Switching from a Lumia to the HTC One for Windows? Here are the apps you may (or may not) miss

The HTC One M8 for Windows, currently only on Verizon, is expected to get a wider release in the coming weeks and months, including on AT&T in the US. As a result, a few of you are at least contemplating jumping from your Lumia to this new flagship Windows Phone, which looks to be the only one for the next few months. The hardware is certainly compelling and – spoiler alert – so far I am categorically enjoying using it as my daily driver.

However, you may be wondering what you lose by switching over in terms of those Nokia apps. I'll break it down for you.

HERE, here!

Before we jump to the exclusive stuff, I should point out that all of the HERE services are available for all Windows Phones, and not just Lumias. This change in status was announced back in April and the apps include:

  • HERE Maps
  • HERE Drive+
  • HERE Transit

The HERE mapping system uses the same offline maps as the OS, so downloading them once for the default 'Maps' app (which is present on the HTC One) lets them carry over for HERE Maps, HERE Drive+ and HERE Transit.

HERE Drive+ is a big deal for many as it is a free, reliable, GPS navigation system. HERE Drive+ includes things like 'My Commute' to guide you quickly to work and announced street names through the voice-guidance system. (See our recent nav app smack down between Navigon and HERE Drive+ for a comparison).

If you do opt for the HTC One M8 for Windows, on either Verizon or another carrier when available, you still get those apps and services to use. Nice.

No Nokia Collection

Perhaps the bigger deal is by jumping to the HTC One M8 for Windows, you do lose everything in the Nokia Collection.

As it turns out, in August 2014, this is less of a big deal than it was a year ago. The reason? Who remembers when we used to write articles about a brand new app coming to Windows Phone, but they were only available on Lumias? Indeed, it seemed like almost every other week we were writing that story, but that timed-exclusivity has almost disappeared. Almost. As a result, the 'app-gap' within the Windows Phone system is less pronounced back when Nokia was aggressively vying for Windows Phone dominance.

However, that does not mean there are not some fantastic Nokia apps still only available for Lumia devices. Below is that list.

Nokia Collection

As you can see, the Nokia Collection is still significant, especially when compared to HTC or Samsung. Speaking of, what do you get with HTC that is only available on the One M8 for Windows Phone?

HTC Collection

  • Flashlight
  • Converter
  • HTC Photo Edit
  • Video Highlights
  • HTC BlinkFeed
  • HTC Sense TV
  • HTC Camera

HTC's list is not nearly as comprehensive, but they do overlap with some of Nokia's, including Photo Edit and Camera. Additionally, things like Sense TV, which is HTC's remote control app for your TV demoed earlier, is unique to the One M8. Video Highlights is also a great app that rounds up your photos based on time and location, sets them to music with visual effects and lets you share the 30-second creation to social networks (I'll do a demo in a separate article).

Does it matter?

If you straight up compare apps to apps, it is clear Lumias still maintain a healthy advantage over HTC, especially when it comes to the camera and photography. Some of those differences become more evident with a forthcoming firmware update for Lumias too, so there are still advantages today – and tomorrow – by going with a Lumia.

Still, just because you can use all of those Lumia apps does not mean you do. Personally speaking, I rarely use things like Cinemagraph, Refocus, Glam Me, or Photobeamer. I certainly appreciate how awesome those apps can be, but when I consider how I use my phone on a daily basis, those apps rarely factor into my usage. Other apps, like Refocus or Video Trimmer, have analogs on the HTC One. For instance, Refocus is built into HTC Camera, and when the app is set to auto, it spontaneously captures the full refocus image. In that regard, HTC Camera – at least for refocusing – is superior to the Nokia method, whereby you have to plan.

Interestingly, Microsoft's Video Tuner is still a Lumia-exclusive, so HTC One users cannot use that excellent app, which is a bit of a shame.

The conclusion to take away is this: If you are using a Lumia Windows Phone right now, reflect how often you use those apps in the above list. If you swear by them and consider those apps a routine part of your smartphone experience, then you may want to re-think switching. If, however, you rarely use them, jumping ship to HTC is not that big of a deal.

Personally speaking I cannot say in switching I am desperately missing any of those Lumia apps, even if I appreciate how well done they are. When it comes to photos, I am more of a post-edit kind of person, and let us be honest you are unlikely to be buying the HTC One because you want the best smartphone camera around. In fact, you likely think snapping pics as secondary to the overall phone experience, in which case those missing Nokia apps are not a big deal. The point being, people's opinions on this vary, and you should consider where you fall on the spectrum.

More to come

Finally, in this article I looked at the apps that are unique to the Lumia line versus HTC, but there are also the Lumia-exclusive features found in their Lumia Cyan firmware like Glance Screen. I'll take a look at that next time.

So give it some thought and let me know in comments where you stand. Are those Nokia apps invaluable to you or do you think you can live without them?

