Posts with tag nokia
Things are getting pretty bad
Honestly, it’s not like things haven’t been bad for Microsoft on the mobile front since around the time Apple launched the iPhone in 2006, but frankly things are looking even worse than ever for the behemoth mobile software developer today. The IDC has reported on this quarter’s smartphone sales, revealing that sales of Windows Phone 8 devices (ie. Nokias) have seen a sharp decline from 11.9% to a measly 2.5% – a drop worse than even Microsoft might have imagined.
As if to prove just how bad things have gotten for the platform, OEM support for Windows Phone has thus far diminished to just about one – Nokia, which Microsoft acquired earlier this year in order to keep the Windows Phone devices coming. Prior to the acquisition, Nokia had been working on a line of new Android devices and was in talks to drop the Windows Phone options entirely, which would have all but diminished Windows Phone’s presence in the marketplace. Though Microsoft managed to stop that disaster from happening, Nokia did release their first line of Android devices before the acquisition was announced, Microsoft recently killed that line in favor of lower priced Windows Phone devices.
Microsoft is preparing to launch a new line of Lumia smartphones earlier September, with initial reports suggesting that there are two models incoming – a midrange Lumia “Selfie” phone with a 5 megapixel front facing camera, and a new Lumia device wrapped in an all aluminum body. The company has already sent out invitations for the event where these phones are rumored to launch.
All that said, it really is just a simple question at this point – have things been too bad for too long for the company? Or, in other terms, is it too late for Windows Phone? It’s nearly been 4 years since the Windows Phone platform launched at this point, replacing the archaic but long lasting Windows Mobile one which was almost instantly obsoleted by iOS and Android. Microsoft hasn’t really had much luck since that point, and there has to be a point where it would make more sense to just give in the towel – maybe this is it?
Unless, of course, you’re Microsoft, and you’ve got a selfie phone coming.
September looks to be a busy month
The progression of the Lumia line has kind of slowed since Microsoft completed their purchase of Nokia’s mobile phone division a couple of months ago, but all at once the blockade is breaking. Just a few short days after announcing the company’s second generation Android smartphone, the Nokia X2, and then promptly killing the Android program all together – Microsoft has officially announced that they’ll be holding their first Lumia Special Event on September 4th in Berlin, Germany. While the invitation never says the word “Lumia” directly – for all we know, Microsoft could actually be killing the Lumia name in favor of something a little more Surface-y – it does invite us to join Microsoft for some “face time” with a nice photo of a Nokia’s PureView camera like the one found on the Lumia 1020.
According to recent rumors, the phones slated to make an appearance are the Lumia 730 and the Lumia 830. Both are slated to be fairly midrange phones, with the 730 rumored to be coming with an impressive 5.1 megapixel front facing camera, all the better for taking selfies. The 830 will feature an all aluminum build similar to the Lumia 925, but with fairly midrange internal specifications and a PureView branded camera.
Whatever Microsoft is so excited to talk about on September 4th, we’ll be sure to keep you up to date on the latest news regarding Microsoft’s upcoming first Lumia Special Event.
It seems as if the Nokia X was so popular that it demanded a new version – and here it is, the Nokia X2. While still aimed at the low-end, off-contract market, the X2 has been vastly upgraded and improves just about everything that was present in the Nokia X.
While the X2 still comes with a custom fork of Android that isn’t Play-certified, the hardware has been massively upgraded and even trumps the low-end Windows Phone market. Specs-wise, you get a dual-core 1.2GHz Snapdragon 200, 1GB of RAM, 4GB of storage, a 5-megapixel camera with flash, a front facing camera and even a MicroSD card slot that supports up to 32GB cards.
On the software side of things, the Metro-esque custom launcher comes with a few improvements like an apps list similar to that of Windows Phone, new screens, and the ability to set the color of the tiles pinned to your Start Screen, also a feature straight out of Windows Phone. Pre-loaded apps include Skype, Outlook and OneDrive with a generous 15GB of online storage (though this was given to every non-paying OneDrive user recently). And being Android, apps aren’t a worry even if it’s not Play-certified.
