Path, Flipboard, Vine and other popular apps are on the way, but sorry, Instagram fans, still no Windows Phone app.
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Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said on Thursday that the Windows Phone Store is now home to more than 165,000 applications. The side note was tucked into Elop's introduction of the Lumia 1020, Nokia's newest Windows Phone. Elop also showed off several apps that will be available to the Lumia 1020, and all Windows Phones, in the near future. Though it was just a small piece of a much larger presentation, Elop's revelation is important all the same: It means that Windows Phone is getting more traction with developers.
One of the issues facing Microsoft's struggling Windows Phone platform is the "lack" of apps. Sure, there are now 165,000 applications in the Windows Phone Store, but that pales in comparison to the 900,000 apps available to iOS devices and the 800,000 apps available to Android devices. More so than simply the vast difference in the numbers, Microsoft's platform is missing important apps that Android and iOS device owners love, like Instagram. It's hard to convert Android or iOS devices owners into Windows Phone owners if they have to leave their favorite apps behind.
Some of the apps Nokia mentioned are Flipboard, Path, and Vine. Flipboard is a socially connected digital magazine app that's been available to iOS devices for years. It is one of the most popular e-readers out there due to the attractive way it packages together content from news sources and social networks. According to Google Play, the app has been downloaded between 10 and 50 million times on Android devices, and it has garnered a 4.5-star rating thanks to 223,000 reviewers.
Path is another social app that focuses on photography and Vine is Twitter's video-sharing social network.
Though the Lumia 1020 will be the first Windows Phone to have access to these apps, they'll all reach Windows Phone 8 devices in the months ahead. What's interesting is that Path spoke of its partnership with Nokia, not Microsoft, in bringing its app to the Windows Phone platform. This tells us that Nokia still has some clout in the mobile space and that companies are willing to work with Nokia to their mutual benefit.
Flipboard and Path, although not Vine, are using Nokia's new Imaging SDK. This powerful set of developer tools gives all app writers access to Nokia's camera software and features. It lets them use Nokia's effects, filters and image processing technology. The SDK is available to all developers, not just Path and Flipboard. Nokia is generous to offer the SDK, even if it a self-serving move. It means that even better apps will soon be available to Windows Phones.