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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 Nokia Lumia 920 Review & Giveaway Nokia Lumia 920 Review & Giveaway A couple of weeks ago, Nokia introduced two new devices to the world: the Nokia Lumia 925 and the Nokia Lumia 928. The top notch of Windows Phone 8 devices, these two smartphones will only... Read More , 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).


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, 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 How To Program NFC Tags & Automate Windows Phone 8 How To Program NFC Tags & Automate Windows Phone 8 There’s a black sticker on my desk, which is remarkably useful. Thanks to the magic of NFC, it enables me to activate my Nokia Lumia 920’s wireless networking with a single touch. NFC, or near... Read More .

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 Share Movies, Photos, And Documents From Windows Phone With SkyDrive Share Movies, Photos, And Documents From Windows Phone With SkyDrive One of the improvements delivered with Windows Phone 8 is enhanced support for SkyDrive, Microsoft’s cloud storage system that enables users to upload and sync photos, music, video and more between different devices. Up against... Read More .

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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  1. tom
    December 31, 2013 at 11:26 am

    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.

  2. Lexie
    December 18, 2013 at 5:14 am

    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.

  3. Mike
    November 25, 2013 at 8:08 am

    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.

  4. samir
    November 13, 2013 at 9:33 pm

    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...

  5. Avik
    October 22, 2013 at 1:30 pm

    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.

  6. Derek
    September 7, 2013 at 5:53 pm

    Just picked up a Lumia 1020 last night. My work phone is an iPhone 5, and my previous phone was Android (Atrix HD). I can honestly say, each OS has its UPS and downs. For me, the iPhone was too locked down (even when jailbroken). Android is a great OS, but I got bored with it. So far, I am very impressed with WP8. The camera on the 1020 blows any phone camera I've ever used out of the water. Nokia Music does an unbelievable job integrating music that I have stored on the device with their Pandora-like music service. A wonderful interface. Windows phone is a couple updates away from being the best OS I've used. My only gripes are the lack of apps (no Candy Crush? Lol). The Facebook app had trouble with push notifications, and Gmail doesn't update instantly (although Exchange email works great). If MS can get the rest of the "big name" apps and fix a few little quirks, I would never look back to Android or iOS. Background apps don't close as easy, so that can cause some battery draining issues. Outside of that, Windows Phone 8 is just as good, if not better, than the other two big OS's. Nokia makes great hardware, and now that MS bought out their devices division, I think we'll see a true contender to compete with Android/iOS. Like I said, just a couple updates away from having no downfalls compared to the other two. Excellent interface, once you get used to it. iOS is stale. Android is good. It really comes down to preference. With MS's money, I can see Windows Phone continuing to get better.

    Oh, and eff BlackBerry.

  7. Anonymous
    September 6, 2013 at 9:16 am

    The only reason I feel the android store is bigger and the users feel that way coz of all the unnessary apps they have...they jus like to read the numbers but don't even know what apps they have...althou the galaxy s4's high end cpu is in there it still bogs down where as the 1020's dual core runs perfectly

  8. prakash
    September 5, 2013 at 8:09 pm

    my first phone was N90 & still its working. now I switched to 925 but im not at all happy with its performance.

    • wade
      November 5, 2013 at 8:13 pm

      why are you unhappy with the performance of the 925 ? I bought one for my girlfriend, and she would never go back to anything else other than a lumia windows phone. I have a 1020 myself, and had a 900 and a 920 before that. I personally like all the windows phone I have encountered even the oldest of them, even when it wasnt windows phone just windows mobile. The iPhone grew old very fast, and its durability was pitiful. The samsung galaxy s3 also did not survive its first drop to the ground either, otherwise it was a decent phone, the durability could have been better. I tend to go through phones like toilet paper, I've had 3 blackberry phones. The first android phone, then a few others after, I had one iPhone, which i replaced with the S3 and a short month of having that, it died. I replaced that with a lumia 900 for really cheap since they weren't really being sold anymore and replaced with a 920. I ended up holding on to the 920 up till the 1020 came out which had a better camera which i was actually looking for. Basically I guess what I'm saying is that, the Windows Phones I've held onto for at least a year at minimum while the others i couldn't stand for more than a couple months.

  9. Usman M
    August 26, 2013 at 9:31 pm

    lets see here...
    WP8 does what I ask it to
    it made my phone a tiny workhorse
    it has superior hardware (at least where necessary)
    and the only thing it cannot do which android does perfectly is..........LAG!

    I'm gonna miss that andy :p

  10. Prashank
    August 24, 2013 at 7:10 am

    I am nokia windows phone user but im facing a difficulty in sharing videos via any measure tell me if there is any solution to that. Apart from that nokia has something very good this time by launching this lumia series...

  11. Rishabh
    August 14, 2013 at 4:40 am

    Samsung, HTC, etc., have gained more reputation than NOKIA.
    NOKIA is a thing of the past.

    And LUMIA?.. It is a thing of the ancestors!
    Poor user-interface.!!

