Hop on, plug in, port out!

Attendees also went to space. Really.

They experienced the capabilities of the Nokia Imaging SDK at a special photo booth where they took a very cool #spaceselfie, and learned about the Imagin8 Mission, the new imaging contest which will earn the winner a trip to experience zero gravity.


#1 Conversations’ Editor in space


#2 Conversations’ Editor in space

The day ended with a cocktail reception where the winners of Nokia Create, who flew in from all over the world, were congratulated and received their prizes from Patrick Stanton, Director of Lumia Developer Offering.

The day was a huge success, inspiring hundreds of developers to learn, do and have fun.


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