This past Tuesday, I announced my Microsoft-only experiment. My goal is to only use Microsoft devices for a week -- not easy for a Linux user -- and I have since followed through on that commitment. Armed with only a Surface 2 (Windows RT 8.1), Nokia Lumia 928 and a Windows 8.1 desktop, I managed to make the transition, although it was not all sunshine. More on that later.
As someone who writes a lot, a good keyboard is a must. Believe it or not, the Surface's on screen keyboard is simply brilliant. I can type better on it than the iPad or any Android keyboard. It is very responsive and the auto-correct feature works well. I even find the audio feedback to be oddly pleasing. On Android, I turn off the volume, as I find the clicking sound to be annoying, not here; it actually adds to the experience.
Alongside the new Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 Windows Phone 8 phablets and the Lumia 2520 Windows RT 8.1 slate, Nokia also announces a number of popular apps and games that are set to launch on Microsoft's tiled smartphone operating system.
Undoubtedly, the most popular new title to grace Windows Phone Store is Instagram. The photo-sharing social network will finally launch its offering "in the coming weeks", roughly a year after Microsoft introduced its latest smartphone operating system.
As Microsoft's hardware partners are moving away from Windows RT, Nokia is now embracing the controversial tablet operating system. The Finnish maker has officially unveiled the Lumia 2520, which runs Windows RT 8.1, alongside two new Windows Phone 8 phablets, the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320. It is a rather bold bet seeing as the tablet OS has never been popular with slate buyers, with vendors only shifting 200,000 units in Q2 2013.
Let us take a look at what the Lumia 2520 offers. The Windows RT 8.1-based tablet comes with a 10.1-inch AH-IPS display with a resolution of 1080 by 1920, 665 nits of brightness and Gorilla Glass 2 on top. Like the Lumia 1520, it is powered by a 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and 2 GB of RAM. Inside there is a large 8,000 mAh battery which, according to Nokia, helps deliver up to 11 hours of video playback.
Finnish mobile maker Nokia has taken the wraps off its latest, and largest, Windows Phone 8 devices, called the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320. The smartphones represent the company's entry in the phablet market, which so far has been dominated by Android handsets from Samsung's Galaxy Note series.
Nokia has built the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 around Windows Phone 8 Update 3, that ships with support for 1080p displays and quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors. Both hardware features have been available on Android smartphones but were missing from devices running Microsoft's tiled OS which only supported up to 720p displays and older Snapdragon S4 processors.
With Android handsets and iPhones taking the lion's share of the smartphone market, Windows Phone is quite often overlooked by most consumers in their purchasing decisions. The popularity, or lack thereof, of devices running Microsoft's mobile OS likely plays an important part but it also detracts folks from getting the smartphone that may be right for them. Ask yourselves how many of your acquaintances have been in this position.
Many do not even take Windows Phone into consideration and the ones that do easily find a couple of reasons to dismiss the platform and jump on the Android or iPhone bandwagon. Yes, Windows Phone may not be the right answer for everyone but it might be for more people than naysayers think. And I have got 10 good reasons why consumers should give Windows Phone a chance.
According to a new survey conducted by J.D. Power among US mobile operator subscribers, Apple and Samsung lead the pack on "overall satisfaction performance". The iPhone maker ranks first for AT&T and Verizon customers while Samsung takes the top spot for Sprint and T-Mobile subscribers.
The J.D. Power survey identifies Apple and Samsung as the sole smartphone vendors to rank above the average value on all four counts -- performance, exterior design, features and ease of use. The findings of the survey are based, according to J.D. Power, on the experiences of 16,421 users who are customers of the aforementioned four-largest local mobile operators and have had their current smartphone for less than a year.
Microsoft has officially taken the wraps off Windows Phone 8 Update 3. The latest version of the tiled smartphone OS introduces a number of noteworthy changes, including support for Qualcomm's quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, larger displays with 1080p resolution, extra rows and columns of live tiles on phablets, auto-rotation screen lock and the option to close apps from the multitasking menu.
Aside from the aforementioned good news, Microsoft also revealed that Windows Phone 8 Update 3 is available in preview form to developers and early adopters, ahead of the public roll-out, through the Dev Center and App Studio programs. And here's how you can install it on your Windows Phone 8 handset.
Following the news that Windows Phone 8 Update 3 is available to developers, I updated my Nokia Lumia 920 to the latest version through my App Studio account. My colleague Alan Buckingham went through the changes this release introduces in one of his past stories. As you may known, the latest goodies will make their way to all compatible handsets once the upgrade rolls out to the public over the next couple of months.
