Nokia today made a new software developer kit available to app writers that will allow them to add more Lumia imaging tools to their own applications. Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1 adds several key functions, such as performance optimizations that allow advanced features, such as Lens Blur, to run on low-end Lumia devices like the Lumia 520. This means app writers can target a broader range of devices with their app and won't be limited to high-end hardware. The SDK also gives developers more tools to dip into editing functions, such as reframing images and crop/zoom. Last, the SDK adds support for Windows 8.1 desktop and RT. Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1 is free to download from Nokia's developer portal.
Julie Larson-Green, who has led Microsoft's Devices and Studios unit since last year, is moving to a new position as Chief Experience Officer of Microsoft's Applications and Services group. There she will manage the look and feel of key Microsoft apps and services as exsperienced on Microsoft devices. The move is being made, in part, because Microsoft is set to close its acquisition of Nokia's handset business. Once the deal closes, former Nokia CEO Stephen Elop will be put in charge of Microsoft's Devices and Studios unit, which includes Windows Phone hardware, in addition to XBox, Microsoft Surface, and game development. Elop was a Microsoft executive before being hired by Nokia to turn the company's mobile phone business around. Elop was responsible for ditching Nokia's Symbian platform in favor of Microsoft's Windows Phone platform.
The rumors seemed surreal: an Android phone from Nokia?! Well it's real, and it's part of Nokia's aggressive strategy at the lower end of the market. With a unique blend of slick Lumia design, Android software, Microsoft services, Asha features, and a very low price, Nokia has created something that feels altogether new. Read on for our first hands-on impressions.
Nokia today announced the Nokia X, Nokia X+, and Nokia XL, its first phones to run the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) platform. The phones run standard Android apps, available through a new Nokia Store, or side-loaded. The phones offer Microsoft services - such as Outlook, Skype, HERE Maps, and OneDrive - instead of Google services. The interface is a blend of Lumia and Asha, including re-sizeable live tiles like Windows Phone, plus FastLane from Asha. The Nokia store supports carrier billing and in-app purchases. Facebook is pre-loaded. The X and X+ include a 4-inch display. The X+ adds a memory card slot. The XL steps up to a 5-inch display and a 2-megapixel front camera. The Nokia X will sell for 89 Euros. The X+ will sell for 99 Euros, in Q2. The XL is coming in early Q2 for 109 Euros. Nokia will sell the X family globally, starting in "growth markets." Nokia also re-affirmed its commitment to Lumia and Windows Phone. The company expects to price all X family phones lower than its Lumia phones. It will also continue offering Asha touch phones, at even lower price points, such as the new Asha 230, which will sell for only 45 Euros.
Nokia today announced plans to bring BlackBerry's BBM messaging app to its Lumia devices.
Nokia today announced Treasure Tag, an NFC and Bluetooth powered fob that will alert users when their phone is too far away from their keys and vice versa. The device, which Nokia says is about the size of a matchbook, can be attached to a keychain (or other item the owner wants to keep close by) and then paired with a Lumia smartphone through a dedicated app. First-time users will automatically be prompted to download the app when they first pair their phone to the Treasure Tag with NFC. When the user moves one device too far away from the other, they'll both emit an alarm. Devices or tags that are lost can be located via HERE Maps. Lumia phones can support up to four tags, each of which can be identified with its own on-screen icon. Nokia said separate apps will soon be available for Android and iOS devices, as well. Nokia Treasure Tag costs $30 and will be available globally in April.
Nokia today said that it expects Microsoft to finalize its acquisition of Nokia's handset business by March 31. The company issued a statement regarding some tax difficulties it is facing in India that could complicate the sale. Nokia said the issues won't delay the deal, which it looks forward to closing in the weeks ahead. Microsoft and Nokia had previously suggested the deal would close by the end of the first quarter, so it is running on schedule. Microsoft first proposed to buy Nokia's handset business in September last year. The deal is valued at $7.2 billion.
This hero smartphone for Verizon Wireless is packed with imaging chops and Nokia's best software. Here are Phone Scoop's first impressions.
