Nokia begins Windows Phone 7.8 upgrade rollout

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Jan 302013

Nokia today announced that it is beginning to roll out its Windows Phone 7.8 upgrade to Lumia smartphones currently running Windows Phone 7.5 as these will not be upgraded to Windows Phone 8. The Nokia Lumia 510, 610, 710, 800 and 900 will all receive upgrade notifications during February.

With Windows Phone 7.8 installed, your Nokia Lumia gets even better.

The Start screen experience is completely refreshed with the ability to re-size your tiles: small, medium and large.

In addition, there are also new options available on your lock screen, such as having a daily background image from Bing; plus there’s improved pocket and child lock screen security.

Plus, there is increased language support, meaning even more people get to enjoy Nokia Lumia.

These new benefits, together with the new look Start screen, will make your Lumia feel like a brand new smartphone.

Once you receive your notification, you will need to connect your device to your computer via Zune for PC, or the Windows Phone app for Mac.

As usual, carriers will need to approve the update before they push it out to their users.

To make sure you don’t miss the update when it is released here, check that notifications are enabled by selecting Settings > Phone Update > “Notify me when new updates are found”.

Read more: Nokia

Nokia Drive+ beta now available for all WP8 devices in Canada and U.S.

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Jan 262013

While Nokia Drive+, Nokia’s turn-by-turn navigation app, remains in beta, it is no longer a Lumia exclusive. Nokia decided this week to make it available as a free download to all Windows Phone 8 customers in Canada, the U.S., and the United Kingdom.

The app remains in beta as the team fine tunes the customer experience. In the meantime, you can access full turn-by-turn voice-guided navigation, offline maps, speed limit warnings, and conveniences such as day and night modes. With today’s release, the team is looking forward to hearing from even more Windows Phone customers through the app’s “feedback” tab, to help make it even better. Give it a try and let them know what you think. Learn more about Nokia Drive+ Beta .

Nokia Drive+

Among the features it offers are full, offline support for 89 countries, turn-by-turn, voice guided navigation with spoken street names, an automatic Day/Night mode, 2D and 3D landmarks on maps, an advanced dashboard with your speed, distance covered, estimated time of arrival and the time left to your destination, and more.

Nokia Drive+ is available for download through the Windows Phone Store.

Read more: Windows Phone Blog

Samsung and Apple account for half of smartphone market in Q4 2012

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Jan 252013

The smartphone market continued to show impressive growth in Q4 2012 with 219.4 million units shipped in the quarter, a growth of 36.4% over the same quarter a year ago. They also accounted for 45.5% of all mobile phone shipments, which themselves topped 1.7 billion units.

Samsung and Apple together now account for 50.8% of the smartphone market (up from a mere 45.5% only a quarter ago). Samsung set new records for number of smartphones shipped in a quarter and in a single year while Apple benefited from strong sales especially in China and the U.S. Up in third for the first time in its history is Huawei. Sony and ZTE held down fourth and fifth respectively with strong growth numbers. Out of the top five are RIM and HTC.

“The high-growth smartphone market, though dominated by Samsung and Apple, still presents ample opportunities for challengers,” said Kevin Restivo, senior research analyst with IDC’s Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker. “Vendors with unique market advantages, such as lower-cost devices, can rapidly gain market share, especially in emerging markets. A good example is Huawei, which overtook LG as a Top 5 vendor in the overall mobile phone market and passed HTC to become a Top 5 smartphone vendor.”

Vendor 4Q12 Unit Shipments 4Q12 Market Share 4Q11 Unit Shipments 4Q11 Market Share Year-over-year Change
Samsung 63.7 29.0% 36.2 22.5% 76.0%
Apple 47.8 21.8% 37.0 23.0% 29.2%
Huawei 10.8 4.9% 5.7 3.5% 89.5%
Sony 9.8 4.5% 6.3 3.9% 55.6%
ZTE 9.5 4.3% 6.4 4.0% 48.4%
Total 209.4 100% 160.8 100% 36.4%

Source: IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, January 24, 2013

In the overall mobile phone space for Q4 2012, Samsung continued to hold first place with a 23.0% market share. Nokia held on to second with a 17.9% share, followed by Apple, ZTE and Huawei respectively. LG dropped out of the top five.

