Detailing a partnership that was made public today, Finnish company Nokia revealed that its HERE division will provide maps to Chinese Internet services provider Baidu to use outside of its home market.
Normally, such an announcement would hardly garner any attention. However, it makes Baidu the first Chinese company that will offer location-based services to Chinese residents who are traveling abroad. That's a big deal. And Nokia is at the center of it.
For Nokia to get any real traction with HERE outside of Windows Phone and its former brands, the Finnish company must make its app available to as many potential new users as possible. And that means offering it on the biggest mobile app stores around today -- Apple App Store and Google Play.
Today, Nokia is taking a step in the right direction by making HERE for Android available on Google Play. The app's availability on the largest Android app store comes more than three months after the initial launch, for Galaxy smartphones. HERE still sports the beta label, but continues to offer the same lovely features we have come to expect from it.
What is Nokia doing after ditching phone-making? The Finnish company is focusing its efforts on more lucrative endeavors, like HERE. Even though nowadays the brand is mostly associated with Windows Phone, Nokia also brought its well-known mapping software to Android and ramped up its efforts to make the web version more attractive as well.
The result of the company's work to improve the online version of HERE is said to be "a better, faster and stronger here.com", which packs some interesting, value-adding new features. However, there is also something in store (no pun intended) for Windows Phone users, in the form of an update which is available for HERE apps on the platform.
Microsoft purchased Nokia, in part, earlier this year and has now begun the slow process of making it their own. New phones are being rebranded, which is not particularly surprising. Though, parterning with Opera (yes, the browser maker) is bit of a shock.
However, today the Norwegian company announced a deal with the software giant to begin powering the app store on certain models of handsets.
After Nokia sold its Devices and Services division to Microsoft, you might not have expected to see any great new mobile products coming from the Finnish firm, but you’d be wrong.
Today at the Slush conference in Helsinki, Nokia took the wraps off a new Android tablet -- the N1.
When Microsoft announced the Lumia Denim firmware in early-September alongside Lumia 830, Lumia 735 and Lumia 730, the software giant said that it will be rolled out in a future update for existing Lumia Windows Phone 8 handsets, running lesser versions, in Q4 2014. But, as we are in the middle of the last quarter of the year, Lumia Denim has yet to make its way to most compatible Lumia handsets.
While there is still time for Microsoft to commence the much-awaited roll out, it looks like the software giant will only give Lumia Denim to most of its Windows Phone 8 customers in early 2015, according to UK mobile operator O2.
Over the weekend I started to seriously review my photos from Comic-Con 2014. Goddamn, there are some good ones—each and every one taken with Nokia Lumia Icon, which is essentially identical to the 930 model reviewed by colleague Mark Wilson. He panned the device because of Windows Phone 8.1; I'm in love because of the camera. But sometimes love is lost, and regretted. My sister has the Icon now.
I lug around iPhone 6, which camera by every measure that matters to me is inferior but one—startup shooting speed. Apple's shooter can't compete with the Icon. Fanboys will disagree, but, hey, they always will. The difference isn't fewer megapixels—eight compared to 20—but the intelligence and usability baked into camera and editing apps, lens, sensor, and choices the device makes when auto-shooting.
Let's face it, Nokia has seen better days. The Finnish company, which was once head, shoulders and knees above the competition in the mobile arena, has seen its market share dissipate over the last decade or so, and its once all-conquering mobile business is now firmly within the clutches of tech superpower Microsoft.
However, I'll bet most of you didn't know that Nokia is actually far older than most of the giants that have swarmed all over its old territory. The company was around long before anyone had even dreamt up the concept of the mobile phone. The present day firm's origins can be traced all the way back to the 1800s -- seriously.
Since taking control of Nokia's Devices & Services business in April, Microsoft has introduced a couple of important new Windows Phones. We have the replacement of the popular entry-level Lumia 520, called Lumia 530, and the much-awaited successor of two year-old mid-ranger Lumia 820, dubbed Lumia 830, as well as two in-between offerings, Lumia 730 and Lumia 735.
Under Microsoft's leadership, there appears to be something fresh for everyone looking to be part of the Windows Phone world, except up-to-date versions of Lumia 1320 and Lumia 1520 phablets. And, next week, we will see the software giant unveiling yet another Lumia Windows Phone, this time, perhaps, even featuring its own branding, instead of Nokia's.
A lot of wearable devices have accompanying smartphones. The Apple Watch has the iPhone 6, Galaxy Gear ties in with a number of Samsung Galaxy handsets, while the Motorola Moto 360 marries happily to just about any Android phone. Falling into the same works-with-anything camp is the recently announced Microsoft Band.
With a newly launched wearable, you'd think Microsoft would be keen to push it as much as possible. So when the company decided to bundle a wrist-worn device with the new Lumia 830, which do you think it opted for. Yeah... the Fitbit Flex...
Microsoft officially announced today that the Nokia branding will not be used in conjunction with its future Windows Phones. The software giant will sell its upcoming smartphones as Microsoft Lumias. However, it will continue to make use of Nokia's name for dumb phones.
The tech media may act surprised, but, in fact, we have known that this was bound to happen for more than a year. In early-September 2013, when the sale of Nokia's Devices & Services to Microsoft was announced, the terms revealed that the software giant would eventually have to drop the Nokia branding.
HERE's upcoming availability for Samsung Galaxy smartphones was announced in late-August, and, at first, it appeared to be an exclusive launch. But, shortly after, Nokia's arm revealed that the app would actually be made available for every compatible Android smartphone "later this year".
HERE launched in beta for Samsung Galaxy smartphones only two weeks ago. For a first public release, the amount of features available is rather impressive, even for someone like me who is used to the fully-featured HERE suite on Windows Phone. And, now, everyone with an Android smartphone running any of the three Jelly Bean iterations or newer can also test what HERE has to offer (as long as the device has 1 GB of RAM or more), as the app's availability is extending beyond Galaxy smartphones.
Today, Nokia officially brings HERE to Samsung Galaxy smartphones, expanding the reach of its powerful mapping software outside of Windows Phones and handsets that bear the Nokia branding. For the time being, the app is exclusively available in the South Korean maker's app store for Galaxy devices, but, later, it will make its way to other Android smartphones as well.
The HERE app may currently be labeled as a beta, but it does not skimp on features. It arrives with pretty much all the major features that Windows Phone users are enjoying from the HERE suite, which says a lot about Nokia's plans post-Lumia. Let's take a look.
While traveling, my smartphone's always running out of juice sooner than it normally does. This leads to some frustrating moments, like being unable to make calls, open a map or send texts, not to mention having to watch the percentage indicator. Not knowing where someone is, for instance, is never great news in such situations. I know I could use an external battery charger, but I tend to avoid them, and for good reasons.
They generally tend to be bulky, ugly, and almost fragile. Getting the impression that what can only be regarded as a tool is flimsy is not confidence-inspiring -- if it breaks, it's going to be a problem. Microsoft's new Portable Power appears to be different, however. And why wouldn't it be, when it has some Nokia DNA in it?
Nokia Lumia 830 is meant to act as a gap-filler in Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 line, slotting in-between the Lumia 930 flagship and the Lumia 735 budget-friendly offering. It's a mid-ranger, in both hardware features and price. It is also the successor to the two year-old Lumia 820, as its name implies.
Microsoft has high hopes for Lumia 830, calling it "the first affordable flagship" and marketing it as cheaper alternative to the likes of Apple iPhone 5s and Samsung Galaxy S5. It's a strategy which could pay off in emerging markets, where consumers want premium devices but cannot afford the cost premiums. We will have to see how the market reacts to Lumia 830, which goes on sale starting this week.