Nokia today announced the Lumia Icon, a flagship Windows Phone for Verizon Wireless. The stand-out feature is the Icon's 20-megapixel PureView sensor with optical image stabilization and Zeiss optics. According to Nokia, the Icon lets users zoom in up to 3x while shooting video and still maintain 1080p HD resolution. The camera is accompanied by dual LED flashes and Nokia's deep range of dedicated imaging applications. The Icon also includes a 2-megapixel user-facing sensor for selfies and video chats. Other characteristics include a 5-inch 1080p HD ClearBlack display that can be used with gloves; support for Verizon's LTE 4G network and HSPA+ networks in Europe and Asia; NFC and wireless charging; and a 2,420mAh battery. The Icon is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor. The processor is paired with 2GB of RAM and 32GB of built-in storage. The phone runs the latest version of Windows Phone and ships with the Nokia Black system update installed. The Nokia Lumia Icon will be available online and in Verizon stores beginning February 20. Verizon is asking $199.99 with a new two-year contract. The device will be available for preorder from Microsoft stores beginning today. Those who purchase the Lumia Icon from Microsoft before March 16 will receive a free charging accessory.
Nokia plans to announce a smartphone later this month running Google's Android operating system, rather than Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. The device, reports The Wall Street Journal, was already under development when Microsoft made its bid to buy Nokia's handset business, a transaction that has yet to close. Nokia's Android phone is meant to target emerging markets and will run a modified version of Android that will not feature the Google Play Store. Instead, the phone will come with Nokia's own application store and apps, such as HERE Maps, and Mix Radio. The device is expected to make an appearance at the Mobile World Congress trade show in Barcelona, according to the Journal's unnamed sources. Nokia did not confirm the Journal's report.
Nokia and HTC have settled all patent litigation between the two companies. HTC said it will make some payments to Nokia regarding the standard essential patents in question. Further, Nokia and HTC have agreed to collaborate on certain LTE 4G technologies moving forward. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.
Aio Wireless today made three additional smartphones available to its prepaid customers. The devices, all of which have been available from other carriers for some time, include the Motorola Moto G for $149.99, the Nokia Lumia 520 for $99.99, and the ZTE Sonata 4G for $79.99. The Sonata reaches Aio Wireless stores today, but the Moto G and Lumia 520 won't be available until February 14.
Nokia today made Cinemagraph 4.0 available for download from the Windows Phone Store. This update offers a few new features, the most significant of which is the ability to export Cinemagraphs as GIF files. The app itself is used to create GIF-like images, but before only allowed sharing through a link to files uploaded to Nokia's servers. The GIF export function makes it much easier to share Cinemagraphs with others. The app also adds location data so Cinemagraphs can be more easily integrated with Nokia Storyteller, and makes general performance improvements. Cinemagraph 4.0 is available to Nokia's Lumia smartphones and is free to download from the Windows Phone Store.
Nokia today announced the availability of HERE Transit for select Asha devices. HERE Transit is the public transportation leg of its HERE mapping and routing suite of apps. HERE Transit will allow Asha device owners to plot trips via public transportation, including buses, subways, and trains. The app provides timetables, ETAs, and walking routes from transportation stations to the journey's actual end point. HERE Transit is available to the Asha 500, 501, 502, and 503. It can be downloaded from the Nokia Store for free.
AT&T has added a 32GB variant of the Nokia Lumia 1520 to its online store. The device was previously only available with 16GB of internal storage. The 32GB version costs $249.99 with a new contract.
Nokia today announced that it has begun pushing the Nokia Black system update to more of its Lumia Windows Phone 8 smartphones. Nokia Black offers a wide range of new features, including app folders for the home screen, Nokia Glance 2.0 notifications tool, Bluetooth Low Energy, Nokia Refocus (Lytro-like camera feature), Nokia Beamer improvements, and the Nokia Camera application (combined Nokia Pro Camera and Smart Camera apps). The update is available to the Lumia 1020 and Lumia 925 first, and will be made available to more Lumia models in the coming weeks.
Toshiba this week showed off a new camera module for mobile devices that promises to deliver flexible focus capabilities. The TCM9518MD uses a twin camera setup with a dedicated companion LSI chip. The module can record video and images in which the foreground, background, and all points in between are in focus. The module pairs together two 5-megapixel CMOS sensors that then upscale images to 13-megapixels. Toshiba says it is much thinner than most 13-megapixel sensors and delivers comparable results. The camera module is sampling now, and Toshiba expects it to hit consumer devices later this year. The adjustable focal point idea was refined by a company called Lytro, which has a dedicated camera for taking such images. Nokia has a lens for its Lumia Windows Phones that provides a similar effect.
Nokia has pulled its Here mapping and navigation app for iOS from Apple's App Store. Nokia says the move is "because recent changes to iOS 7 harm the user experience." The app offered transit and pedestrian directions, as well as offline access. Nokia still offers a mobile web version of the service that works with iOS.