It will be interesting to see what 2013 changes will bring. Will we see RIM return to the top five and is there anyone that can take the crown away from Samsung? It certainly looks unlikely at thsi point.

Read more: IDC

CEO Stephen Elop dismisses Nokia Android possibility

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Jan 242013

After seemingly opening the door to an Android-powered Nokia device at some point in the future, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop closed that door again during the company’s latest earnings call. Asked about the possibility of using Android for low-end devices, Elop said,

“We are clearly innovating with Microsoft around Windows Phone, and are focused on taking that to lower and lower price points. You will see that over time compete with Android. But at the same time we’ve said consistently — and we’re just beginning to see it in the Asha full-touch products — that we will continue to innovate around our Asha smartphone line in order to compete with the very lowest levels of Android.

“We are not in a situation where we are considering something other than Windows Phone combined with what we’re doing with Asha.”

On the Windows Phone front, Nokia will continue to differentiate its devices from those of competitors through “additions” such as its City Lens augmented reality app and Nokia Music streaming service as well as its PureView technology.

Read more: TechCrunch

Nokia announces return to black with Q4 2012 financial results

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Jan 242013

Nokia today announced its financial results for the last quarter of its fiscal 2012 year. It had a pleasant surprise for its stockholders, reporting a profitable quarter after six quarters of losses. It saw an operating profit of US$585 billion (€439 million) on net sales of US$10.7 billion (€8.04 billion). According to CEO Stephen Elop,

“We are very encouraged that our team’s execution against our business strategy has started to translate into financial results. Most notably we are pleased that Nokia Group reached underlying operating profitability in the fourth quarter and for the full year 2012.

While the first half of 2012 was difficult for Nokia Group, in Q4 2012 we strengthened our financial position, improved our underlying operating margin in Devices & Services, introduced the HERE brand to expand our mapping and location experiences, and drove record profitability in Nokia Siemens Networks.

We remain focused on moving through our transition, which includes continuing to improve our product competitiveness, accelerate the way we operate and manage our costs effectively. All of these efforts are aimed at improving our financial performance and delivering more value to our shareholders.”

As it had previously announced, Nokia shipped 4.4 million Windows Phone Lumia devices during the quarter, up 51% from the 2.9 million the previous quarter. Of those, 700,000 were sold in North America, still Nokia’s smallest market. It also shipped another 2.2 million Symbian devices and 9.3 million Asha handsets.

Nokia expects that it could return to a loss in Q1 2013 due to “competitive industry dynamics” and Q1 typically being a slower quarter.

It remains to be seen if Nokia will announce new Lumia smartphones at MWC 2013. Recent rumours have pointed to a “true PureView Windows Phone” codenamed the Nokia EOS and the Nokia Catwalk.

Read more: Nokia

True PureView Windows Phone Nokia EOS smartphone in the works?

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Jan 232013

When Nokia first announced plans to bring PureView to Windows Phone, most expected Nokia to unveil a device that would sport a camera similar to the 41MP one on the Nokia 808 PureView. Instead, the Nokia Lumia 920 was announced with Nokia PureView technology but with an 8MP sensor. It has gone on to impress many with the quality of the pictures it takes despite the different sensor. But now comes word that Nokia may finally release a “true PureView Windows Phone” with the 41MP sensor in tow.

According to The Verge, Nokia is working on a smartphone codenamed EOS. Aside from the upgraded sensor, it will also drop the polycarbonate body in favour of an aluminium one. Nokia is also looking to update the look of its devices for 2013 and the EOS will also sport a new look with squared edges.

The Nokia EOS looks to be a new high-end Lumia model in a product refresh that will also include the Nokia Catwalk, a replacement for the Lumia 920, and a new mid-range device. A Nokia Windows RT tablet is also in the cards. AT&T looks set to be among the carriers to offer the Nokia EOS when it launches.

Read more: The Verge

Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung Galaxy S III versus a fast ball

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Jan 172013

The Nokia promotional video below looks at how the Nokia Lumia 920 and Samsung Galaxy S III rival fare when they are hit with a fastball. One of those two devices uses a polycarbonate unibody case whereas the other has a plastic casing.

