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Nokia loses sales lure as Maps and Music apps cracked

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If Nokia is banking on its Music and Maps software will give it an edge over other Phone 7 handsets, it’s in trouble – the copy protection behind the code has been cracked.

Handsets such as the new Lumia 800 are being billed as the only way to access Nokia’s extensive maps database or music playing system. However, both have now been cracked and can be installed on hardware that didn’t come from the Finnish phone craftsmen.

Earlier this week, the XAP file needed to install and run Nokia Maps was leaked online, and now the same files are available for the Music service. One of the people responsible for the leak has even posted video of the application working just fine on an HTC handset.

Of course, a certain amount of technical knowledge is needed to install and run the XAP files, not least the ability to jailbreak the handset to accept unsigned applications. This jailbreaking has always been possible with a Phone 7 developers account, costing $99 a year. But with Microsoft’s decision to support a “hobbyists’ jailbreak" from ChevronWP7 for just nine dollars, the doors are now open for everyone with an interest to start adding unauthorized software.

Nokia has invested significantly in the research and development of its mapping and music software, and has been promoting it heavily as a selling point for its handsets. The Finns no doubt hope that the installation process will prove too taxing for consumers, but it’s clear that for savvy handset users, they have just lost an exclusive selling point. ®

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