The U.S. International Trade Commission has determined that Huawei, Nokia, and ZTE did not infringe on six InterDigital patents, and it invalidated a seventh patent, clearing the companies of any wrongdoing. The ITC upheld the preliminary ruling made earlier this year. ZTE said it was pleased with the ITC's decision, while Nokia and Huawei have yet to file public responses. InterDigital's attempt to ban the import of certain ZTE, Huawei, and Nokia devices has been nixed. InterDigital, which is a patent-holding firm, filed similar complaints against Samsung.
AT&T today made system updates available to both the Nokia Lumia 1020 and the Lumia 1520. The 1020, in particular, is receiving the Nokia Black update, which provides a number of new features and performance improvements. The update adds the ability to lock the screen rotation, set custom email/messaging ringtones, and more easily close apps in the app switcher. The update allows 1020 owners to download the combined Nokia Smart Camera and Nokia Pro Camera app, and adds the latest version of the Nokia Glance Screen, which displays the time and select notifications. Nokia Black bumps the 1020's Bluetooth radio up to Bluetooth 4.0 LE, and makes general improvements to the battery and system stability. The update for the Lumia 1520 appears to only fix bugs. Both require Wi-Fi, but can be pulled down manually via the system settings.
Nokia today released a beta version of the Nokia Camera application that is compatible with more devices. The full app only works on select PureView devices, such as the 1020 and 1520. This new beta will work on all Lumia devices running Windows Phone 8. In order to get the app, interested consumers will need to create a Nokia account and download the app from Nokia Beta Labs. Nokia says that most features should work, though it warns about the potential for bugs. Nokia said it will add experimental features over time that may or may not be added to the full application. Nokia Camera is a combination of its Pro Camera and Smart Camera applications. Both the full version and beta version are free to download. It is compatible with the Lumia 520/521, 620, 625, 720, 810, 820, and 822, and requires either the Amber or Black system updates.
The European Commission today approved Microsoft's proposed purchase of Nokia's handset business. After assessing any overlap between the two companies' businesses, as well as how the merger might affect each companies' existing business relationships, the EU believes the merged entity won't be a threat to competition or choice in the industry. Microsoft's proposed acquisition of Nokia recently garnered approval from U.S. regulators.
The U.S Federal Trade Commission today approved Microsoft's proposed $7.2 billion purchase of Nokia's handset business. Microsoft first announced the plan in early September. With the U.S. government on board, Microsoft is one step closer to absorbing Nokia's phone-making capabilities. Nokia's shareholders have already approved the deal. Nokia switched to Microsoft's Windows Phone platform in 2011 and has since become the world's foremost supplier of Windows Phone handsets. Nokia will continue to run its networking business and will retain rights to the Nokia brand.
Nokia today revealed the Lumia 525, an update to the 520/521 that increases system memory from 512MB to 1GB. The upgrade will let the device run more apps at a time. Most other features of the device remain unchanged. The Lumia 525 has a 4-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera, dual-core 1GHz Snapdragon S4 processor, and swappable rear shells. The Lumia 525 is first slated to reach select markets later this month for $199. There's no word yet if the 525 will be made available to U.S. buyers.
Google confirmed that the company is developing a fix for the Nexus 5's camera. "The team is aware of the issues and is working on a software update that will be available shortly," said Google spokesperson Gina Scigliano in a statement provided to CNET. The Nexus 5's camera performance leaves a lot to be desired. In addition to the Nexus 5 camera fix, Scigliano also confirmed that Google is working to add support for RAW imaging to the Android platform. "Android's latest camera HAL (hardware abstraction layer) and framework supports RAW and burst-mode photography. We will expose a developer API in a future release to expose more of the HAL functionality," said Scigliano. Google has laid the groundwork to permit RAW imaging, but has yet to provide developers with the tools they need to access it. Nokia recently added RAW imaging support to the Lumia 1520, and will soon add it to the Lumia 1020. RAW imaging provides photographers with an uncompressed digital negative that gives them more control over the end product.
Nokia today announced a major update to its HERE Drive navigation application. HERE Drive, which is available to all Windows Phone 8 devices, offers step-by-step, voice-guided navigation. When planning routes, the app now shows a list of all the turns before the driver begins navigating. The app now also provides an overview of the entire route with real-time traffic included, so drivers can see ahead of time whether or not they should take an alternate route. The live traffic feature is available in all views of the map. HERE Drive is now better at calculating estimated time of arrival thanks to the more accurate, real-time traffic data. Last, Nokia has added a feature that automatically geotags the driver's parking spot when they complete a door-to-door route. The driver can then use HERE Maps' LiveSight feature to find their car, or view it on a map. HERE Maps is free to download from the Windows Phone Store.
