What do you get when you combine Windows Phone on Nokia Lumia smartphones, near field communications (NFC), and your choice of premium coffee or tea? If you are Integrated Computer Solutions, Inc (ICS), a long-time Nokia developer, you get the NFC-enabled The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf® app.
The Coffee Bean app uses NFC to empower consumers to create, touch, tap and share their favourite custom drinks—and find their way to local stores. Users can create a custom drink, then touch, tap and share the drink they have customized with their friends. The app’s NFC capability also lets one person collect several drink orders from a group of people, then locate the nearest store and place the group order at the store.
ICS, based in Bedford, Mass., provides mobile app design and custom development services, specializing in the delivery of embedded and mobile devices with engaging user experiences (UX). Its new app, the official Windows Phone app for The Coffee Bean, lets users of Nokia Lumia Windows Phone devices browse, view, locate, search, map, and customize drinks. Users can also share information with other coffee and tea drinkers, read The Coffee Bean’s Twitter and Facebook messages, find The Coffee Bean stores with various amenities (including Wi-Fi, wireless charging, and catering), create in-store music playlists, and learn about seasonal drinks and other products.
The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf is a privately held coffee and tea retailer born in Southern California. It operates specialty coffee and tea shops in 12 U.S. states, Washington D.C. and 27 countries, including Korea, Turkey, and Vietnam.
Nokia’s partner management team was instrumental to the app’s development, says David Jacobs, Project Manager at ICS. Nokia helped ICS set client expectations and deliverables, he explains, and also provided helpful developer tools. Adds Patrick Yi, Nokia’s global consultancy partner manager, ‘It was great to work with such a talented team at ICS, who were able to bring this app to life. ICS successfully captured key differentiators, such as NFC, to make this app and Lumia devices stand out.’
The development team used the Nokia Music library, Windows Phone toolkit, and MvvmLight Library. ‘The methodologies and technologies used by our UX designers and application developers allowed them to collaborate and take advantage of Windows to leverage and build this application with relative ease’, Jacobs says.
ICS developers say they were especially happy to use the App2App protocol in Windows Phone 8. ‘This protocol enabled us to take advantage of the features of other apps, such as Nokia Drive and Nokia Music’, he explains. ‘We used App2App to launch Nokia Music on a Nokia device to display The Coffee Bean Mix, as well as a Nokia Drive navigation feature. The application uses the current location finder to display the closest stores.’ Min Hsieh-Fraser, partner manager for The Coffee Bean at Nokia, adds, ‘We set out to deliver a high-quality app with a simple user journey and a clean interface. With the help of design and programming experts at ICS, we delivered just that.’
The Coffee Bean app shares the same code for both Windows Phone 7 and Windows Phone 8 devices, but can take advantage of Windows Phone 8′s new capabilities. These include NFC, Nokia Maps, Nokia Music, and live updates on touch-responsive Start screen tiles. A beta version of The Coffee Bean app was offered in late 2012, at the same time Nokia and CBTL announced a deal to offer wireless charging in the coffee chain’s U.S. stores.
Early reviews of the app on the Windows Phone Store have been overwhelmingly positive. ‘Perfect app, does what it says, works great’, says one. ‘This app is amazing! Very nicely done!’ says another. ‘Very beautiful with clean design’, says a third.
Check out The Coffee Bean and Tea Leaf app on Windows Phone Store.