Finnish maker Nokia has released its earnings report for Q4 2013, the first that indicates how the company, and its financial health, will look like without the Devices & Services arm that is set to be part of Microsoft's portfolio. That business is listed under "Discontinued operations".
Another effect of the sale of this business is that Nokia no longer lists the exact volume for the mobile phones and smartphones sold during the quarter. This effectively rules out any precise Lumia Windows Phone performance comparison. However, the company gives bad news as it reveals unit sales are actually lower for its Windows Phones compared to the previous quarter, when it sold 8.8 million of them.
Windows Phone 8 smartphones are wonderful devices -- except for the underlying operating system. While I actually like the OS, it still has a long way to go (notification center, hello!?).
Sales have been decent in some European countries, mostly due to the low cost. However, these things are hardly flying off the shelves. With that said, one user has found a way to make them fly -- literally, like...in the air.
What's that? Another music streaming service? Another one?! You could be forgiven for having this reaction to the news that Dr Dre's Beats Music is now available for iOS and Android; this is a market that is already rather saturated, and music lovers are not exactly short of options when it comes to picking a service to satiate their audio needs. So any new service vying for attention has to have something rather unique to offer if it is going to stand out from the competition.
Beats Music does have a unique selling point. It is a service that is about more than just streaming music, it aims to deliver the right music according to the time of day, what you are doing and where you are. Is this sort of stream tailoring enough to win over music fans? Only time will tell, but Beats Music certainly has a fight on its hands if it is to wrestle users away from the existing services that have been established for some time.
The phablet. It's a device with a silly name, but it's a market that is gaining massive momentum. Analysis by Juniper Research suggests that the number of larger-screened devices that ship will rocket by 600 percent by 2018. Projected figures show shipments jumping from around 20 million devices in 2013, to 120 million five years later. But taking into account the loose definition of a phablet it is possible that the figures could be even higher.
In fact there is no "official" definition of a phablet, at least in terms of the size of screen a device must sport in order to qualify for the title. Juniper Research acknowledges that phones with very large screens are increasingly common, with many high-end handsets featuring 5 inch - 5.5 inch displays. For the purposes of its report, Juniper Research uses the term phablet to refer to handsets that have a screen size between 5.6 inches and 6.9 inches.
The Lumia 929 is, without a doubt, the worst kept secret in Nokia's recent history. Pictures of the new Windows Phone have appeared numerous times, leaving nothing to the imagination. Furthermore, the handset even went on sale in China, at a local online retailer with its Verizon branding, ahead of its official launch.
Also ahead of its official launch, the Lumia Icon -- known as the Lumia 929 -- has appeared on Verizon's site, revealing every detail that one might want to know about the device. As you may have read so far, this Windows Phone is allegedly a big red-exclusive offering.
According to rumors that have been popping up over the past few months, Nokia is preparing to launch a new Windows Phone 8 handset called Lumia 929. The smartphone is expected to bear the Verizon logo, as an exclusive model designed for the US mobile operator. It should be the successor of the Lumia 928, that was introduced in the first half of last year.
One might naturally assume that, when the Lumia 929 actually goes on sale, Verizon's online and brick and mortar stores would be the first places to offer the Windows Phone. The mobile operator's logo implies it. Well, the Lumia 929 is now available, but at Chinese online retailer Taobao.
For a long time, dedicated websites and apps have been able to separate the audio content in YouTube videos, in order for users to download it for offline playback. Even the full-blown YouTube app that was developed by Microsoft for Windows Phone offered a similar feature, which allowed users to grab the whole video instead and store it on their smartphone.
Ripping the audio from YouTube videos can come in handy for those who want to enjoy their favorite tracks, but may find themselves in areas without good-enough cellular coverage for YouTube streaming. I have experienced this scenario first-hand while traveling. For Windows Phone users, there are a couple of apps that can get this job done, with MusicTube being one of the most appealing choices.
I have often wondered how many Windows Phone users are relying on Google Search, instead of Bing, to look things up on the InterWebs. The percentage should not be very high seeing as Microsoft deeply integrates Bing with the dedicated search button and makes it the default choice for processing queries from Internet Explorer. I can imagine the software giant saying "This time they will all bing it, not google it" and doing an evil laugh afterwards.
To use Google instead of Bing, Windows Phone users can change the default search engine in the Internet Explorer settings and/or navigate to its web page and look things up from there. Personally, I prefer the former route as it is more convenient and faster, though I would not be surprised to learn that there are people who are not familiar with this option. However, Microsoft does not allow users to change the default search engine when using the dedicated search button. As you can see, the odds favor Bing. It should, therefore, be the users' favorite by a long shot, shouldn't it? The answer is not so clear.