Verizon Wireless and Nokia today announced the availability of RedBox Instant for Verizon's Lumia Windows Phones. The app will be exclusive to Verizon for two months, after which it will be available to all WP8 devices. RedBox Instant lets users browse and watch movies, reserve new releases at local Redbox stores, and rent and buy movies digitally, on demand. The first month is free, but thereafter it costs $8 per month.
Nokia today published a new version of its music application and rebranded the service Nokia MixRadio. MixRadio builds on the Nokia Music service, which lets users create radio stations and stream music to their Lumia smartphones. More than 18 million tracks are available and Nokia has 150 curated radio stations, all of which can be streamed for free. The application was updated with a number of new features including Play Me, a personalized mix inspired by each user's music profile; thumbs up/down ratings to help users refine their profile; and the ability to share mixes through Facebook, Twitter, email, and SMS. Premium features, such as unlimited downloads to devices, require a $3.99 per month subscription. The new app can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store.
Nokia today said that an update is available for its Nokia Camera application that adds support for RAW imaging. The feature was first announced last month and is available only to the Nokia Lumia 1520 at the moment. RAW imaging support will be available to the Lumia 1020 in early 2014, bundled together with the Lumia Black system update. Once 1520 owners download the Nokia Camera update, they'll have to select the DNG capture mode in the settings tools. Nokia warns that RAW image files will be much larger than standard JPEGs. Windows device owners can use the Windows Explorer desktop tool to download RAW images, but Mac users will need to download the latest version of the Nokia Photo Transfer app. The photo app was recently updated to support RAW files. Nokia Camera is free to download for Lumia smartphones.
Nokia today added LiveSight to its HERE Transit application in order to make public transportation stations easier to find. LiveSight uses the device's camera and augmented reality technology to overlay mapping, location, and other data on a live image through the camera viewfinder. LiveSight is already built into the base Nokia HERE Maps app, and is now part of Nokia HERE Transit thanks to an update that's available today. Nokia also said that HERE Transit offers a wider array of traveling options. For example, travelers can choose between different train, bus, and other routes, as well as how many transfers they're willing to make to reach their destination. HERE Transit now runs in 52 countries and in 792 cities. It is free to download from the Windows Phone Store.
Nokia's shareholders today approved Microsoft's proposed acquisition of the company's handset business, according to the Financial Times. About 80% of Nokia's shareholders sided with management in favoring the deal, which will see Nokia's phone-making unit sold to Microsoft for $7.2 billion. Microsoft believes the deal will strengthen the footing of its Windows Phone platform. Nokia's Lumia-branded smartphones represent the lion's share of Windows Phones sold throughout the world. Nokia will still hold onto its networking business. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is expected to run the new hardware division from Microsoft's headquarters in Redmond. The deal still needs to meet regulatory approval.
Nokia today made the Nokia Imaging SDK 1.0 available to developers. The SDK, which was released in beta form in July, lets Windows Phone developers add a wide range of camera functions and features to their own apps. It is compatible with all Windows Phones, not just those made by Nokia. The SDK gives developers access to filters, effects, and on-screen rendering options. There are more than 50 filters included with the SDK, as well as the tools needed for developers to create their own filters. It also includes features such as arbitrary cropping regions, free rotate, and resizing images for online sharing. According to Nokia, the SDK uses the Random Access JPEG (RAJPEG) format, which helps it manipulate large files without requiring too much drain on the CPU or battery. The Nokia Imaging SDK 1.0 can be downloaded from Nokia's developer portal.
Nokia today made its Refocus application available to its Lumia PureView smartphones. Refocus, which Nokia announced last month, is similar to Lytro in that it allows owners to adjust the focal point in an image after the picture has been taken to change the depth of field. The app makes use of Scalado's imaging technology, which Nokia acquired in 2012. The app is compatible with the Nokia Lumia 920, Lumia 925, Lumia 928, and Lumia 1020 - as long as the Amber system update is already installed. Refocus is free to download from the Windows Phone Store.