    And moreover ANDROID has more apps than windows. All these apps(similar) are available for android too.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 14, 2013 at 11:41 am

      Have you even used a Nokia Lumia?

      If not, you're barely qualified to comment.

      (Incidentally, more apps doesn't equate to a better platform. If it did, no one would have bought an Android when they were playing catchup to iOS. Go grab some logic and critical thinking instead of parroting the Android party line ;) )

    • Mihai
      August 20, 2013 at 12:54 pm

      I do not quite understand your comment. Why would you need applications for facebook, twitter and so on when you have something familiar like Internet Explorer on your phone? I do need some minimal applications like Weather (Nokia and MS developed one each) and live soccer scores (plenty to choose from WP store). Games wise I have an Xbox linked with my phone. The rest of those flashy splashy applications are for you my friend in G Store.

    • Usman M
      August 26, 2013 at 9:26 pm

      Samsung has poor reputation when it comes to build solid phones (I mean durability) and Limia easily beats HTC and others. If you don't know what I'm talking about youtube Lumia durabitily tests.

      Talking about the OS, there is hardly anything Lumia can't do that others do. But if you're gonna cry for something in particular, just use Android.

      But hey, most Android/iOS users have dared to buy Lumia and go deep have not looked back. Thats because they opened up their boxes while thinking hey whats this? not what the f**k is this?

  12. bigkampe
    August 10, 2013 at 11:18 pm

    My girlfriend and I just got the Nokia 925 and I cannot believe how good the OS is. I've been a long-time user of Android and 8 far exceeds the Android experience. My brother has the Note 2, and while it's a nice phone I would take the 925 over it. I've never been a iPhone enthusiast, mainly because I'm not big on Apple, but from my playing around on the iPhone 5, I prefer the Windows 8 experience. (I fully admit I've never been big on Apple, so take my opinion on my opinion of the iPhone with a grain of salt.) Live tiles are where it's at and the Nokia apps are really well made. We made the right decision.

  13. prak
    August 7, 2013 at 3:13 pm

    Nokia's latest quad core 1080p phanlet is here...check it out at...

  14. Sam R
    August 2, 2013 at 6:53 pm

    Nokia has fine hardware but the issue is the operating system. I cant save a message as draft, can edit a word and such small limitations are present in a windows phone.

    • vmgunz
      August 3, 2013 at 6:36 am

      Which nokia lumia do you use?? The functionality to save as draft has been available for months after one OS update..

  15. Manny Becker
    August 2, 2013 at 4:56 pm

    I can't imagine an Android phone by Nokia, I would be so awesome. They do quality hardware, they just need a quality OS like Android. I'll definitely buy it.

    • vmgunz
      August 3, 2013 at 6:35 am

      It will take so much effort by Nokia to launch their hardware on Android without risking them to become "me-too" devices. Let's look at how many manufacturers are really successful with their Android offering. I can only have one in mind, Samsung. Even HTC comes out with such good design HTC One, it never sells as well as Samsung Galaxy.

      It's a right decision by Nokia to focus on one OS and keeps improving the offering. Lumia 1020 is great collaboration between Nokia and Microsoft. But the party that really needs to kick up their effort is definitely Microsoft, sooo sloooowwwww...

      • bigkampe
        August 10, 2013 at 11:22 pm

        I agree! Microsoft really needs an effective ad campaign focused on what their OS can do. Unfortunately, they have had a lot of past failures, so overcoming the preconceived notions will be difficult.

    • Ricardo
      August 12, 2013 at 11:00 am

      Quality OS like Android? What are you? Living in the 20th century?

  16. Obsidian 351
    August 2, 2013 at 12:01 pm

    Take an iPhone, android and windows phone, pull them out of the box and don't download any apps and the windows phone kills the others in terms of useability.
    Sync your accounts, facebook, email and the like and windows phone again kills the others again in terms of useability.
    start downloading apps and whilst iphone and android kill windows in terms of quantity and yes in some cases quality, (to quote Andreev) windows marketplace has "have a very good alternative"
    so if you're not an appaholic and want a great phone that's easy to use get a windows phone and you'll find most of the features you need built in that the others require you download an app for.

    • Todd G
      August 2, 2013 at 8:10 pm

      Obsidian's points are spot on. I've worked on or used all make and models of phones. I've had to support Blackberry's, Iphones, Android phones, and Windows phones for years. For ease of use, customization capabilities, and function the Windows 8 phone is the best out of the box.

      In the past when I had a user upgrading a phone, and they weren't overly savvy I would point them to the Iphone. I would point more savvy users to Android. Now, I point all of my users to Windows Phones. Not surprisingly they sync effortlessly with Exchange servers.

      I've put my Nokia Lumia through everything, and not had it freeze up as I've had with Android. It's also not choked on Active Sync and churned through a full battery in an hour as I've had with Iphones.

      Having a full version of office, with powerpoint, is a lifesaver. When a presentation has to be edited at the absolute last second, nothing is better than the real thing.

