On the off-chance that you’re running out of things to read on that Windows Phone of yours, just hang tight — you’ll soon have plenty of mobile reading material to dive into. Digital magazine app Zinio will be making its Windows Phone 8 debut in the coming weeks, and it will do so as a Nokia Lumia exclusive.
In making the leap to Windows Phone 8, Zinio has also undergone a substantial overhaul to boot. The app’s core features — buying, downloading, and displaying digital versions of magazines — are all there, but with this Windows Phone 8 release Zinio is starting to refocus its smartphone experience around the process of discovering new content from multiple sources rather than simply diving into individual magazines as you would with the iOS and Android versions of the app.
“We want to revisit what we had formerly done on the smartphone form factor,” said Zinio User Experience VP Matt Davis, which means that the forthcoming Windows Phone 8 version of the app will look nothing like its other mobile cousins (not that it’s any sort of surprise) for the time being. The star of the show in the revamped Zinio app is the new reading list, a constantly-updating stream of articles culled from “trending magazines” as well as magazines the user purchased or has subscribed to. To help keep that stream full of the right content, users are also able to set their own certain areas of interest (think technology or entertainment) so popular articles pertaining to those topics will be downloaded in the background.
Zinio ultimately hopes to use its Windows Phone build as an archetype for the iOS and Android experience, one of the few times we’ve seen a developer try to push the design envelope on WP first and translate the experience to other platforms later. That said, it’s certainly not a bad thing — early images of the work-in-progress Zinio app are pretty impressive in comparison:
Both Nokia and Zinio refer to this arrangement as a “mutual partnership,” but I can’t shake the feeling that Nokia has more to gain here. Chris Surowiec, Nokia’s head of business and app development for global partners, told me yesterday that these sorts of partnerships are “absolutely critical to selling devices,” and that Nokia is looking at Zinio’s forthcoming arrival as a major boon for the Windows Phone content ecosystem.
“90 percent of smartphone owners have searched for and downloaded a magazine title,” Surowiec noted, adding that “currently there’s no newsstand in the Windows Phone 8 ecosystem.” That may be true, but here’s hoping that Nokia has more of these sorts of deals up its sleeves. The Lumia line as a whole seems to be doing rather well — Nokia reported selling 4.4 million Lumia devices in its fiscal fourth Q4 and recent reports point to two million Lumias sold in China — but there’s no such thing as too much traction, especially as Nokia aims to topple some major rivals.