BlackBerry's efforts to improve its sliding sales and consumer relevance with the BlackBerry 10 touch-friendly lineup have failed. In fact, the company's latest available handsets are actually selling less nowadays compared to the old, and dated, BlackBerry 7 OS devices. For anyone paying attention that means the writing is already on the wall, but BlackBerry is (still) planning and hoping to make a comeback.
After bringing BBM to Android and iOS, the Canadian maker will shift focus back to QWERTY keyboards, and away from all-touchscreen designs, and could also embrace more competing platforms in BlackBerry Enterprise Server. The company's CEO John Chen hinted that the enterprise-grade device management software might add support for Windows Phone, on top of Android and iOS.
Mobile devices have completely transformed the way we connect with others. We can chat from anywhere these days, assuming there is an Internet connection available. What was once primarily aimed at browsers and traditional PCs has since fully embraced mobile computing, or vanished. There are also new, mobile-friendly apps and services that leverage features offered by smart devices to offer more personal and private ways to reach friends, family, coworkers and other folks.
For social butterflies Windows Phone has quite a lot to offer. The tiled smartphone operating system neatly integrates with popular services like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter, allowing users to easily post updates from within their Me tile, see what others are doing and respond to their activity on said social networks in the People hub. But there are also dedicated apps available in Store that offer more, and we are going to take a look at the best of them in this article.
Finnish maker Nokia has announced the Lumia Black update roll out for its Windows Phone 8 smartphone lineup. The latest software upgrade, which is set to first reach the Lumia 1020 and Lumia 925, is based on Windows Phone 8 Update 3, and adds a number of exclusive features.
Nokia's official announcement comes nearly three months after Microsoft took the wraps off Windows Phone 8 Update 3. The latest version of the tiled smartphone operating system brings an orientation lock, support for quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processors and 1080p displays and an extra live tile column on phablet screens, as the most important changes. Now let's take a look at what Nokia adds on top of this.
With the rise in popularity of Windows Phone, the Store has reached an important milestone as more than 200,000 apps are now available. That is good news and certainly impressive for the third-most popular smartphone platform, considering its track record. However, such numbers are actually meaningless as users do not install, or need, every available title. It is the quality, and not the quantity, that matters.
And, of all available Windows Phone apps, only a small part can be considered essential, or the best for most people. Those are the titles that can enrich the user experience, and add great value atop of what the tiled smartphone operating system offers. So without further ado, here are the must-have apps for your Windows Phone.
It seems that these days it is not enough for a laptop to just be a laptop, or a tablet to be a tablet. I'm not talking about the strange new breed of devices that are capable of running Windows and Android, or the rumors that handsets running Windows Phone and Android might see the light of day (haha! Can you imagine?). I'm talking about the devices that seem to be trying to become best friends with Michael Bay, transforming between multiple modes.
It's not really a new concept. We've already looked at Lenovo's Yoga 11S which can be bent into four different positions. The same company also has the Flex range which has fewer Transformer-like capabilities, but is still more than just your average laptop. At CES 2014 Toshiba decided to up the ante, taking the wraps off a 5-in-1 device.
Windows Phone may have managed to overtake Apple's iPhone in a small number of markets, based on sales, and become the third most popular smartphone operating system, but it -- and the devices that run it -- do not get much love from US consumers who are still buying Android smartphones and iPhones in droves.
Based on a new report from Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, in the US Windows Phone continues to struggle to gain considerable traction as the OS only had a paltry 4.7 percent market share, in the three months ending November 2013. This may represent a whopping 80.76 percent increase compared to the same period from 2012, but it is not large enough to even remotely threaten the local dominance of either Android or iOS. The results of the report are based on smartphone sales.
A quick look at the Windows Phone market portrays an interesting picture, a landscape that is dominated by a single maker, Nokia. Competition is practically non-existent, as the Finnish company takes the lion's share for both sales and usage. How can other vendors challenge it?
Nokia's market share for Windows Phone usage exceeds 90 percent and dwarfs that of HTC, Samsung and Huawei which struggle to overcome their near-anonymity on the platform. Sales reveal a similar tale. And, as soon as Microsoft takes control of Nokia's phone-making arm, this problem will grow even larger. Consumers will suffer and so will Microsoft, which will find itself in a very difficult spot trying to convince manufacturers that it's OK to play and, despite its role as the sole developer and main vendor, there will be no backfire. That is a tough sell. So what can be done?