As mentioned before, the device will sell for about $135 and will be available immediately in “select countries”. As ever, they come in a wide variety of colors; green, orange and black are the launch colors and they’ll later introduce yellow, white and grey colors.
Microsoft now controls the OS and the hardware
If there’s one thing Microsoft has always been good at, its developing software and partnering with hardware manufacturers to get that software out into the world. But starting today, Microsoft has turned into a big player of both the hardware and the software. That’s right, after over half a year of waiting and waiting for the right government approval, Microsoft has officially acquired Nokia’s devices and services unit.
The deal, which was originally announced in September of 2013 and cost Microsoft $7.2 billion, puts the software giant firmly in control of nearly the entire Windows Phone ecosystem, from end to end. Nokia had been Microsoft’s biggest Windows Phone supporter, however the company began to accelerate a deal that would merge the two companies when it became public knowledge that Nokia was heavily considering switching to Android – a consideration that eventually turned somewhat to reality with the announcement of the Nokia X and XL last month.
Under the acquisition, Microsoft will be allowed to use the “Nokia” name on feature phones until December 31st, 2015. However, any new smartphones by the former Nokia team will be released under the Microsoft brand. It remains to be seen on whether or not Microsoft is planning on using the Lumia branding with upcoming Windows Phone devices, however a rumor a while back indicated that Microsoft could be considering switching to the Surface brand for all smartphone models going forwards.
The rumour mill is full of speculation that the announcement will be unveiling the successor to the current generation of Lumia hardware – namely, the Lumia 930 and the Lumia 630. It’s probably no surprise this is happening so close together (and on the //BUILD/ floor, no less) given that Microsoft basically owns Nokia now.
According to speculation, Microsoft will be announcing Windows Phone 8.1 on Day 1 of //BUILD/ and Nokia will be holding their event on the same day, but at 5 PM. What else do we know? Nothing much, so we’ll just have to wait. We’ll be covering the events of //BUILD/ Day 1 as they happen.
Good marketing or desperation?
Oh, guys. What are you doing. Just minutes after Samsung announced their newest flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S5, competitors HTC and Nokia have begun throwing some pot shots towards their #1 competitor on Twitter. Both companies are pushing unsurprisingly “anti” Galaxy S5 messages, with the HTC tweet going so far as even suggesting Galaxy S5 owners will be getting a dose of “buyer’s remorse.”
Meanwhile, Nokia is going a more innocent, but no less snarky route, posting a banner showing a photo of a new Windows Phone based Lumia phone with the line “Not the Samsung ;)” next to it (yes, smiley face and all). Unfortunately for both HTC and Nokia, however, history is suggesting that Samsung is likely to sell a whole bunch more Galaxy S5 phones than HTC and Nokia will sell any of their phones, so it’s unclear who will get the last laugh.
A phablet by any other name
Not only has Nokia announced the Android smartphone we’ve all been expecting with the Nokia X lineup of smartphones, it has also announced a new Nokia XL device – also running Android – that features a large 5″ display running the same customized version of Android as the Nokia X.
The Nokia XL comes with a free one month subscription to Skype’s unlimited world subscription, as well as 10GB of free cloud storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive service. The Nokia XL will be available in Q2 2014 for 109 euros ($150), compared to 89 euros for the Nokia X and 99 euros for the Nokia X+.
For the low end
As expected, Nokia has today at MWC 2014 announced the company’s first – and likely only – family of Android smartphones, the Nokia X and the Nokia X+. Previously codenamed “Normandy”, the Nokia X family runs a highly customized version of Android that fuses compatibility with existing Android applications alongside a wide suite of Microsoft services and a live tile user interface that should be familiar with users of Windows Phone and Lumia devices.
