Nokia Takes on Apple, Samsung with Music Service
In an effort to differentiate itself in the crowded smartphone market, Nokia (NYSE: NOK) is bringing a new music service to Lumia handsets.
The service, officially titled Nokia Music, promises to deliver a "simple and delightful way to discover and enjoy music" and offers more than 150 exclusive playlists. The playlists are curated and will be kept up-to-date by an expert team of U.S.-based musicologists and will be based on genre or music style (such as New York Philharmonic). Playlists may also come from well-known recording artists including Lady Gaga, Rihanna, and Lana Del Rey.
Users can also create their own playlists and stream music from a library that consists of millions of music tracks. Music does not have to be streamed, however. While that is the primary way the tracks are obtained, users can choose to save them to their Lumia handsets to continue listening even when streaming is not an option. Nokia did not reveal how this is accomplished, but if it is anything like Spotify, the service might simply download the tracks to the phone in temporary, non-transferrable files.
Next to Apple (NASDAQ: AAPL) and iTunes, Nokia Music is easily the most significant music service designed to sell hardware. Apple created iTunes with the goal of selling iPods (and later iPhones and iPads). Nokia will now offer its service -- and pay all the necessary music licensing fees -- to persuade consumers to buy a new phone.
With the iPhone 5 only days away from its debut, Nokia and other smartphone manufacturers are doing everything they can to compete. Samsung attempted to upstage Apple by unveiling its first Windows Phone 8 device last week, as well as the next iteration of the Galaxy Note. On September 6, Amazon (NASDAQ: AMZN) will hold an event to reveal at least one new device, which is expected to be the Kindle Fire II but could be the company's first smartphone.
Nokia is also hosting a press event this week on September 5. Little is known about the items, devices, or services that Nokia plans to introduce, but the event is expected to focus on Windows Phone 8.
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