    • cheesecake
      September 17, 2013 at 1:55 pm

      this is the perfect reason why I will get one (bought my wife first lol).

  17. Alex
    August 2, 2013 at 7:27 am

    None of the above impress me enough, even to think of having a Nokia Windows Handset. If Nokia had gone with Android and made custom apps for it, there is no doubt it would have kicked out Samsung and Apple far behind. Still there is time and chance.

    • Ricardo
      August 12, 2013 at 10:59 am

      Android = Google Maps
      Nokia = Here's Maps

      Choose the one you like the best... but you can't have both.

      The 2 companies will keep battling. Android on a Nokia is not going to happen anytime soon.

    • ~~P
      September 12, 2013 at 6:11 pm

      Dear Ricardo,
      Google maps are there in WP8 Stores, but if you really want navigation, Here maps are too good. I have both on my Lumia. Earlier i was like you a fan of google maps but after using here maps i forgot google maps.
      And if you be unbaised, and check you will find Lumia much above android phones. I have iphone as well, but i prefer to use Lumia, and i gifted my android to my maid becoz, they only can use it, to watch movies and listen songs, games etc. that too with low speed. I travel a lot and battery is main concern as well, but android devices are hell for batteries.

  18. Andreev
    August 2, 2013 at 4:17 am

    I don't get what in this phone will make me buy it. I use an android phone and I think all of the five apps posted here have a very good alternative.

    • vmgunz
      August 3, 2013 at 6:32 am

      I think this article is more for user that likes Nokia hardware but a bit reluctant on the apps availability in Windows Phone.

    • Christian Cawley
      August 16, 2013 at 11:23 am


      But your Android phone doesn't have a Carl Zeiss lens, does it?

  19. Chris H
    August 2, 2013 at 3:07 am

    It's weird that Nokia Windows Phones seem to be so popular among Windows Phone fans. I thought Microsoft said that the HTC Windows Phone 8X was the "Signature Windows Phone." If I was buying a Windows Phone, I'd be tempted to go for the one Microsoft most approves of, just like I have a Nexus phone as the Android phone that's closest to Google's vision.

    Maybe I don't just get it, as an Android user.

    • Ricardo
      August 12, 2013 at 10:56 am

      It's quite simple, really. Nokia has better hardware and better software than HTC. People will only choose an HTC over a Nokia if they aren't informed or don't know a jack about technology.

      • Silky
        August 16, 2013 at 11:19 am

        No. Just no.

        Nokia doesn't have better hardware, it has equal hardware, and WP8 also been proven to be less stable than iOS (no surprise there) and Android. It hasn't innovated in any single way, it hasn't advanced handheld design, all it's done is mash up some decent components (after all, its not a lacklustre performer by any means, its just not higher than others) and shipped.

        And my phone is a Lumia 920, before the wrath starts. I've seen the problems first hand, day in, day out.

        • Christian Cawley
          August 16, 2013 at 11:22 am

          I'd like to know more about these "problems" you're experiencing "first hand, day in, day, out". I'm also using a 920 and have had no problems. Apart from the time it crashed, back in March.

          " WP8 also been proven to be less stable than iOS (no surprise there) and Android." Where? Since when? You can't just make these seemingly arbitrary statements without something to back it up, otherwise it remains just your opinion. You make a potentially good point, but without a link to corroborate it's just nonsense.

  20. Rildo Pragana
    August 2, 2013 at 2:43 am

    No, no, no, Nokia. When you have an Android phone, perhaps I'll buy one device from you. Please, throw away this Microsoft crap and get a real operating system. Your fine hardware deserves it.

    • Anonymous
      August 2, 2013 at 4:59 pm

      Microsoft WP Is not craps OS.The Main Issues Is Here Ballmer and His Team mate are lazy to push their WP OS beyond the limit.They waiting patent loyalty from android device such as Samsung HTC and LG.Single Samsung Android device release ,Microsoft receive US$ 15 per device.That mean each device that run android technology can cause Microsoft more rich that we could think.That mean in 2017 ,Microsoft annual revenue will increase to US10 Billion due to android patent technology.If Ballmer and his team mate seriously push WP beyond limit such as Google Android and Apple I.O.S Consumer will consider Microsoft mobile OS can compete with android I.O.S will eligible apps on their store..

    • bigkampe
      August 10, 2013 at 11:19 pm

      Which "real OS" should people get? I don't get these types of comments... Have you used any WP8 products?

    • Ricardo
      August 12, 2013 at 10:54 am

      Bah... just another idiot who thinks the entire world must be and feel the same. Keep your Android, dude. I don't like that stuff and I won't use it even if I get paid for it... I'll keep using Windows Phone, even if you hate it. :-P

    • Siraj
      September 17, 2013 at 3:37 pm

      100% Correct

    • Siraj
      September 17, 2013 at 3:39 pm

      I have used iPhone, Android phone where i used many many applications and user friendly.

      I bought Lumina 820 recently but I got disappointment, very less features available in Windows Phone.

      Battery consumption also very low.