What would happen if you threw a fastball at a Nokia Lumia 920 and a Samsung Galaxy SIII? We decided to find out.

The video is part of Nokia’s #switch campain. Another sees the Lumia 920 take on the Galaxy S III and the Windows Phone 8X by HTC in a concert recording showdown. In another, the Nokia Lumia 920 is subjected to a five year old.

Read more: Nokia USA [via YouTube] (Source: WMPoweruser)

Nokia Lumia 920 in red, white and yellow coming soon to Rogers

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Jan 152013

Nokia Lumia 920Good news for those who don’t like their smartphones in black. Rogers today announced that it will soon offer the Nokia Lumia 920 in three new colours: Red, white and yellow. Rogers customers can now reserve it through the Rogers Reservation System (CA$40 deposit required) and will be available in Rogers stores “in the coming weeks.”

Rogers is also running a contest that will see three winners, one for each colour, walk away with a new Nokia Lumia 920. Head over to the Rogers Red Board to enter.

Rogers was the first carrier in the world to launch the Nokia Lumia 920 when it did so back on October 29th, 2012. It currently offers it starting at CA$99.99 with a three-year contract.

Read more: Rogers RedBoard

Rogers Nokia Lumia 920 receiving maintenance release

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Jan 132013

On the heels of the recent Portico update, Rogers Nokia Lumia 920 owners are now receiving another update. There aren’t a lot of details about Microsoft Update 8.0.10211.204 but it does promise “quality improvements for languages.”

Nokia Lumia 920 update

It appears that those who will benefit most from this update are those using the Nokia Lumia 920 with a language other than English.

The update should take about 10 minutes and your smarphone.

If you have not received the update notification, you can check manually by selecting Settings -> Phone Update -> Check For Updates.

Read more: MonWindowsPhone (Source: WMPoweruser)

Nokia ships 4.4 million Lumia smartphones in Q4 2012

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Jan 102013

Nokia today issued a fourth-quarter preliminary report and the news is much more positive than it has been in past quarters. Its Mobile Phones business unit and Lumia portfolio both delivered better than expected results. Nokia now expects that its Devices & Services group will exceed expectations and achieve “underlying profitability” for Q4 2012. According to Stephen Elop, Nokia CEO:

“We are pleased that Q4 2012 was a solid quarter where we exceeded expectations and delivered underlying profitability in Devices & Services and record underlying profitability in Nokia Siemens Networks. We focused on our priorities and as a result we sold a total of 14 million Asha smartphones and Lumia smartphones while managing our costs efficiently, and Nokia Siemens Networks delivered yet another very good quarter.”

In particular, Nokia reports sales of 4.4 million Lumia-branded Windows Phones in the quarter. That amounts to a 51% jump over the 2.9 million devices shipped in Q3. It’s not clear how this breaks down between Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7 devices. It also shipped 9.3 million Asha full touch “smartphones” and 2.2 million Symbian smartphones.

Nokia expects Q1 2013 to be tougher due to “competitive industry dynamics” and the general seasonal weakness of the quarter. Margins could fall into negative territory again as a result.

Nokia will issue its full Q4 and full year 2012 financial results on January 24th, 2013.

Read more: Nokia

Nokia CEO on Android: “Anything is possible”

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Jan 072013

Nokia CEO Stephen Elop had some surprising words in an interview published today by Spanish El Pais. At one point, the conversation turned to Android. Elop explained why Nokia chose Windows Phone over Android (concerns about differentiation and domination by other manufacturers) when planning its turnaround. But he left the door open for the future. When asked about whether he dismissed launching an Android phone next year, he answered that “anything is possible.”

While this puts into question Nokia’s commitment to Windows Phone, Elop explained that the company remains fully committed to both Microsoft and Windows Phone but that he was keeping an eye on the future. Elop suggests that HTML 5 could eventually make any mobile operating system irrelevant:

“In the current ecosystem wars we are using Windows Phone as our weapon. But we are always thinking about what’s coming next, what will be the role of HTML 5, Android… HTML5 could make the platform itself—being Android, Windows Phone or any other—irrelevant in the future, but it’s still too soon [to tell]. Today we are committed and satisfied with Microsoft, but anything is possible.”

