I have been using the Lumia 800, Nokia’s first flagship Windows Phone smartphone. for almost a week now and find it to be the most usable of the couple of Windows Phone smartphones from other vendors currently available in the market. Not only does the Lumia 800 have a better build quality, it also comes pre-installed with a turn-by-turn navigation app that can give voice prompts in Hindi. However, one killer service that won’t be available when the Lumia range is launched in India later in the coming week is Nokia’s Music Store. Read on… Also Read - Nokia Music Store is coming to Asha 501 soon
For its Windows Phone smartphones in Europe, Nokia not only offers the Music Store, which has millions of DRM-free tracks, but also a music streaming service it calls Mix Radio. Mix Radio enables users to stream automatically generated playlists depending on the genre of their interest and save those for offline listening. According to a Nokia India spokesperson at the company’s annual strategy sharing session in Udaipur, Nokia is currently negotiating deals with music labels for providing the streaming service in India. These have to be separate deals than what Nokia already has in place for its Music Store. Also Read - Nokia Music launched on Windows 8
Nokia can still provide its complete Music Store on the Lumia range but if has chosen not to do so and instead will wait till it can provide the complete suite including Mix Radio. This is expected to happen in the first half of 2012. Also Read - Nokia Music+ to offer premium Mix Radio music service, starts from $3.99
I believe Nokia is missing a great opportunity by not providing the basic Music Store as it would be the biggest differentiator not only with other Windows Phone smartphones (there are hardly that many) but even with Android smartphones and of course, the iPhone. Neither Google Music nor Apple’s iTunes Match service is available in India at the moment and this could be the perfect carrot for Nokia to dangle in front of consumers looking to buy their first smartphone.
The only reason I can think for Nokia not adding Music Unlimited to the Lumia series would be the fact that the ‘free’ Music Store is not actually free and the cost of the service is added to the price the consumer pays for buying the device. With the current state of the Rupee, adding Nokia Music Unlimited service to the Lumia 800 would probably have made it too expensive. But I would have expected Nokia to have written off that charge and offer the regular music service anyway, instead of offering nothing at all.
Disclosure: Nokia paid for my travel and stay during the event.