Mike Isaac

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Can a Slew of New Windows Phone Apps Make Up for the Lack of Instagram?

At Nokia’s latest device debut on Thursday, the Finnish mobile giant announced that Flipboard, the “social magazine” reading app, will soon be headed to Windows Phone devices.

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop did not specify a date for the app’s launch on Windows Phone, which was announced in conjunction with the launch of the Lumia 1020, Nokia’s latest smartphone.

This is something of an extension of an announcement Microsoft and Flipboard made back in June, when the companies said that Flipboard would soon come to Windows 8 devices on the whole, later in the year. Microsoft especially pushed Flipboard on the Surface, Redmond’s home-brewed tablet.

Hooking up with the news aggregation and content discovery app is a smart move for Windows Phone, an operating system that has seen relatively little traction compared to Android and iOS, obviously the two dominant players in the mobile field. At last count, Flipboard had upward of 50 million regular users, and continues to grow.

It’s the same story with Vine, Twitter’s fast-growing six-second video-sharing app for smartphones. Twitter confirmed to AllThingsD that Vine will soon come to Windows Phone.

That’s also important because Elop made no mention of Instagram, the massively popular Facebook-owned video- and photo-sharing app, which has ballooned to more than 130 million monthly active users in just under three years. (Instagram CEO Kevin Systrom also gave no indication that the company planned a Windows Phone version in the near term.)

It’s a big deficiency, especially for what has basically become an essential social app on smartphones, akin to the likes of Facebook or Twitter.

Hopefully for Microsoft and Nokia, users will be content with the inclusion of photo-sharing service Hipstamatic, the app that Elop said would soon come to Windows Phone. While it’s no Instagram, users can export their photos to other services using the app, like Facebook, Twitter and, yes, Instagram.

Path, the private social network, will also launch on Windows Phone soon, Nokia announced — another service that lets readers export content to other social networks, namely Twitter, Tumblr, Facebook and Foursquare.

Will a handful of other apps make up for a dearth of a major one like Instagram? I’m not sure. But I’ll let the Windows Phone sales numbers do the talking.

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Another gadget you don’t really need. Will not work once you get it home. New model out in 4 weeks. Battery life is too short to be of any use.

— From the fact sheet for a fake product entitled Useless Plasticbox 1.2 (an actual empty plastic box) placed in L.A.-area Best Buy stores by an artist called Plastic Jesus