Update: We just got off the phone with Foursquare VP of mobile and partnerships Holger Luedorf, who clarified a few things.
First, Nokia will not actually pre-load Foursquare onto its phones by default — not yet, at least. Someday, maybe, but not now. So it looks like Foursquare cofounder Naveen Selvadurai was getting a little ahead of the game when he reportedly announced a pre-loading deal this morning.
For now, Nokia will simply include the Foursquare app in its Ovi app store — like every other app — and may feature it. So, big difference. And while this is good for Foursquare, it’s not nearly as good as if the app were to be pre-installed by default. Luedorf does promise “more exciting things to follow” regarding Foursquare’s relationship with Nokia.
Second, Nokia itself didn’t build the app, but neither did Foursquare — a third party Symbian developer helped out. But it’s “essentially a Foursquare owned app,” Luedorf says.
While we give Nokia a hard time for falling down in the smartphone industry, this is a big deal for Foursquare.
If Foursquare has a chance of succeeding in the wake of Facebook Places and other copycat services, it needs to sign up as many users as possible. So any deals to give it distribution on handsets or carrier portals (“decks”), which can provide a firehose of new users, are great for Foursquare.
Indeed, that’s why the company recently hired Holger Luedorf, a Yahoo vet, as VP of mobile and partnerships. Expect to hear more deals like this from Foursquare sooner than later.
We assume Foursquare is not paying for the placement, and Nokia may even be helping Foursquare out — that’s how many of these deals work these days. We’ve asked Foursquare for more information, and will update if they respond.
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