Nokia teams with ESPN, Groupon for Windows Phone app exclusives

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NEW ORLEANS--Nokia (NYSE:NOK) announced a series of new and exclusive Windows Phone content partnerships designed to differentiate its fledgling Lumia smartphone line.  

Partners include sports media giant ESPN, which this fall will launch a Windows Phone-optimized version of its ESPN Fantasy Football app exclusively for Lumia devices. ESPN also will revamp its ESPN Hub app with the addition of sports scores on Live Tiles, team-level panoramas, personalization of scores, leagues and teams and expanded coverage around subjects like tennis, NASCAR and the 2012 Olympics. ESPN Hub is preloaded on Lumia devices.

Nokia is also collaborating with the PGA Tour on a golfing app slated to roll out in June. The app promises fans live tournament scoring, highlights and player information alongside interactive coverage of select events and holes. The app is exclusive to Lumia devices for 12 months from launch.

Shifting gears to social commerce, Groupon will introduce an updated version of its Windows Phone app in June, promising augmented reality deal discovery capabilities that combine map and location data with the camera's viewfinder to allow users to see virtual Groupon deals within their immediate area in real time. The Groupon app will be exclusive to Nokia Lumia customers for six months. Nokia also will work with eBay-owned PayPal on a Windows Phone edition of its mobile payment app. 

Nokia additionally will team with Rovio Mobile to bring the blockbuster Angry Birds Space to the Windows Phone platform. Rovio is assembling a dedicated design and development team to create games for Nokia Lumia smartphones and other Windows Phone devices; Rovio and Nokia also will collaborate on new consumer products and content exclusively for Lumia phones.

Although Nokia has pinned its turnaround hopes on Windows Phone, the Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) operating system has struggled to gain market share from Google's (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android and Apple's (NASDAQ:AAPL) iOS. Research firm comScore reports that as of March 2012, Windows Phone and the legacy Windows Mobile control just 3.9 percent of the U.S. smartphone market, far behind Android at 51 percent and iOS at 30.7 percent.

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