Since I could not help myself, I decided to share the most relevant screenshots of Windows Phone 8 Update 3, as it works on my Lumia 920. This release does not include manufacturer-specific enhancements, as it is only an operating system upgrade and not a complete firmware upgrade. For this reason, it probably does not make much sense for most of you to go through the trouble of installing the preview, unless you are an early adopter.
Let me preface this story by saying that, here at BetaNews, we have a policy against discussing rumors. Quite often some "leaked" information, provided by anonymous sources, turns out to be false, and we feel that it is best to report details that we know to be true, based on official sources that can be verified and our experience with various products. That said, I cannot help feeling surprised by what Nokia just revealed in one of its blog posts, after reading the rumor stories floating around the InterWebs.
Prior to any major press event Nokia usually posts a teaser showing a small part of an upcoming product, or a hint at what will be unveiled. This approach is designed to keep people interested, or to pique their interest at least, and add a shroud of mystery. But this time around the Finnish maker has released a full-blown poster which most likely features all the devices that the company will announce in Abu Dhabi, the place where its next big press event will be held.
I am a big fan of thunder and lightning storms. There is nothing else in nature that is simultaneously fun, romantic and scary (depending on the situation and company). However, there is a very serious side to these storms -- death or injury by lightning. Yes, an electrical storm can end your life if you aren't careful.
Nokia does not seem too concerned though, as it announces it has charged a Windows Phone with the power of lightning. The company says, "wireless charging, in and of itself, is pretty darn cool. But imagine if you could charge your phone using lightning! Nokia has been working with the University of Southampton to do just that, and the results are nothing short of brilliant".
Sometime around this day, last year, I wrote an opinion piece that resonated with many of you. It's called "I want nothing to do with iPhone 5". So you may be wondering why I am not writing the same story as I did in 2012, but this time around with a "5s" replacing the "5", from top to bottom. The reason for my apparent insanity is quite simple.
Since writing that piece I've used Android and, most recently, Windows Phone 8 as my daily platform (yes, I'm calling it like that). The user experience has been, to describe it in one word, insightful. Insightful as to how good or bad Android and Windows Phone 8 are compared to anything that Apple released before iOS 7 and insightful as to how one can use different-sized smartphones with different feature sets and different quality standards.
After Microsoft announced that it was acquiring substantially all of Nokia's devices & services business, the stock market painted a fairly accurate picture of what this deal means -- Nokia investors were relieved as the stock surged by nearly 35 percent, while Microsoft investors responded by driving the stock down by 5 percent. Based on my prior experience in technology M&A (Mergers and Acquisitions), I wanted to take a look at the motivations for the transaction and the viability of Microsoft's long-term consumer strategy.
Let's begin by taking a look at the deal terms. Microsoft will be paying Nokia €3.79 billion for its handset division (including 8,500 design patents) and another €1.65 billion in patent licensing. As a part of the deal, Microsoft will gain rights to the Lumia and Asha brands, but Nokia will retain the rights to the "Nokia" brand. However, Microsoft has licensed the "Nokia" brand, exclusively for use on low-end S30/40 feature phones.
A good friend of mine called Microsoft buying Nokia "two stones clinging together trying to stay afloat". I wouldn’t go that far but I don’t think the prognosis is very good. On the other hand, I’m not sure it has to be good for Microsoft to achieve its goals for the merger. Huh?
This is why you come here, right, for my lateral thinking? I don’t think Nokia has to succeed in order for Microsoft to consider the acquisition a success.
Earlier today, Microsoft announced that it is buying Nokia's Devices & Services business and licensing the rights to use the Finnish company's patents, in a deal which will cost the software giant a mere €5.44 billion in cash. Microsoft will pay €3.79 billion for the phone-making arm and another €1.65 billion to take advantage of the patents. Also included in the terms of the arrangement is a separate HERE license, which will give Microsoft the right to use Nokia's mapping services in its products.
Following the announcement, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer sent out an email to the software giant's employees, explaining what the purchase of Nokia's phone-making business entails for Microsoft's corporate structure as well as its future strategy. Ballmer previously revealed that he will retire within a year. Coupled with the latest news, this will undoubtedly further fuel the already heated debate, surrounding his successor.
That's not a bad deal -- far from it, in fact. Nokia is leading the pack on Windows Phone sales, has a broad patent portfolio and a former Microsoft executive -- Stephen Elop -- as CEO. The software giant is buying the Finnish company's Devices & Services business -- its phone arm -- and the right to use its patents for just €5.44 billion. Yes, that's right -- just €5.44 billion.
That is considerably less than what Microsoft paid for Skype -- $8.5 billion -- in 2010. Both deals involve trading cash, but whereas the latter has yet to bear fruit across all of Microsoft's services, the former is actually at the forefront of turning Windows Phone -- the software giant's smartphone operating system -- into a solid mobile proposition and competitor to Android and iOS. Not a bad deal.