Nokia appears to be preparing to make its Nokia Drive, Maps and Music applications available to other Windows Phone users.
The Finnish handset maker had previously revealed the Nokia Maps application would make its way to other Windows Phone devices. Many believed the Music and Drive applications would remain as exclusive “differentiators” for Nokia’s Lumia Windows Phones. It appears that Nokia may be preparing to offer these out to all Windows Phone devices. Nokia held an event in Bangalore on Wednesday where speakers reportedly revealed Nokia Drive and Maps will be free for Lumia users but paid for other Windows Phone customers. Two separate tweets from those present at the event have been discovered by the WPXBOX site. The tweets were both retweeted by Nokia’s official Indian Twitter account, adding authenticity and confirmation of their contents.
Nokia’s Music, Maps and Drive applications have all been ripped from their Lumia devices and ported over to non-Nokia devices. The applications are all available for Windows Phone devices, providing you’re using an unlocked device via Microsoft’s official developer registration or the ChevronWP7 labs tool. The current state of the Windows Phone Marketplace allows users to download XAP application packages direct from Microsoft’s servers and sideload them providing their device is developer unlocked. Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” includes support for a new type of application encryption that prevents the piracy seen today. Microsoft is reportedly waiting to ensure that the majority of Windows Phone users have upgraded to Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” before enabling the encryption support. The support will wrap XAP packages in a new layer of protection, preventing them from being sideloaded after they are published and downloaded from the Marketplace.
If the reports are genuine then it would make sense for Nokia to offer these applications out to other Windows Phone users and create more awareness for its Lumia devices and an additional revenue stream. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has previously promised that the company plans to differentiate with services and software unique to Windows Phone alongside the design and hardware aspects. “We have strengths in design, in hardware mechanics. We continue to build on the Windows Phone platform, you will see unique Nokia capabilities in the form of applications and services available from us,” said Elop during Nokia’s recent earnings call in October. Elop also promised that differentiation will become more clear in the future as Nokia can “directly impact” the software release cycles of Windows Phone with Microsoft.
WinRumors has reached out to Nokia for comment and we’ll update the story accordingly.