Today, Microsoft announces that the highly-anticipated Nokia Lumia Cyan firmware upgrade, that comes with Windows Phone 8.1 in tow, is now finally rolling out across the globe for the existing Nokia-branded Windows Phone 8 lineup.
Windows Phone 8.1 will officially arrive on all Lumia Windows Phone 8 devices "in the coming weeks", according to Microsoft. Previously, Lumia users had to join the Preview for Developers program -- which offers early access to new Windows Phone releases, including betas -- in order to get the latest version of the tiled operating system on their Windows Phone 8 devices. Here is what Nokia Lumia Cyan offers.
One year after it went on sale, Nokia Lumia 1020 is still the smartphone to beat when it comes to delivering the best Windows Phone imaging experience. That can be attributed to its mighty 41 MP camera, which continues to be in a league of its own, unmatched in resolution by any of its modern rivals.
In the US, Lumia 1020 has been an AT&T-exclusive since its launch, in July 2013, much like other Windows Phone flagships which have been released in the second-largest smartphone market. But, now, you can buy it unlocked, right from Microsoft Store, without any AT&T branding in tow.
Nokia Lumia 520 is the handset that has helped Windows Phone become a serious competitor in the low-end smartphone market. It is also the first Windows Phone I would wholeheartedly recommend to folks looking for an affordable, yet capable smartphone. (I like it so much that I have actually bought one for my other half, to replace an aging iPhone.)
Consumers have taken notice of Lumia 520, proof being that the best low-end Windows Phone has topped 12 million activations, according to Microsoft chief operating officer Kevin Turner. That may not rival iPhone's figures anytime soon, but it still makes it a huge hit among Windows Phone users.
After months of waiting, Nokia Lumia 930 is finally available. That is, of course, unless you are living in US, where Microsoft will not make the Windows Phone 8.1 flagship officially available. Sure, you can buy Lumia Icon instead, as it offers pretty much the same specs, but what if you are not, or not do want to be, a Verizon customer?
The first option is to import Lumia 930 from Europe, where it is sold by major retailers, some of which offer international shipping. Clove, which is based in UK, carries the smartphones, in black, orange and white, at a price of £362.5 (which is about $621) without any local taxes. Or, you can head over to Expansys US, which sells Lumia 930 for not much more.
Microsoft's Mobile division just released Video Tuner, a new Windows Phone 8.1 app that gives users the ability to quickly edit videos right on their smartphones. The free offering is a Nokia Lumia-exclusive, at least for now, meaning that some platform users will be unable to install it.
Microsoft says Video Tuner offers "basic, yet powerful" tools, which include mundane ones like crop, flip, mirror, rotate, speed change and trim, as well as more advanced features like the option to add a soundtrack and tweak the sound level.
Sixth in a series. On July 1, I officially started my "Microsoft All-In" summer sojourn. Surface Pro 3 is my PC and Nokia Lumia Icon my smartphone for the next couple of months. Google gets the boot -- at least for awhile. I now largely use Microsoft products and services and third-party apps available for the company's platforms. Many commenters wonder why, so let me explain.
I last used Windows as my primary platform in 2010 -- never for Windows Phone. Like other BetaNews reporters, I tend to write about products used regularly. Writing is more authoritative from experience, and often only long-time use reveals hidden problems or benefits. The reality, and it's something obviously seen in comments: Microsoft platform users largely make up BetaNews readership.
Consumers looking to purchase a high-end Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone only have one option to consider right now -- Nokia Lumia 930. It comes with all the right features for a device of flagship status, like a powerful processor, large screen, solid camera and wireless charging. It was announced in early-April, but it finally goes on sale this week.
A lot of Windows Phone enthusiasts are waiting for Lumia 930 to hit store shelves, myself included, as it is the first Nokia-branded Windows Phone 8.1 device to come with respectable specs in a decently-sized package. It can be argued that it is the natural replacement for those Lumia 920 users looking to upgrade.
Now is a great time to be looking for a new Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone. The entry-level Nokia Lumia 630 is already available, while the Lumia 930 flagship will launch shortly, as will the more affordable Lumia 635. For those living in US, however, their options are far more limited.
The only Windows Phone 8.1 smartphone that is set to launch in US is Lumia 635. It will reach mobile operator T-Mobile, as well as its MetroPCS subsidiary, in just a couple of days. For Simple Choice customers, it goes for $7 per month for two years (the total cost is $168, when taking into account the $0 down payment).
