Nokia plans to add a little rhythm to its Lumia line of Windows Phone handsets.
Nokia's partner Echo Nest today unveiled the Nokia Music app. It includes the Nokia MixRadio service, which acts like Pandora, as well as additional features such as an MP3 music store and concert recommendations. It will first be preloaded on the Lumia 800.
With the smartphone manufacturers struggling to find ways to set themselves apart, many of them are turning to media as one way to shine. HTC, for instance, purchased a majority stake in Beats to get access to the company's trademark headphones, while Samsung Electronics has been attempting to get a media store off the ground. Nokia itself pushed its Music XPress service in its older Symbian phones.
Nokia MixRadio runs off of a platform built by Echo Nest, which offers data and a library of songs that allow companies to build their own apps. The company powers Pandora and iHeartRadio, two well known services commonly found on consumers' phones.
The service scans the music library found on the Lumia 800 and generates a playlist of related songs, similar to Pandora. Likewise, the user can create customized radio stations based on favorite songs and genres.
Echo Nest said the MixRadio service is "miles above" other services because of its expansive music library relative to other services. The company said it offers a library of 15 million songs, versus 800,000 for Pandora.
Nokia and Echo Nest declined to comment on how much the service would cost.
The Nokia Music app also includes 100 pre-programmed music stations set by experts and allows customers to stream any station on demand, or download 15 hours of programming onto their phones for playback when there is no wireless connection. The service will be available globally, although Nokia didn't say whether it will be available in the U.S. Neither Nokia nor Echo Nest would comment on whether the service would have all of the necessary rights to carry such a large library here.
Nokia needs any edge it can get. While the critical buzz around its Lumia phones have been solid, the company will find it tough making inroads against the iPhone and Android smartphones. The Finnish manufacturer, which was the dominant player in the mobile industry only a few years ago, is planning a massive campaign to get the word out on its Windows Phone products.
A strong music service can only help.