A big part of Windows Phone’s traction struggle is around the platform’s app selection, or at least people’s perception of its limitations. This is why Nokia has launched a mobile and desktop site with the (rather awkward) name of ‘App #Switch’.
The point of the site is to show current Android and iOS users that their favorite apps are also on Windows Phone – or, if the apps aren’t available, to suggest similar ones that are. The site is powered by Berlin-based Xyo, which we last covered under its former name Xyologic.
Xyo is an analytics firm that, after selling its services to support two quiet years of development, went public in August with an multiplatform app search service.
The company is relentlessly keen to point out the limitations of the search services used in Apple and Google’s app stores – and it has a point, as most people only ever discover a limited set of expensively promoted apps. This is why the big numbers thrown around by Apple and Google about their app store populations are largely meaningless. Xyo tries to sidestep this state of affairs by presenting many genres and subgenres of app, so lesser-known apps can surface.
Nokia will be promoting App #Switch in retail stores and on Lumia phones themselves, and will also be using Xyo as the international app search provider for its Welcome Home content-importing app for PC and Mac.
Xyo is understandably using the opportunity afforded by the Nokia deal to big up its wider services. The company claims to have seen a pretty high install click rate from users since that August launch.
“22 percent of our users intend to install an app directly from Xyo.net,” CEO Zoe Adamowicz said in a statement. “That’s good news for our search product — it shows that a large percentage of users find what they are looking for. But it’s also great news for the whole industry: It shows that there are great apps in the app stores and users are keen to install them — they just need better tools to find them.”
For app discovery companies such as Xyo, partnerships are probably the most sure-fire way to bring in cash – data-wrangling is a special talent and in great demand these days. See also, rival Quixey‘s Ask.com partnership, announced a couple days ago.
To be frank, the Nokia deal doesn’t reflect terribly well on Microsoft. The whole point of Xyo is to make up for the failings of the standard app store model, and bringing Xyo on board in this way smells like a tacit admission on Nokia’s part that customers may not be able to easily find what they want on Windows Phone – even if it’s there, somewhere. That’s not to say Windows Phone is worse than its rivals in this regard, just that it’s apparently not better either.
But you never know. Nokia’s post-China-Mobile-deal share price bump yesterday may reflect an alignment of stars for the Finnish firm and for Windows Phone as a whole. If data-driven services such as that provided by Xyo help accelerate takeup, then all the better.