5 Awesome Apps That Will Make You Buy a Nokia Windows Phone 8

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Back when Windows Phone 7 was released in 2010, I was an early adopter, picking up a HTC HD7 in October of that year. While the initial release wasn’t perfect it was certainly impressive, helped by the presence of some manufacturer-provided apps.

Over time, the quality of these apps was degraded slightly as new and better third party replacements became available. HTC did a good job with their Windows Phone apps, but they were better off sticking to handsets.

Years later, I’m the owner of a Nokia Lumia 920, powered by Windows Phone 8, and thrilled each time Nokia releases a new app. Although manufacturer apps aren’t available to owners of other devices (for instance, HTC users can’t use Nokia apps, and vice-versa), the Nokia apps tend to have a quality and authority that is missing from many of the poorer third party titles.

In fact, there is a collection of superb manufacturer apps for the Nokia-built phones – apps that you should check out if you’re using a Nokia Lumia and Windows Phone 8.

Benefits of Nokia Apps

There are clear advantages to using apps produced by a manufacturer, from low cost (you’ve already bought their phone) to trusting the company to release good quality software. This is certainly the case with Nokia, a pioneer in the app production business.

With Windows Phone, Nokia has a huge investment of money and talent and their apps reflect this. Phones such as the Nokia Lumia 920, 925/928 and 1020 represent some of the best smartphones available and all come with superb displays, audio reproduction and cameras (the latter being one of the strengths of the Nokia Windows Phones).

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As a result, you’ll find a great selection of quality apps in the Nokia collection section of the Windows Phone Store app. These are apps that are either available exclusively to Nokia Lumia owners, or released with a different price point or feature set than can be found on other devices.

However, although there are a lot of non-Nokia apps in this manufacturer mini-store, what we’re looking at here are five superb apps produced by Nokia to enhance Windows Phone. The quintet below are available only to Nokia Lumia owners running Windows Phone 8, and are among the best available…

Nokia Music

If you’re a fan of services such as Pandora or Last.fm, Nokia Music should be right up your street. Offering curated selections of music in many specific sub-genres, this free service streams music direct to your phone, enabling you to enjoy the type of tunes that you really like with a single tap.


While the app originally required some programming (by entering the name of a favourite artist) the process now relies on selections chosen by the Nokia Music team. In addition, you can scan the MP3s on your smartphone to update your music profile.

Note that this really is a curated music player, however. Don’t expect Nokia Music to be a replacement for the native player – it’s designed to help you find great new music!

Nokia NFC Writer

The magic of near field communication is available in several Windows Phones, notably those produced by Nokia, and as a result you would be well advised to look at the Nokia NFC Writer app.


Available free, this app contains a number of preset commands for settings and apps that can be initiated simply by placing your Nokia Windows Phone on the programmed NFC tag. Nokia NFC Writer noticeably speeds the process of creating actions and writing them to NFC tags, and is the best such app for the platform.

For more on using Nokia NFC Writer and near field communication on Windows Phone, see How To Program NFC Tags & Automate Windows Phone 8.

Nokia Xpress

Although browsing the web with the native Internet Explorer mobile app is usually fast enough, Nokia Xpress offers a useful speed increase by compressing web pages for download, which can also save you money on metered data connections.


Meanwhile this handy and flexible app also includes a tool to save web pages for reading later and the ability to compile your favourite online content into a sort of magazine.

Although not great as a browser (basic browsing is okay but running scripts isn’t supported) the Nokia Xpress app remains a useful app.

Nokia Reading

One of the things that Nokia has worked hard to do with its Windows Phone apps is to put the platform on a more even keel with the two market leaders, Android and iPhone. One way in which it has done this is to bring Spotify and other popular apps to Windows Phone. Another is by opening a bookstore.


While the Windows Store doesn’t stock books, Google Play and the Appstore do. Nokia Reading is a response to this, offering both a digital bookstore and the ability to read files stored in your SkyDrive cloud storage.

Compatibility for Nokia Reading may seem a little uncertain. Although the app listing above will say that it is only available for Windows Phone 7.5, I have had it on my Nokia Lumia 920 for some months, and it can be installed directly from the Nokia collection. Don’t worry about running the app – it works perfectly well!

Here City Lens

Lost in a new town or city and looking for a coffee shop or museum? Visiting a business park and can’t quite find the company you’re visiting?

What you need is an augmented reality map that combines satellite imagery of the surrounding area with the sort of information found in Yellow pages, listing numbers, email addresses and websites – perhaps even photos – for the business you’re looking for.


