Nokia And Path Partner To Bring The Private Social Network To Windows Phone

Path is preparing to cross to the Windows Phone mobile platform — one of the more ‘private’ mobile OSes currently in play, with its marginal market share compared to the dominant duo of Android and iOS. Which sounds like a perfect fit for a private social network. Path co-founder and CEO, Dave Morin, confirmed to TechCrunch the network is “coming to Windows Phone in full partnership with Nokia”.

Path was named one of the forthcoming apps at the launch of Nokia’s new Windows Phone flagship, the Lumia 1020, taking place in New York today, as Nokia announced a new imaging SDK specific to that device. At this point it’s unclear whether Path will be exclusive to the Lumia 1020 — the only Windows Phone to sport a 41 megapixel camera — or whether it will be made available for download to any Windows Phone handset. We’ll update this post as soon as we confirm.

Update: Nokia has now confirmed Path will be available on other Lumia devices, as well as the Lumia 1020, but added that “the experience will be governed by the products capabilities”.

Path’s own blog post about the launch says only that Path for Windows Phone has “a special focus on the new Nokia Lumia 1020 device,” which suggests that a wider WP rollout is likely, but also that the Lumia 1020 will get some unique features as part of the partnership. “Path users on the Lumia will be able to post photo moments that are even more vibrant than ever before,” it notes.

Also unclear: whether the partnership means Nokia is part-funding the development of the Windows Phone version of Path, but it seems likely. And if not Nokia, then Microsoft — who has been spending considerable cash encouraging developers not to overlook its third ecosystem.

What is abundantly clear is that Nokia is hoping Path can be the Lumia 1020’s Instagram substitute — in the absence of the real deal. In a press release announcing the partnership, the pair play up the photo filter aspect of their partnership:

Path with Nokia will bring more than 50 free and premium filter effects; along with high resolution & deep zoom imaging capabilities that allow users to capture and share those personal moments and every day works of art.

Path has been eyeing Windows Phone for a while. Back in March, Morin told Pandodaily it was “beginning work on Windows Phone.” At the time he also said Path was committing to the Windows Phone platform because “we believe that the product is really good.” And last year described himself as “bullish on Windows Phone.”

Nokia has also been been working hard to support the wider Windows Phone ecosystem by spending time trying to convince developers to port flagship apps across (albeit its Instagram efforts have not yet prevailed), and also making its own apps — such as its Here mapping software — available to the whole WP ecosystem, not just its own Windows Phones. At Nokia’s last flagship device launch event, the Lumia 925, it also made much of Hipstamatic’s Oggl photo community app being available on the platform — another Instagram stand-in/alternative that also supports sharing to Instagram.

Path’s arrival on the Lumia 1020 is another Windows Phone stepping stone that Nokia will be keen to shout about — especially in light of the ongoing absence of Instagram. But a private social networking app, however well-known in the Valley, does not detract from the fact that Nokia has been forced to unbox a 41MP cameraphone on a platform without the current photo-sharing social network du jour.

Ingrid Lunden also contributed to this report.