In April, Microsoft concluded acquisition of Nokia's Devices and Services division, announced in September 2013. With ownership comes responsibility, which starts with Microsoft preserving and reviving an iconic brand. Before the phone maker fumbled touchscreen smartphone market, the brand dominated the world -- commanding overwhelming cellular handset market share across Africa, Asia, Europe, and South America.
Some competitors strayed from the path Microsoft follows. For example, Google wrongly sold Motorola to Lenovo, which is reason for big smiles up Redmond, Wash. way. Hardware's research and development value to software and services cannot be overstated. Apple gets it, and I thought Big G did, too. Nokia is a vitally important asset to Microsoft that goes way beyond Windows Phone.
Earlier today, my colleague Wayne Williams reported that Microsoft is releasing its first Android phone. While not the first smartphone from Nokia to be powered by Google's operating system, it is the first under Microsoft's leadership. Let that sink in for a minute -- Microsoft is releasing a device powered by Linux. Has hell frozen? Are pigs flying? Surely, this is the sign of the apocalypse.
Every smartphone needs a default browser however, and the Nokia X2 is no exception. Sadly, Microsoft has not ported Internet Explorer to Android -- I would welcome that in the future though. No, it has chosen a different browser as default and it is not Chrome or Firefox, but Opera.
At the Mobile World Congress (MWC) back in February, Nokia surprised people with a new Android-powered smartphone series. The Nokia X line consists of the X, X+ and XL, with the devices designed to fit somewhere between Nokia's low-end Ashas and high-end Windows Phones. There was speculation that once Microsoft had taken over the Finnish manufacturer's mobile business that this new line would be killed off -- keeping the focus solely on Windows Phone devices -- but that turns out not to be the case.
Today Microsoft announces the Nokia X2, which the tech giant introduces "as the newest addition to the expanding Nokia X family of affordable smartphones designed to introduce the 'next billion' people to the mobile Internet and cloud services". Like the Nokia X, the new device gives users access to both Android apps and popular Microsoft services, like Skype, Outlook.com, and OneDrive.
Microsoft has figured out a way of making wireless charging readily available wherever you go. While that may sound futuristic, it actually is far from it in fact. All you need is the right pair of pants.
Microsoft has teamed up with British designer A. Sauvage to bring the convenience of wireless charging in the "Modern Man" trousers, which are part of "London Collections". The technology bit is achieved by making (clever) use of the Nokia DC-50 wireless charging plate, which is based on the popular Qi standard.
The Lumia Cyan software upgrade, which is set to roll out this summer, brings Windows Phone 8.1 to the crop of Nokia-branded Windows Phone 8 smartphones. Hardly surprising, the latest firmware will come bearing other gifts on top of a better operating system, among which are a slew of changes designed to squeeze extra performance out of high-end PureView cameras.
In a Q&A session on Nokia Conversations, when asked about the firmware's imaging changes, Microsoft's Juha Alakarhu reveals that the Lumia Icon, Lumia 930 and Lumia 1520 cameras are the Windows Phone 8, PureView-equipped devices that benefit from Lumia Cyan. Here are the sort of improvements users can expect to see.
Second in a series. Sunday started an unexpected journey long anticipated. I walked out of Microsoft Store San Diego holding my first Nokia since abandoning the brand in 2009. Before Nokia imploded, first unable to respond to Apple innovations and next by adopting Windows Phone as primary platform, I preferred the handsets -- using over the years the N95, N96, N79, N97, and N900.
I am the proud owner of the Lumia Icon, which marks my family's slow migration to Verizon from T-Mobile. AT&T would make more sense, since the iPhones my daughter and father-in-law use would work unlocked. If the Lumia 930 were available, I could go to the Blue rather than Red network from Pink (which becomes Yellow if purchased by Sprint). My initial reaction is surprisingly good, of the handset and Windows Phone 8.
With a massive 6-inch screen and low-end specs, the Lumia 1320 is the Windows Phone aimed at price-conscious phablet enthusiasts. The aging handset, that was unveiled by Nokia in late-October 2013, has been available on the market for quite some time, but is just now reaching US shores.
Starting today, the Lumia 1320 is available at local mobile operator Cricket Wireless, that sells the Windows Phone phablet off-contract. The price? After a $50 mail-in rebate through Cricket Visa Promotion Card, it costs $229.99. That is $20 less than what Cricket asks for the smaller Samsung Galaxy Express. Not taking into account the mail-in rebate, the Lumia 1520 goes for $279.99.