AT&T today began accepting orders for the Nokia Lumia 1520. According to AT&T, the device will ship to those who preorder it on November 19. It will reach AT&T retail stores November 22. Earlier this week, Microsoft said the release date would be November 15. AT&T is charging $199.99 for the 1520 when purchased with a new contract. The 1520, which has a 6-inch full HD display and 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, runs Windows Phone 8.1 and features a 20-megapixel PureView camera. AT&T is offering a $20 gift card to the Windows Phone Store, which can be used to purchase apps and games. AT&T is also offering 50GB of storage in its cloud-based AT&T Locker service.
Microsoft is now accepting preorders for the Nokia Lumia 1520 smartphone. The 1520, which has a 6-inch full HD display and 2.3GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor, costs $199.99 when purchased with an AT&T contract or $549.99 without a contract. Orders placed through Microsoft's online store will ship November 15. It comes in black, white, red, or yellow. AT&T itself has yet to announce release details for the 1520.
Nokia today said that Samsung has agreed to license some of its phone-related patents for another five years. Samsung will begin to make royalty payments to Nokia beginning in 2014. Nokia didn't say which patents are being licensed by Samsung. Patent licensing has become a contentious issue over the last few years as mobile device makers seek to drive profits from their patents and the resulting products. Many companies resort to filing lawsuits to force settlements. Nokia is in the process of selling its handset division to Microsoft, but it will retain ownership of its patents.
Microsoft has requested that European antitrust regulators approve its proposed acquisition of Finland's Nokia. Microsoft announced its intent to purchase Nokia's handset business for $7.5 billion last month. The European Commission said that it will device no later than December 4 on whether or not it will approve the deal. The deal needs to be approved by U.S. regulators, as well. Nokia is the world's largest purveyor of Windows Phones, Microsoft's smartphone operating system.
Nokia today made available a new application called Nokia Camera. This app combines the best features of the Nokia Smart Camera and Nokia Pro Camera applications into one app that the company says is easier to use. The app has an advanced auto mode for quick photos taking, but still offers refined controls over settings such as ISO, shutter speed, aperture, and so on. It also includes a burst mode that takes a collection of shots so you can pick the best option. The application is free to download from the Windows Phone Store and is compatible with Lumia devices running Windows Phone 8.
Nokia today announced new imaging features for its high-end Lumia smartphones with PureView cameras, including the Lumia 1520 and the Lumia 1020. First, Nokia is adding support for RAW image files. RAW files are unprocessed and act like digital negatives. They can be used to create a wider range of final images. Second, Nokia announced a feature called Refocus. Refocus is similar to Lytro in that it allows owners to adjust the focal point in an image after the picture has been taken. RAW image support and Refocus will be distributed to the 1520 and 1020 in November.
Nokia today announced the Lumia 1520, a device that is the first to take advantage of new features built into Windows Phone, including a high-definition display and quad-core processor. The 1520 boasts a 6-inch full HD ClearBlack LCD with Gorilla Glass 2, sunlight mode, and high sensitivity for use with gloves. The latest version of Windows Phone supports a third column on the screen, which means owners of the 1520 will be able to add more content and Live Tiles to their home screen. The 1520 is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, and comes with 2GB of RAM, 32GB of storage, and support for microSD cards up to 64GB. The 1520 takes imaging seriously and includes a 20-megapixel PureView camera with dual LED flash, Carl Zeiss optics, lossless zoom, and optical image stabilization. Nokia's custom camera software is on board, which has been updated so that accessing the various shooting modes is easier. The 1520 has a 1.2-megapixel wide-angle, user-facing camera and Storyteller, a new app that automatically creates a chronological picture journey based on time/location data stored in photos. The 1520 is widely compatible with wireless networks, supporting dual-carrier HSPA+ at 42Mbps and LTE Bands 2, 4, 5, 7, and 17 in the U.S. Dual-band Wi-Fi, GPS/GLONASS, NFC, Bluetooth 4.0, and a bevy of sensors are on board, as is an integrated 3,400mAh battery. The Nokia Lumia 1520 is expected to reach the U.S. and other markets during the fourth quarter of the year. The 1520 carries a full retail price of $749. AT&T said that it will offer the 1520 later this year. Nokia also announced the Lumia 1320, which is similar to the 1520, but dials down the specs. For example, the screen measures 6 inches, but offers only 720p resolution. The camera is also of lower quality. It will be sold for $339 in select world markets. Nokia also added three more devices to its Asha portfolio, the 500, 502, and 503. Nokia's Asha devices straddle the line between smartphone and feature phone, offering advanced features at price points that are friendly to their emerging market targets.