Finnish maker Nokia has released Nokia Refocus, a new app for its flagship Lumia Windows Phone 8 smartphones with PureView cameras that allows users to choose new focus points after snapping pictures. The feature is similar to what Lytro cameras deliver, but adapted to work on smartphone hardware.
The philosophy behind Nokia Refocus is to give users the ability to "capture first and then focus and re-focus later to produce interactive photos", says the Finnish maker. The app is designed specifically for "scenes with a great contrast in the depth of field, like macro shots".
After a long wait Vine is now available on Windows Phone 8, officially bringing its popular six-second videos outside of Android and iOS. The app arrives in Store with a respectable feature set, including free and unlimited clip uploads and social network integration with Facebook and Twitter.
Vine takes advantage of built-in Windows Phone features, such as live tiles and camera lenses, as the app allows users to pin the Vine camera and their favorite accounts and channels on the homescreen and trigger the Vine recording mode from the built-in camera app (or third-party camera apps that support lenses, like Nokia Camera).
Windows Phone may be the fastest growing major smartphone platform, but its market share still has a long way to go in order to become an imminent threat to Apple's iPhones, let alone Android smartphones. The latest IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker report shows, once again, Microsoft's tiled mobile OS in the same distant third place, far behind its more popular rivals, despite the impressive 156 percent year-over-year growth in shipments from Q3 2013.
"Android and Windows Phone continued to make significant strides in the third quarter. Despite their differences in market share, they both have one important factor behind their success: price", says IDC research manager Ramon Llamas. "Both platforms have a selection of devices available at prices low enough to be affordable to the mass market, and it is the mass market that is driving the entire market forward". That difference in market share that Llamas mentions is a whopping 77.4 percentage points, between Android's 81 percent and Windows Phone's mere 3.6 percent; put differently, Android shipments (211.6 million units) were 22.27 times higher than those of Windows Phones (at 9.5 million units).
One of the largest usability gaps in Windows Phone 8 stems from the lack of a quick and easy way to toggle system settings, similar to what Android's quick settings or iOS's Control Center offer. The feature allows users to turn Wi-Fi, mobile data, GPS and others on and off in as little steps as possible, without having to navigate through the Settings menu every single time to alter their state.
Luckily there are apps in Windows Phone's Store that fill this void, with System Tiles being one of the most appealing and customizable offerings available today. The app is easy to use and quite powerful, allowing folks to create intuitive live tiles that can gather a significant number of shortcuts to apps and settings, all in one place.
Another busy week with more news than you could shake a stick at. Following the release of KitKat, Google was riding high as figures revealed that Jelly Bean is now installed on more than half of Android devices. It’s a similar story for Microsoft. Its previous operating system, Windows 7, is still the most popular while growth for Windows 8 and 8.1 remains slow. It was better news for Windows Phone which is making serious inroads into Android and iOS's share of the mobile market in Europe, and even managed to overtake Apple in Italy.
It seems that more people want to be able to use the latest and greatest version of Android, and following the announcement that the Galaxy Nexus would not receive a KitKat update, a petition was quickly launched to try to change Google's mind. Showing that the march of progress will always leave casualties, Google announced that Internet Explorer 9 will no longer be supported by Google Apps, and Windows 7 users gained Internet Explorer 11. To push the launch, Microsoft unveiled a new Anime ad campaign focusing on the browser's improved security.
Microsoft has announced the new Nokia Lumia 1520 is available for preorder through the Microsoft Store and at all US Microsoft retail store locations from today. The device officially goes on sale on 22 November.
As an incentive, customers who preorder the product will receive a $50 Microsoft Store app card, a $20 app card provided by Nokia, a free flip cover valued at $39.99 (while stocks last), and a free download of Halo: Spartan Assault for Windows Phone. It’s a US-only offer.
When Nokia unveiled the Lumia 1520, the Finnish maker did not provide an exact launch date for its new Windows Phone 8 phablet. However, the device was announced to be available in a limited number of markets, including US.
Ahead of the official launch, Microsoft decided to shed some light regarding the US availability of the Lumia 1520 on AT&T. On the software giant's online store, the phablet is now listed as available to pre-order, with the release date set for November 15.
