Nokia is warning owners of the Lumia 2520 tablet that they should stop using the European and UK versions of the AC-300 charger. The warning affects customers in Austria, Denmark, Finland, Germany, Russia, Switzerland and UK, with tablets owners being warned to "suspend use of the charger until further notice". At the moment there is no word on whether or not a full recall will be made, but the problem also affects the Lumia 2520 travel charger that was available in those countries and the US.
Unlike other charger problems that have emerged in recent times, Nokia's warning does not relate to an overheating issue, but the risk of electric shock. This time it has been determined that in "certain conditions" -- which Nokia does not specify -- the charger's plastic cover could work loose and come off, exposing internal components that "pose a hazard of an electric shock if touched while the plug remains in a live socket".
Now that Windows Phone 8.1 is official, Finnish maker Nokia just announced three new Lumias rocking the new tiled smartphone operating system. The Lumia 930 acts as the company's new flagship, while the Lumia 630 and Lumia 635 are its low-end offerings.
The Lumia 930 is the natural successor to the Lumia 920 and Lumia 925, strongly resembling the Verizon-exclusive Lumia 929 in both specifications and appearance. The Lumia 635 is the successor to the Lumia 625, with the Lumia 630 introducing dual-SIM support into the mix, a first for the platform.
Nokia has launched a new Windows Phone 8 app aimed at the visually impaired. The offering, called Pocket Magnifier, was developed in collaboration with the UK Royal National Institute of Blind People, and is available exclusively for the Finnish maker's Lumia lineup.
As the name implies, Pocket Magnifier works like a digital magnifier glass that folks can point at various items for magnification. The app has a couple of features that are meant to augment this functionality, so let us take a look at them.
When the sale of Nokia's Devices & Services, the company's phone-making arm, to Microsoft was announced in September last year, the process was expected to complete by the end of Q1 2014. As the initial deadline is rapidly approaching, the Finnish manufacturer reveals the software giant will have to wait a little more to get control of the business.
"Nokia today announced that it now expects the transaction whereby the company will sell substantially all of its Devices & Services business and license its patents to Microsoft to close in April 2014", says Nokia. "This compares with Nokia's previous expectation on the transaction closing in the first quarter of 2014, which Nokia communicated when the company first announced the transaction on September 3, 2013. Nokia and Microsoft remain committed to the transaction".
Refocus is one of Nokia's exclusive photography apps for PureView-branded Windows Phone 8 Lumias. Its party trick is shifting the focus point to a different location or showing everything in focus, after snapping the photo. Refocus is akin to the Lytro camera, albeit at a lesser scale.
Like Nokia Camera, which has also launched with a similar availability, Refocus has broken the flagship bond and is now available for the Finnish maker's entire Windows Phone 8 lineup. This opens up the app to much more popular handsets, like the Lumia 520, which make up the bulk of Nokia's Windows Phone sales. The reason for the change is customer feedback.
Qi is one of the most popular wireless charging standards, used by many companies in devices like chargers, speakers, smartphones and tablets. It adds convenience to such products, giving users the option to top up the battery on their handsets without plugging cables into them. I personally use a Qi wireless charger, made by Nokia, with my Lumia 920 and Google Nexus 7.
One of the hurdles Qi has to overcome to become more popular and attractive to consumers is mass-market support from key players, like smartphone vendors and mobile operators, which can dictate which standard they embrace. Qi appears to be on the right track, as it just added Microsoft and Samsung to its growing list of supporters.
It's been a busy week for Microsoft -- and not necessarily for the reasons the company might have expected. For anyone unwilling to wait until April to receive Windows 8.1 Update, a few methods emerged that made it possible to grab a copy of the eagerly awaited update ahead of the official launch. While some of these options appear to have been stopped in their tracks, where there's a will there's a way, and numerous users -- my good self included -- jumped on the downloads as soon as possible. Some were impressed while others -- yep, me again! -- were not. Perhaps it is little wonder that Windows XP usage continues to grow faster than that of Windows 8.x. This lead to analysts suggesting that the decline of the PC will be slowed rather than avoided by the continued popularity of XP.
Windows 8.1 Update wasn't that only Microsoft download that was on the agenda this week. Brian had details of how Windows RT users can update their copies of Office 2013 to SP1. At the top of Microsoft, a quick reshuffle saw a change of faces in a number of key positions as well as the departure of some well-known characters. Skype rolled out to Outlook.com around the world and gained HD video calling as well. It is normally Microsoft that is to be found on the giving-end of a smeary advertising campaign (hello, Scroogled), but after the Oscars it was Nokia poking fun at Ellen DeGeneres' blurry selfie that was taken on a Samsung device.