Both the Nokia X and Nokia X+ feature a 4″ smartphone, come in a wide array of bright colors, will feature a unique Nokia X specific application store, support APK side loading, and will be focused on the emerging and low end markets.
The Nokia X’s version of Android features live tile support, home screen customization, as well as folders and widgets – the former that has only just been integrated in the Windows Phone ecosystem by Nokia themselves in the Lumia lineup, and the latter that has yet to exist in Windows Phone at all. Nokia has also added their iconic “Glance” functionality which allows you to check the time and notifications without activating their phone’s screen, as well as a new service called “Fastlane” that allows users to check out the latest bits of relevant information and launch recently used applications.
The Nokia X and Nokia X+ comes with a free one month subscription to Skype’s unlimited world subscription, as well as 10GB of free cloud storage on Microsoft’s OneDrive service. The Nokia X will go on sale shortly for 89 euros ($122), and the Nokia X+ will hit shelves for 99 euros ($135) in Q2 2014. Nokia has also announced a larger screen Nokia XL Android smartphone which will also launch in Q2 2014 for 109 euros.
It's almost time
It’s been a while since we’ve heard nary a word regarding Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s smartphone business, but today we’re hearing an update on how that’s are going at last. According to Nokia, the company hopes to have e division sold off to Microsoft and the deal finalized by the end of March at the absolute latest.
Nokia has provided a full statement today regarding the news:
Nokia would like to stress that recent developments in India related to ongoing tax proceedings are not expected to affect the timing of the closing nor the material deal terms of the anticipated transaction between Nokia and Microsoft, announced on September 3, 2013.
The transaction is still expected to close in the first quarter of 2014, subject to regulatory approvals and other customary closing conditions, irrespective of the proceedings in the Indian tax case.
Nokia has just recently announced the Nokia Lumia Icon flagship smartphone for Verizon, bringing a high end Windows Phone smartphone to America’s largest cellular network.
Two birds, one stone
Two stones, one stone – that’s the entire premise of this Xbox Music pass deal. For a limited time, if you buy a $99 one-year subscription for Xbox Music in the Microsoft Store, Microsoft’s willing to throw in a Nokia Lumia 520, totally free of charge. While the Nokia Lumia 520 is a fine, if slightly lackluster smartphone on its own, you might be swayed by the low, low price tag of “free” if you were already in the market for a low end smartphone.
Otherwise? Xbox Music is decent, if slightly underrated, and the Nokia Lumia 520 is undoubtably a low end smartphone meant to appeal to only the most basic of would-be smartphone customers. But if you’re interested, head on over to the Microsoft Store and have at it.
Inching closer to completion
Another day, another leak. What you see in that picture is the UI that Nokia has been building for their Normandy project. As you would imagine, it takes several clues from Windows Phone but – dare I say it – looks nicer than Windows Phone. Under the hood, it still runs Android that isn’t Play certified, so it has no access to any Google’s services hence the inclusion of Nokia’s own services, including Here Maps.
The Verge is reporting that the Normandy will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC, feature a 3-megapixel camera, have 4GB of storage expandable via MicroSD cards and have 512MB of RAM. It’s just more confirmation of what we’ve known all along; this is a really low-end device. The fate of the Normandy has yet to be seen with Microsoft’s looming purchase of Nokia but it looks as if the device is almost ready to ship, especially with hardware units leaking out.
With cool new features
The Black update brings along a new Glance screen, support for Bluetooth 4.0 LE and the Nokia Camera app, although some editing features are limited to 1GB devices and only the 1020 will be allowed to save images in RAW format. Nokia Beamer will also be brought along for the ride for 1GB devices only, and Storyteller is also coming. And then there’s a feature which I certainly didn’t expect – app folders. The Black update gives you the ability to put various apps into folders, much like iOS. This feature appears to be Nokia-specific, so don’t expect it on your HTC 8X or ATIV S.