Nokia has added Groupon discount offers to the capabilities of its new Nokia Maps 2.5 release for Lumia smartphones, which is available for download in Windows Phone Marketplace.
Compatible with Nokia's Lumia 610, 710, 800 and 900 series handsets, the new Groupon offerings integrated into Nokia Maps 2.5 are limited to Lumia handset users based in the United States.
Launched in 2008, Groupon is a Web site that offers discounted gift certificates for making purchases at local restaurants, retail outlets and service providers. With Nokia Maps 2.5, Lumia smartphone users gain instant access to Groupon deal-of-the-day discount certificates, said Nokia blogger Pino Bonetti.
"Nokia Maps' mission has always been to make you feel like a local anywhere, every day," Bonetti said in a blog post Wednesday. "We think that [having Groupon Now! discount offers on Nokia Maps] is a perfect way to try new places or find great offers around you -- in your home city or when traveling."
Whenever Lumia handset users go looking for something while using Nokia Maps 2.5, the discount deals in their locales will be clearly marked with the green G of Groupon.
"All deals on Nokia Maps come with an exhaustive description and when you have selected one, you will be redirected to the Groupon mobile site," Bonetti said. Given that Groupon's mobile discount deals "are geographically limited, this feature is currently available only in the U.S."
Travelers using their Lumia handset and Nokia Maps 2.5 to plan any route will likewise see Groupon's green G at the top of the icons denoting local business outlets. Users need only click on the icon to gain more information about any business establishment's deal-of-the-day discount offer.
"After you have set the starting point and destination, you can select your favorite way to connect the dots: on foot, by car or by public transportation -- where available," Bonetti said. "The best thing is you can also pin the route to your start screen and have it available anytime, or share it with friends."
A Tactical Measure
This week's Nokia Maps 2.5 upgrade appears to be part of a strategy announced last month for promoting Lumia sales prior to Microsoft 's launch of its next-generation Windows Phone 8 mobile platform and Metro-style Windows 8 operating system for PCs and tablets.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop told investors last month that Lumia handset sales had remained "flat to up" in the weeks following the announcement of Windows Phone 8.
"Thus, leading up to the introduction of the Windows Phone 8 products, we plan to introduce tactical measures and promotional campaigns," Elop said during last month's conference call with industry analysts.
Given that Microsoft continues to generate headlines concerning the October launch of its Windows 8 operating system and Windows Phone 8 platform, Nokia is facing a slump in current sales. If the addition of Groupon to Nokia Maps 2.5 is part of this strategy, however, the smartphone maker will need to make handset distributors and potential buyers aware of the new capability.
"Operators are not stocking up Lumia devices as the new handsets running on Windows Phone 8 are expected soon for the Christmas season," said Francisco Jeronimo, a research manager for IDC based in Europe.
As the current Nokia handsets will only get light updates of the new platform and will not be fully compatible, operators don't see any reason to push the current Lumia devices this summer, Jeronimo said.
"Nokia will continue to suffer until its Windows Phone 8 is launched," he said.