Nokia is pushing to grow its market share to double digits in 2013. Not only will it need to continue to battle against the dominant Apple iOS and Google Android operating systems but some new players in 2013, including BlackBerry 10 and Tizen, could also make things more interesting.

Read more: El Pais (in Spanish) [Google translation] (Source: Gizmodo)

Windows Phone 7.8 update rollout now “imminent” says Nokia

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Jan 052013

Nokia yesterday told that the Windows Phone 7.8 update for its Lumia devices currently running Windows Phone 7.5 is “imminent.” A more specific timeline for the update was not provided. Nokia added the exact schedule “remains in Microsoft’s hands” and concluded that “At present we have no more information we can give about wider availability of the update for phones running Windows Phone 7.5.”

Windows Phone 7.8 will offer a number of Windows Phone 8 features (including the updated Home screen) to older handsets. Among these is the new Start screen with resizable Live Tiles, additional theme and accent colors, new lock screen features and more.

Some Nokia Lumia smartphones such as the Lumia 610 and Lumia 505 have begun to ship with Windows Phone 7.8 preloaded. “With Windows Phone 7.8 beginning to ship pre-loaded on Nokia Lumia smartphones, we will naturally be deploying the software to our factories for product rollout,” Nokia explained in its statement.

For its part, Microsoft has only indicated that Windows Phone 7.8 will start rolling it out in early 2013.

Read more: (Source: WMPoweruser)

Upcoming Nokia Catwalk to sport aluminum body?

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Jan 032013

Nokia’s next generation of Lumia smartphones may ditch their polycarbonate cases in favour of an aluminum one. Citing “sources familiar with Nokia’s plans,” The Verge today reports that will make the switch for at least one high-end Lumia Windows Phone set to be released later this year. The device, already in development, is codenamed Catwalk and will have very similar specifications to the Lumia 920 that it will succeed.

With the aluminum construction, Nokia is aiming to have a thinner and lighter device than one using a polycarbonate shell. The switch should allow Nokia’s devices to stand up better against thinner and lighter competitors.

Nokia will also refresh its Lumia lineup with two additional devices. It’s not clear if these will also sport aluminum cases rather than polycarbonate ones.

No specific timelines were given as to when this year Nokia will launch the Catwalk.

Read more: The Verge

Upcoming Nokia Windows RT tablet to sport battery-equipped keyboard cover?

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Dec 242012

New details have emerged about Nokia’s rumoured 10-inch Windows RT tablet.

Most interesting is that Nokia will offer a battery-equipped cover accessory for the tablet. Wrapping around it like a book cover, it will come with a keyboard and kickstand. Its built-in battery will kick in once the tablet’s own battery runs out. It will also sport two USB ports.

The report also confirms that the tablet itself will sport a 10.1-inch display. It will also include cellular connectivity as well as HDMI and USB ports. AT&T looks to be first in line to offer the tablet in the U.S. Perhaps we will see it in Canada as well.

Nokia will reportedly unveil its Windows RT tablet at MWC in February. It may only build a small number of tablets initially, likely to gauge market reception. A positive reaction would likely see it increase production and potentially look at a Windows 8 tablet as well.

Needless to say, the company said that it does not “comment on market rumour or speculation” when asked to confirm its tablet plans.

Read more: The Verge

Nokia and RIM enter new patent license agreement

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Dec 212012

NokiaAnother legal battle has been put to rest. Last month, a dispute between Nokia and RIM over WLAN patents went in Nokia’s favour, putting at risk RIM’s BlackBerry sales, including those of its upcoming BlackBerry 10 devices. Fortunately, the two companies have reached a resolution and existing patent litigations have been settled.

“We are very pleased to have resolved our patent licensing issues with RIM and reached this new agreement, while maintaining Nokia’s ability to protect our unique product differentiation,” said Paul Melin, chief intellectual property officer at Nokia. “This agreement demonstrates Nokia’s industry leading patent portfolio and enables us to focus on further licensing opportunities in the mobile communications market.”

As a result of the settlement, Nokia will receive a one-time payment and on-going payments from RIM. More specific terms of the agreement were not revealed.

The agreement is one less hurdle that RIM will need to deal with as it prepares to launch its BlackBerry 10 smartphones next month.

Read more: Nokia