Here City Lens might prove initially intimidating, but you should find that you have got it working within minutes. It certainly shouldn’t take too long for you to view an augmented reality representation of your immediate surroundings, scroll through them and follow up a few web links.

Perhaps the problem with Here City Lens is that it is remarkable eye candy – you might forget you ever wanted that coffee!

Apps Are a Good Reason to Buy Nokia Windows Phones!

Sure, you’ve got Samsung, LG and HTC building Windows Phones, and many of them are good devices. But do any of them have the prestige of a Nokia device?

While Nokia might have hit hard times in recent years their stock is still high in the UK, Ireland and Europe. As such, their Lumia handsets have proved quite popular over the past few months, regularly turning up in commercials and product placement.

Most importantly, however, these apps demonstrate that Windows Phone is a competent platform, if given complete manufacturer support. Here City Lens in particular is a surprisingly strong augmented reality experience, and perhaps the closest thing to a killer app for Windows Phone.

Nokia Lumia Windows Phones are great, and Nokia’s selection of in-house apps are excellent – so if you’re buying a Windows Phone device, make sure you opt for a Nokia.

We have a regularly updated list of the best Windows Phone apps and games but do you have any other suggestions for Nokia apps that you might have expected to see in this list? If so, let us know in the comments!

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Comments (43)
  • tom

    I will never go back to anything but a windows phone. I literally dropped it 15 feet and it bounced and it is still fine. It doesn’t bog down, no crashes, battery life is not to good unless you close the apps correctly(which isn’t hard 2 taps on the back button). All I have to say is people like what they like, and they are sheep for the most part. Getting a 1520 tomorrow. When WP8 gets more apps and they will, all your petty claims will be invalid.

  • Lexie

    If the Nokia 1520 was Android, I for sure will get that smartphone (or how they called it ‘phablet), because of its great hardware and man, I sure love the display. But let’s face it, WP8 is a waste.

  • Mike

    Well I use both Android (Razr i -Razr M-) and WP 8 (Lumia 720) OS’s, and as many people mention both OS’s have their ups and downs.
    -For me, android is a very customizable OS, you can even make the damn phone sing and dance for you. But that’s a disadvantage too: too many options make you spend weeks and weeks customizing your android phone trying to make it look and work as you want. Then there is a moment when you realize that you will never reach the top because the options are almost infinite, Android is becoming similar in terms of possibilities to a freaking PC (that’s good and frustrating at the same time, anyway you can live with that).
    -Then it comes WP8, which is a focused on being a OS for smartPHONES, you can’t make the phone sing and dance, but it can do everything else you want a smartphone to do and it offers a GREAT user experience: Listen to music, sync email, social networks, messaging, documents, notes, map navigation / driving (offline if it’s a Nokia) , taking photos and video, recording audio, playing games, voice and video calls, web browsing, watching movies, etc. And everything after a few days of playing with the OS and downloading no more than 20 apps (you can do most of these things right out of the box, but everyone likes updates and new apps).

    So, in MY opinion:
    -Android is for geeks like me (just NO SAMSUNG, too overrated and overpriced w/respect to their actual build quality)
    -WP8 (talking about Lumias) is GREAT for the rest of the people that just want a solid SmartPHONE for every day use, like my girlfriend, my sisters, brothers, dad, mom, relatives, friends, coworkers, etc, etc.

  • samir

    if you love applications then go for android….
    bullshit nokia all the applications we need are paid version…
    but in android its all free….
    if you experienced android then don”t go for wp8 nothing good in wp8
    i have wasted my money you dont waste please…

  • Avik

    I will tell the tale in reverse.
    Many people say that they used the Lumia 920 for a week, felt frustrated and went back to Android OS mobiles. Well, I sold my Lumia 920, got a Samsung Galaxy S3, really missed my WP8 experience, and bought a Lumia 925 just after 2 weeks. That’s how much I love WP8.
    The only thing I really miss is a Notification Panel, and I hope its arriving with WP9 or Blue or whatever.
    N about IOS….I pay Rs. 52000 ( $843) and what do I see at first glance? Such a small display. I guess I am disillusioned and not interested in how the OS performs.

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This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
Affiliate Disclamer

This review may contain affiliate links, which pays us a small compensation if you do decide to make a purchase based on our recommendation. Our judgement is in no way biased, and our recommendations are always based on the merits of the items.

For more details, please read our disclosure.
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