As Nokia prepares for a crucial push to resuscitate its smartphone business, it's calling in some heavyweights from across the Atlantic: Batman, Lady Gaga and Perry the Platypus.
The Finnish company has teamed up with Walt Disney Co. and DreamWorks Animation to tackle an application shortage that has left it trailing Apple and Google. The deals are part of a strategy to ensure Nokia has the most popular smartphone apps, even if it lags in the total number, said Marco Argenti, who oversees Nokia's relations with developers.
Nokia fell behind Apple's iPhone and devices running Google's Android after failing to attract many app developers. As CEO Stephen Elop prepares to unveil Nokia's first devices based on the mobile version of Microsoft's new Windows 8 operating system in New York today, he is betting that apps with novelty features, such as augmented reality, will make up for the volume handicap.
Users of iPhones and Android handsets can choose from more than 600,000 apps -- roughly six times the number available for Windows Phone, the operating system Nokia uses in its Lumia devices. The app superiority has helped Apple and Android grab about 85% of the smartphone market, vs. 3.5% for Windows Phone, according to research firm IDC.