Windows Phone 8: New Developer Offers; Lumia 520 & 720; HERE Location Suite

Nokia announces new Lumia 520, 720 WP8 devices, HERE location suite (HERE Maps, HERE Drive Beta, HERE Transit), NFC Writer app, and new partnerships for phones in workplace. New Dev Center app, and special offers for devs.

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At Barcelona MWC 2013, Nokia and Microsoft during the App Developer Conference shared some new Windows Phone 8 devies, apps, and also showing the progress and announced a few new tools and programs for Windows Phone developers.

First, Microsoft has released a Preview of new Dev Center app that helps you check app download data and crash trends, payments and key metrics. Additionally, you can drill down by app, including reviews translated in the language of your choice.

The Live Tile in the app shows you downloads and crash counts so you always have the latest data at hand. And, there is an option to share a link for your app without having to go into the store, copy/paste into an email, etc.

Dev Center Windows Phone 8 app: apps download data

Dev Center App for Windows Phone 8: Drill down report

You can download the Dev Center app from Windows Phone Store.

In addition, the following offers are available through third-party companies. To avail these offers you will need a unique code to take advantage of these offers.

"For those of you who are already registered Windows Phone developers, you'll receive a confirmation code later today in your copy of the Windows Phone WPDEV newsletter," Microsoft wrote.

  • Box platform is offering a free account with 25GB of free space for life (instead of 5GB) Includes one (1) Enterprise Seat (including: administrative controls, full text search and version history, through both the web application and the API)
  • Buddy a mobile backend service for developers building cloud-connected apps and games offer a free Buddy account, with an allowance of up to one million (1MM) API calls per month. Offer is valid for six months. After six months have elapsed, developers revert to Buddy's standard (published) pricing.
  • ExitGames Photon Cloud, that allows game developers to build and run real-time multiplayer games for Windows Phone 8, Windows 8 RT and other major platforms offer free Photon Cloud service (500 CCU Plan) for six months.

Nokia also has announced new Windows Phone 8 models, and its location apps and services to more Windows Phones now branded as HERE Location Suite.

The new WP8 phones announced today include:

Nokia Lumia 520 Windows Phone 8

Lumia 520 phone combine some of the company's higher-end innovations (such as camera lens and touch display) with lower price tags. The phone comes with a four-inch display, a five-megapixel camera, and five color options.

Lumia 720 comes in five colors, a 4.3-inch ClearBlack WVGA display, a fast f/1.9 Carl Zeiss lens on the primary camera, and a front-facing camera capable of recording 720p HD videos on a wide-angle lens.

Nokia Lumia 720 Windows Phone 8

In addition, the following WP8 apps are available as on today:

HERE Maps makes getting around easier than ever, with detailed mapping on or offline, and reliable, turn-by-turn navigation in over 90 countries. It also has a new compass that shows you which direction you're facing, and also lets you choose an angled view of your surroundings.

You also get expanded maps of building interiors around the world - airports, shopping malls, stadiums and more. And you can always save your favorite places for easy reference later.

Nokia HERE Maps Windows Phone 8 app

HERE Drive, currently in beta syncs with the other HERE apps and give the best turn-by-turn voice guidance anytime anywhere.

"All you need is customize your drive for a faster, shorter, or more economical route, and adjust settings to avoid things like traffic and toll roads. Then, customize map layers to see relevant places all along the way, from restaurants and gas stations to local points of interest. Text-to-speech means you'll never have to look down to know which street you're turning on, and audible speed limit alerts might save you a ticket," Nikia writes.

HERE Transit, lets you tap and see stations and stops nearest you on the map, "tap again for departure times."

Nokia HERE Drive Beta Windows Phone 8 app

Nokia HERE Transit Windows Phone 8 app

Check out the video embedded below to see them in action:

Nokia Maps vs Google Maps: offline experience:

Visit the Windows Phone Store, or use these links to grab HERE Maps, HERE Drive, and HERE Transit apps.

Further, Nokia has announced new slew of projects and partnerships includeing:

  • "Developers, for example, will now have under-the-hood access to Nokia's location, imaging, and music services.
  • Partnership with DreamWorks Animation for some still-secret "entertainment experiences" that will be exclusive to Lumia phones when they arrive later in the year.
  • Major carriers including Orange, Telstra, and Vodaphone are already planning to promote Lumia models with Windows Phone 8 as great business-friendly phones," informs Nokia.

Lastly, Microsoft has shared some stats about the Windows Phone platform stating:

  • "Windows Phone developer community is growing rapidly and the developer registrations are up by over 40,000 in the first 90 days since the launch of WP8.
  • WP platform already has 15,000 new apps, and there are more than 130,000 apps and games - designed specifically for a differentiated Windows Phone UI and ecosystem.
  • Windows Phone 8 SDK downloads has passed 500,000 in less than 4 months from its release on October 30, 2012.
  • Windows Phone Store has also experienced 75% increase in app downloads, a 91% increase in paid app revenue and eclipsing 1 billion transactions.
  • Steady increase to an average of 55 downloads per user," informs Microsoft.

Further, Microsoft notes that according to a ChangeWave Research Windows Phone customers are more likely to be "very satisfied" with their phones than Android users (53% for Windows Phone users vs. 48% for Android).

Update: Add new videos:

Nokia Lumia 720:

Nokia Lumia 520:

HERE location experience on Windows Phone 8:

Update 02/27: Nokia NFC Writer for Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices is designed to take advantage of the built-in NFC (Near Field Communication) by automating various tasks through the use of tags.

The app is available for the Lumia 620, Lumia 720, Lumia 820 and Lumia 920, is designed to read and write standard NFC tags. It can launch apps, check-in to various places, update social statuses, make phone calls or send SMS messages by simply tapping the phone on a written NFC tag.

Nokia says that tags created with the app can also be read by "any operating system" which includes the necessary hardware.

The social network functionality has great potential to automate otherwise boring Facebook or Twitter statuses. "I'm at work" can become a breeze to post simply by tapping an NFC tile.

Nokia NFC Writer is available from the Windows Phone Store.

Nokia NFC Writer app for Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices: Menu Screen Nokia NFC Writer app for Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices: Contact Social menu