Microsoft has signed a deal with Opera Software for all Nokia feature phones to use the Opera Mobile Store as the default app storefront, in place of Nokia Store.
Nokia X smartphones, which run a version of Android, along with Nokia Asha devices and feature phones running the Symbian, Series 40 and Series 60 operating systems, will make the switch during the first quarter of next year.
Once the transition is made, Microsoft plans to close the Nokia Store, meaning users of more basic Nokia devices will only have access to the Opera Mobile Store, which provides access to nearly 300,000 titles.
Rich Bernardo, VP for Phones at Microsoft, said that as the company continues to sell and support “classic” Nokia devices, the partnership with Opera will allow it to “provide a reliable app store experience for consumers and developers alike.”
Once the transition is complete, Opera claims it will be the third largest app store in terms of downloads. Opera Mobile Store supports more than 7,500 different devices and is supplied by more than 40,000 developers.
The shift from the Nokia Store comes despite Microsoft having the rights to use Nokia branding on its feature phones for a 10-year period, following its acquisition of the Finnish company’s Device & Services business earlier this year.
Microsoft recently launched the Lumia 535 (pictured), its first smartphone to feature its own branding as it moves to phase out the Nokia name for its higher-end devices.