Microsoft Opens New Site for Lumia Apps Beta Tests, Drops Nokia Beta Labs
Microsoft has recently announced that the company is closing the Nokia Beta Labs site, but users will still be able to test apps under development via the new Lumia Beta Apps site. Microsoft said that the new site is designed to elicit more feedback and make it easier for users to participate.
The Nokia site betalabs.nokia.com will be discontinued from August 31, 2014. Thereafter, all links to the Nokia site will be redirected to Lumia Beta Apps. The new site is includes UserVoice, which also hosts the Windows Phone Feature Suggestion box page and more.
On the Lumia Beta Apps site, users will be able to find information about ongoing trials, instructions on how to install apps, and notes about features and known issues. Each beta has its own feedback forum for interacting with other users and the teams developing the apps. The ongoing trials at Nokia Beta Labs will continue at the new site and users can continue to give feedback and interact there.
The beta apps can be downloaded via Microsoft’s Windows Phone store, by clicking on a link or by scanning a QR code. Anyone is welcome to participate, but Microsoft prefers if users have a “relatively new Lumia smartphone”, “are willing to tolerate rough edges” and aren’t afraid to share their opinions, company said.
Presently, four apps – Nokia Camera, Yahoo-powered Nokia Chat, App Social and Nokia Conference are available in the beta version. These apps will be rolled out publicly following testing and app revisions based on the feedback given to their respective development teams.
The change is a clear indication of the company’s plan of dropping Nokia as a brand image. Back in April, Stephen Elop, now Executive Vice President of the Microsoft Devices Group, said, “Nokia as a brand will not be used for long going forward for smartphones. Work is underway to select the go-forward smartphone brand.”