Daniel Rubino
Editor-in-chief

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

296 Comments
  • I mean now that Microsoft bought Nokia, I think the Nokia collection should be available across all devices...
  • Ditto
  • The Lumia collection
  • No.
  • I agree. We need some exlusive apps on Nokia. Otherwsie why we'd buy it?
  • At this stage it's in MS' best interest to get as many new people buying ANY brand of WP, not just Lumias.   We can't just have 'lumia as the best WP due to exlusive apps'.  We need a LOT of brand competition happening.  The more brands that come on board with all the top features, the more WP sells.  The more WPs sold, the more people learn about it - the more people it attracts.  Thus market share can grow.  "Otherwsie why we'd buy it?" Speak for yourself but I don't buy Lumias simply for the exlusive apps and I'm sure most people I ask would back me up on that.  I buy a phone based on how it suits my needs and so far I'm happy with the size of my 1520.  I buy it because I like it.  I like its hardware.  I like its excellent camera hardware.  I like its screen.  I like its call quality.  I like Nokia as a company, whereas I don't have so much faith in HTC.  That's why!
  • Not so much exclusive apps, but Microsoft will continue to differentiate themselves through hardware and software advances. OEMs can do the same e.g. HTC's Dot View case.
  • Lumia cyan is out for DP users, just installed it on my 1520.
  • no updates here for my l820 DP India. i guess its release is limited. n how did u get it by unclicking that preview app or regular?
  • According to  http://www.nokia.com/global/support/software-update/wp8-software-update/wp8-availability-in-asia-pacific/ your phone should qualify now.. might just be a matter of rollout. Aritcle on this site says you'll get it with both preview and not.
  • people with l820 have got it in india.. but Dvlpr Preview hvnt got it till now. so may be its msft will rollout for DP which they had stopped before. they hv resumed for 1520. may be a wider release will b ther in near future
  • Jesus...stop spamming every topic with your damn update post. Don't be a troll!
  • True, but presumably - or hopefully? - they did not buy Nokia for this point in time. Therefore, I hope MS keeps developing some NEW exclusives, or timed exclusives. And not just in imaging.
  • Great points. I love the Lumia camera hardware so I won't be switching, but WP needs diversification..it can only help the platform in the long run.
  • Well as someone who has used both Nokia and HTC extensively I can say I waited a loooong time for Nokia to finally release a smartphone with a MS OS. I've been using smartphones since the first one debuted on T-Mobile in August of 2002 - wow I can't believe it's been 12 years now - back when HTC wasn't even a "brand" they made their phones for the carriers. In the case of the first one it was the T-Mobile Pocket PC Phone Edition. And with the exception of the HP 3605 I used from 2004 - 2005 all my Windows Mobile phones were HTC's; the last one being my favorite the HD7. I waited until the spring of 2012 after Nokia had finally released their first WP7 handset in the US to move to Windows Phone. HTC is a good mfg but where they fall short vs a Nokia is in their software implementation i.e. Sense ect. IMO Nokia hardware with WP8.1 software is the perfect marrige of beautiful hardware and a smooth great software experience. The Lumia 1520 I'm now using is the best smartphone I've ever owned. Period.
  • Superb hardware quality, design, hardware features, etc. Neither the Nokia nor the HTC offer is a game changer. Only Here is a game changer and its for all WP's.
  • Why it should not be exclusive. If the OS is used broadly among all manufactures then your experience should be the same across OEM’s What should distinguish phones are the size, shape, spec’s and overall quality
  • 95% of them are camera related specific to lumia cameras and the biggest, app folders, has been made irrelevant. Not a whole lot that can be made available which would be usable besides mix radio.
  • I'm not sure about that 95% remark there... Camera Specific (Image Taking) - Nokia Cinemagraph, Nokia Pocket Magnifier (though this isn't a capture program, it does require the camera) Image Editing - Nokia Refocus, Nokia Glam Me Image Sharing - Nokia Storyteller, Nokia Creative Studio, Nokia Video Trimmer, Nokia Video Upload, Photobeamer, Nokia Beamer Music and NFC - MixRadio, TreasureTag, Nokia Play To, Nokia Car App So, the editing apps would be nice, but honestly, just bring me MixRadio and Play To and I am a Happy Camper!
  • Doesn't Nokia still own it's software, not Microsoft? Microsoft owns the mobile and hardware division I believe, so the software is still held by Nokia. Correct me if I'm wrong.
  • No, Microsoft owns the stuff in the Nokia Collection. HERE services are non-Microsoft.
  • How is the colour accuracy of the HTC screen?  I have found just about all mobile phones I've used do not have good colour balance out of the gate... either too warm or too cool.  The Lumia color profile really rescues all of my lumias so the screen is bearable.  As a photo nerd, this is actually one of the most important lumia features to me.  Since you say that MS owns all the nokia stuff now, is there any chance that the Lumia color profile has made it to non-lumia devices? 
  • Stick with Lumia to keep Nokia Camera
  • Or switch and use ProShot
  • Seriously?
  • Yes!  I have both and I actually like ProShot much better.
  • When can I use the camera button to launch pro shot?
  • In a future update.  Not a big deal...
  • When Microsoft allows them.
  • It's being worked on.
  • Yeah, ProShot is an awesome app. I use it over Nokia Camera pretty much all the time.
  • Exactly, personally I wouldn't miss a single app in that list.
  • It's good to have choice. But for me, Nokia camera does it all. ProShot is not for me.
  • And other OEMs exclusive apps stay with them? No.
  • HTC has the best selfie \ Skype camera. So yes you could be buying it if you want the best camera around.
  • Idk what you're smoking. The best camera around? It's just a 5 megapixel ffc. Nothing special lol
  • Lumia 1020 has 1.2mp on the front. So it is something special...it's about time we have a good camera on the front..
  • It also has a 41 megapixel camera in the back to the HTC 4.....again nothing special. Try again lol. Enjoy your front facing speakers. At least you have that. Hahaha
  • Obviously you don't do much Skyping. 1.2 is garbage. That's what most phones have on the front and the quality is horrible.
  • Indeed, i have the HTC 8X with a 2.1 mp ffc and it is way clearer than a 1.2 mp on a lumia (I use Skype alot on my phone).
  • If the m8 comes to t-mobile I'll get it because of 5mp ffc, SD slot, and RF remote. Three things my 1020 doesn't have.
  • You're in luck: https://explore.t-mobile.com/htc-one-m8-windows-phone?cmpid=SOC_SM_Q314H... No idea when it'll be available, but it is coming.
  • skypes clarity is bad even on my 25mbps wifi and my 3G
  • It's probably your camera.
  • You Skype with the back camera? That's bold.