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Nokia will save Windows Phone 7 from 'niche', says app developer

Windows Phone 7 has been saved from languishing in an appless netherworld by its partnership with Nokia, according to a major British app developer.

Nokia has rescued Windows Phone 7 from being a "niche" mobile operating system, according to a major British app developer. Despite Nokia CEO Stephen Elop referring to Symbian as "a burning platform", it seems Microsoft has the most to gain from its partnership with Nokia.

Steve Purdham, CEO of We7, told us that it "had no plans to do Windows 7 until the announcement" that Nokia was switching its smart phones from Symbian to Microsoft's mobile version of Windows. We7 is a music-streaming service that already has apps for Android and iPhone.

"With the pressure of Android and the iPhone, [Windows Phone 7] was going to be a niche," Purdham told CNET UK at a briefing for the launch of a new version of the We7 app.

But the lure of the Nokia name is stronger than either operating system, for developers and punters. "People will buy a Nokia phone because they've had a Nokia phone," predicted Purdham.

Despite there being more Symbian-powered phones in the world than any other type, there's not much point in developing new apps for existing Symbian phones, according to Purdham.

That's because once people have had a phone for more than a couple of months, they tend not to install new apps. Meanwhile, new Symbian phones are under pressure from the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry. 

A new version of the We7 app, which adds a radio service that works when you're not online, was released for Android today. The iPhone app will get the same update with a couple of weeks, with BlackBerry and Windows Phone 7 versions in the works.