We’ve been busy making updates to the Nokia Lumia Developer’s Library.
To start with, a new article, How to adapt to Lumia phones’ hardware features provides best practices for adapting your apps for the hardware features of Nokia Lumia phones, and to make sure that your apps will run smoothly across Windows Phone 8 device portfolio. Besides providing techniques on how to deal with the varying hardware features and characteristics, we also discuss some of the UX aspects of adapting your app across devices. Furthermore, the article comes with a new Hardware Info example application demonstrating the implemention of checks for the availability and characteristics of device hardware features at runtime.
Today we introduced Nokia Lumia 925, the newest member of the Nokia Lumia smartphone family. The beautifully crafted phone with a metal/polycarbonate body creates a unique look and feel while delivering a terrific antenna performance.
With Nokia Lumia 925 we are further strengthening the imaging capabilities first shared with Nokia Lumia 920; the 8.7 megapixel camera on Nokia Lumia 925 is packed with the most advanced lens technology, latest generation of Nokia proprietary imaging software, and optical image stabilization. Read more about the announcement and check out the phone.
Nokia Lumia 925
We have broadened the Lumia reach – from the Lumia 520 to the top with the new Lumia 925 – your Windows Phone opportunity continues to grow:
The Lumia ecosystem is expanding, with more than 145,000 apps for Windows Phone now available to consumers in 190 countries worldwide.
Operator billing is expanding rapidly, too. According to Microsoft, the average developer earns three times more in a market that supports operator billing than they do in a market that supports only credit cards. Check out this article from Microsoft’s Todd Brix.
And others have also noticed the benefits of the Windows Phone and Nokia Lumia opportunity:
In its latest report, Kantar Worldpanel confirms that Windows Phone is the fastest-growing mobile ecosystem. And the latest statistics coming from AdDuplex, an app cross-promotion provider, confirm the strong position of Nokia Lumia in the Windows Phone ecosystem.
Today we introduced a global initiative that will help developers unlock the market for affordable smartphones by launching the Nokia Asha software platform and the Nokia Asha 501, the first smartphone built on the new Asha platform.
The Nokia Asha software platform represents a major new opportunity for developers, as we expect to sell 100 million of the new-generation Asha smartphones over the next two years.
What does it take to develop a compelling, innovative app for Nokia Lumia smartphones? For the developers of the TouchMountain app, it helps to be attracted to the Windows Phone UI. ‘It was fascinating to find out how much you can do with a smartphone,’ says André Meyer, a student and TouchMountain’s main developer, ‘and to learn how much potential we can find in this young platform.’
TouchMountain is a mobile tourist guide to finding mountain peaks. The app, which started as a 12-week university project, has been published by MIT-Innovation AG, a technology development company in Wollerau, Switzerland.
The TouchMountain app combines and integrates several mobile technologies to let Nokia Windows Phone users find and learn about nearby mountain peaks. TouchMountain uses the phone’s camera and Augmented Reality to let users discover local mountains. The app then uses data from the phone’s GPS sensor, accelerometer or gyro-sensor, digital compass, plus the Internet connection, to visualize recognized peaks on the phone’s display. Users can also find peaks on a map or text list. To learn more about any peak, users tap a mountain peak on the screen; TouchMountain then offers information on more than 750,000 peaks worldwide, including elevation, distance from the user, live webcams, Wikipedia articles on the surroundings, and local weather. TouchMountain also features a compass, navigation, sharing, and pictures of the landscape that include images of annotated mountains.
To develop the TouchMountain client, Meyer and his colleagues used a variety of programming languages, third-party libraries, and developer tools, including the Telerik RadControls, a suite of UI controls for creating engaging and interactive UIs for Windows Phone apps. (Access to the Telerik suite is among the benefits of the Nokia Premium Developer Program, of which MIT Innovation AG is a member.) Meyer describes the RadControls as ‘simply stunning’ and adds that the experience was so good, his team also bought a license for Windows 8 and WPF applications. Along the way, valuable help was provided by both Nokia and Microsoft. ‘Nokia and its employees do an amazing job with their developer platform’, Meyer says, ‘helping developers with questions, test devices, and other support.’
Next, Meyer and his colleagues are going to concentrate on promoting their application. They plan to use the geotargeted Promotions feature of Nokia Ad Exchange (NAX) to promote TouchMountain in other apps to users in countries where such an application is relevant. NAX is an easy-to-use, cross-platform ad exchange that links developers with more than 120 ad networks worldwide and enables payments in more than 200 countries.