Worldwide, Windows Phone may hold a distant third-place spot in the smartphone market, but in Europe handsets running the mobile tiled OS are closing in on Apple's iPhones through huge share gains. According to a new Kantar Worldpanel ComTech report, in five key local markets Windows Phone sales more than doubled in Q3 2013, compared to the same period from last year. Meanwhile, iPhones lost market share.
In France, Germany, Great Britain, Italy and Spain combined, Windows Phone's market share grew to 9.8 percent in Q3 2013 from 4.6 percent a year earlier. The highest market share gains happened in France (to 10.7 percent from 5.2 percent), Germany (to 8.5 percent from 2.5 percent) and Great Britain (to 11.4 percent from 4.2 percent), with Italy and Spain posting more moderate growths (to 13.7 percent from 10.8 percent and to 3.7 percent from 2.2 percent, respectively). By contrast, in the said local markets iPhone's market share decreased to 14.6 percent in Q3 2013 from 16.8 percent a year earlier.
Finnish mobile maker Nokia has released its Q3 2013 financial results, revealing record-high Lumia sales of 8.8 million units. The Windows Phone strategy appears to be paying off, with sales showing noticeable growth quarter-over-quarter, in the past year. The latest report, however, indicates that the Lumia momentum may be slowly burning off.
Quarter-over-quarter, Lumia sales increased by just 19 percent, from 7.4 million units in Q2 2013. By contrast, the sales increase in Q2 2013 from Q1 2013 was 32 percent, 27 percent in Q1 2013 from Q4 2012 and 51.72 percent in Q4 2012 from Q3 2012 (Q3 2012 is notorious for terrible Lumia sales of just 2.9 million units, so it's more of an oddity rather than a rule -- Q2 2012 Lumia sales were 4 million units). This indicates that, even though sales are higher, the significant growth will not continue for a long time. Seeing as Nokia is the largest Windows Phone vendor, this could lead to a stagnating (or decreasing) share for the tiled smartphone operating system.
Apple took center stage this week. At a special event the new iPad Air, iPad mini, Mac Pro and a raft of free software were all revealed, and we liveblogged through the whole thing. Not to be outdone by Microsoft, Apple decided to give Mavericks away free of charge along with iWork and iLife. But it was the iPad Air and mini that stole the show, sharing the same innards as the recently announced iPhone 5s, but boasting a redesigned exterior -- at least in the case of the Air.
Of course, no tablet launch would be complete without matching cases. There was also the interestingly designed Mac Pro which looks delightful and is a serious powerhouse, but has a price tag to match. After the big launch of the iPhone 5s, Apple showed off the latest addition to the iPhone range in a TV commercial.
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.
When I got my first computer, a Packard Bell, it was running Windows 95. At the time, I was just happy that I could talk to girls on AOL. The political and religious nature of the operating system never entered my mind. This was because, at the time, Microsoft monopolized computing in America's households. Microsoft was computers to me and I was fine with that.
Fast forward to 2013 and we see a far different landscape in home computers. Heck, the idea of owning a desktop is foreign to many consumers as they instead opt for tablets. Shockingly, Microsoft is almost nowhere to be found in the tablet revolution. Yes, it was selling convertible, tablet-edition Windows devices years ago, but consumers weren't buying them. I should know, I sold them at the time -- well, didn't sell them, I should say.
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.
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.
More and more business users are shunning a traditional desktop or laptop for tablets and smartphones. While tablets are great for consuming information, with the help of keyboard attachments, they are sufficient at creation too. However, tablets and smartphones are very personal devices; they are not optimized to handle a conference call for multiple users. Today, Logitech announces a product designed to solve this dilemma -- the Mobile Speakerphone P710e.
The company says, "with the Mobile Speakerphone, you can be more productive with hands-free access to your mobile device of choice and an integrated experience for video conferencing and conference calls. Whether you’re hosting your noon conference call using your mobile device in a hotel room or joining a call from a conference room in your local office with your PC, the Logitech Mobile Speakerphone is the ideal travel companion for the mobile employee or small business owner".