Ellen DeGeneres' Samsung Galaxy Note 3 made waves at the Academy Awards after being used to snap an on-stage selfie and a group shot. Both quickly became hugely popular photos taken at the event, and target practice for the South Korean maker's rivals.
Nokia was first to take a stab at Samsung for the terrible quality of DeGeneres' selfie, implying she should have used one of its smartphones instead. The photo posted by the star even had the #blurry hashtag added on Twitter to make up for what was basically a missed shot. Not to miss this opportunity (to be unoriginal), Lenovo and LG also took to Twitter to convince us that their smartphones would have fared better than Samsung's phablet.
When Nokia officially unveiled its X smartphones it was clear the Finnish company intended its new Android lineup to look similar to Lumia Windows Phones. The internals may be on the low-end side, but the hardware design looks just as premium, undoubtedly aided by the funky colors, and the software... well, the homescreen interface resembles the Windows Phone tiles, which is the dead giveaway as far as this writer can tell.
Some may rightfully point out that X smartphones are superior to Lumias in one major area -- apps. Courtesy of the mature Android ecosystem, Nokia's droids are compatible with hundreds of thousands of offerings, which is more than Windows Phone can tout. It would make sense for Nokia to encourage developers to make their apps more like those on Windows Phone to warm repeat customers to the idea of upgrading to one of its higher-end smartphones, which run Microsoft's tiled operating system. But, Nokia has other plans.
Samsung's Galaxy Note 3 was the tech star of this year's Academy Awards, as the phablet was used by both Bradley Cooper and Ellen DeGeneres to snap two of the most popular pics at the event. Ironically, both photos are blurry (and, might I add, appear to be part of heavily staged acts).
Quick to take advantage of the free publicity, arch rival Nokia has subtly taken a stab at Samsung for the terrible quality of one of the photos, namely DeGeneres' selfie on the stage.
Webcam porn! Spying! Cell phones! Bitcoin controversy! Just another normal week in the world of tech news! Bitcoin exchange Mt Gox disappeared offline amid concern about missing millions and then filed for bankruptcy. After panic spread through Mac users following the discovery of a serious SSL bug in Mavericks, Apple released an update that plugged the hole -- but it was also discovered that iOS 7 has a keylogging vulnerability. Microsoft released Service Pack 1 for Office 2013, but anyone using Office 365 will need to force the installation of newer updates in order to reap the benefits.
Security updates are all well and good for operating systems and applications, but it will do little to protect you against the wandering eyes of government agencies. As if everything we have already learned about the activities of the NSA et al, this week's revelations about what the UK's GCHQ has been getting up to is sure to raise ire. Not content with logging emails and web searches, the UK intelligence agency apparently spent a number of years tapping into the webcam chats of millions of Yahoo users. There may be little good news in this revelation, but it was at least slightly amusing to find that the surveillers were rather taken aback by the amount of pornographic content they encountered. It makes ya proud!
Earlier this week, Nokia announced a line of Android-based smartphones with a combination of Nokia/Microsoft services replacing Google services. While some industry observers were quick to praise this move, there are many unknowns about the goal of this strategy.
In my opinion, Microsoft is following one or more of four possible game plans.
While Microsoft may not be thrilled with Nokia's new foray into the Android field, the company's exploration of the Google mobile platform proves an interesting test of the market. However, the software giant stoically continues to offer its services to rival operating systems, and Nokia X will not be any different.
On the heels of today's event at Mobile World Congress, in which the Finnish handset maker unveiled new Android phones, Microsoft was quick to announce it would support the offering with Skype.
Today, at MWC 2014, Nokia was expected to break away from its Windows Phone exclusivity and introduce an Android smartphone called X. But, the Finnish company just took the wraps off three handsets under the same umbrella, called X, X+ and XL.
According to Nokia, the X smartphones slot between its low-end Ashas and high-end Windows Phones, with prices to kick off at €89 for the entry-level model. The beefier X+ and XL will cost €99 and €109, respectively. Is there something you should get excited about?
The Nokia Lumia Icon is an interesting smartphone, and an interesting Windows Phone alike. It offers Qualcomm's top-of-the-line processor, plenty of internal storage, a good camera and a 1080p display, all in an attractive package. But it is not available for your carrier, unless it is called Verizon. Hey, you know Nokia, the company loves exclusives.
Microsoft's and Verizon's stores now carry the Lumia Icon, just a week after it was officially unveiled (but we knew the details long before the announcement). The smartphone can be had, in either black or white, for the usual, flagship-price of $199.99 when purchased on a two-year contract. It can also be had with a month-to-month contract, for $549.99, or an Edge plan, for $23.06 per month.