Early feedback from TouchMountain users has been overwhelmingly positive, Meyer says, adding, ‘We get absolutely incredible feedback from our users everywhere around the world.’ Some users have even offered to add new features to the app, including translations into additional languages and new peaks for the database. Perhaps that’s not surprising; TouchMountain’s developers were also its first users. ‘As avid outdoor athletes,’ Meyer says, ‘we always wanted to know the name of the wonderful mountains we found.’ Now they, and other mountain fans worldwide, can.
Congratulations to our Learn and Win prize winners for March. The winners all attended Nokia Developer webinars that month, then answered a test question in our follow-up survey. And the winners are:
Berhan and Hugh Gamble, both of Canada, and Tans of India will each receive a Nokia Asha phone.
Teemu Sipilä of Finland won a Nokia Bluetooth Headset BH-610.
Nice Nokia T-shirts were awarded to: Benita Clarissa of Indonesia; Albin Anto Mathew of India; Robert Molloy of the U.K.; and SeqTre of India, who commented, ‘The webinars are good, and they provide great learning opportunities’.
Through April, we will be giving away three Nokia Asha 305 phones, various phone accessories, and Asha T-shirts each month. We still have plenty of new and exciting webinars lined up for you, and Learn and Win for 2013 has more prizes than ever.
The NFC Actions app by IdeaKnow was one of two winners of the mini-hack we recently hosted at the WIPJam at Mobile World Congress 2013. The IdeaKnow team won for creating a Windows Phone app with near field communications (NFC). For their work, team members Candice Seenyen, Jordi Gaset, Cristian Ortega, and Alejandro Garcia each were awarded a Nokia Lumia 920 smartphone!
The NFC Actions app lets users read and write NFC tags that contain multiple everyday actions that users can conduct with their Windows Phone 8 devices. These actions include changing Wi-Fi settings, locking the screen, changing airplane-mode settings, send an email, opening a Facebook profile, and checking in on Foursquare. The user first selects the desired actions by tapping them on a list on the phone’s screen. Then the user writes these actions by moving the phone near a physical NFC tag. After that, whenever the phone is used to read the NFC tag, the application automatically initiates the appropriate actions.
Jordi Gaset, CTO of Barcelona-based IdeaKnow, says the team was inspired to develop the app ‘simply because we love Windows Phone’. Looking ahead, the team plans to publish NFC Actions on Windows Phone Store and to incorporate Nokia Ad Exchange (NAX) in the app’s next version. The IdeaKnow team also plans to develop more Windows Phone 8 apps using NFC, location and imaging technologies. ‘The most important thing’, Jordi adds, ‘is to love Windows Phone!’
Nokia’s Music APIs (“Music APIs” for short) are a collection of web service and Windows Phone APIs that allow you to offer elements from Nokia’s Music service (as available in Nokia Music for Lumia) within the look and feel of your own application. We launched the API in November 2012 and have been regularly adding new features. Today we’re announcing that we’re updating the documentation as well with new content and samples.
We are very pleased to announce that one of our Nokia Developer Champions has won the Windows Phone Next App Star competition, a Microsoft-sponsored contest that will promote the winning app in a future Windows Phone ad on prime-time TV in the US.
The Coffee Bean app uses NFC to empower consumers to create, touch, tap and share their favourite custom drinks—and find their way to local stores. Users can create a custom drink, then touch, tap and share the drink they have customized with their friends. The app’s NFC capability also lets one person collect several drink orders from a group of people, then locate the nearest store and place the group order at the store.
Pooja Arora is the Nokia Developer Champion of the month for April and an active participant in our discussion boards, blogs and live events. A software developer, she works for IB Technology, a services organization based in Gurgaon, India. Her areas of interest include UI design, usability, and Windows Phone development.
Pooja is a frequent contributor to our discussion boards, where she is known as pooja_1650. In fact, since becoming a Nokia Developer member in late 2011, she has contributed nearly 300 posts. Pooja also recently posted on our blog an article about ‘Nokia Lumia Your Wish is My App’, a television programme jointly produced by Nokia and one of India’s leading TV news networks, NDTV.
She is also a creator of a Windows Phone app, IndianPilgrimages, which shows religious sites in India, along with routes and locations on maps. In addition, Pooja is currently organizing a full-day seminar for developers that will be conducted soon. Congratulations, Pooja!