We spent some time with the new Lumia 620 for Aio, AT&T's new prepaid experiment. This cute little phone has a unique design. Here's what we thought of it.
We spent some time with Nokia's new flagship phone, coming soon to T-Mobile USA. The Lumia 925 displays an evolution of Nokia's industrial design that uses more metal to achieve a thinner, lighter body. Find out how it stacks up against the competition in our hands-on.
Nokia today revealed that its LiveSight augmented reality technology is now being in both its HERE Maps and in a new version of Foursquare for Windows Phone. LiveSight is already available in Nokia City Lens, and uses object recognition to provide additional information and details about what the device owner is looking at through the camera. Within HERE Maps, LiveSight acts similar to Google's Street View feature, which gives people an on-the-ground view of locations and points of interest on any given map. It is also able to tag places such as restaurants, shops, and other locations. The same technology has been added to the Foursquare application for Windows Phone, though it is only accessible from Nokia's Lumia devices. The Foursquare app takes advantage of LiveSight to help users seek out and find venues with the help of image recognition.
Jolla today announced its first device, a smartphone called the Jolla. Jolla is based in Finland and took over the remnants of Nokia's Meego operating system. It has been working to create a new, gesture-based operating system based on Meego called Sailfish. The smartphone announced today is the fruit of its labors. The Jolla device features a 4.5-inch HD display, a dual-core processor, support for LTE 4G networks, an 8-megapixel autofocus camera, and will include a user-replaceable battery. The Jolla also features exchangeable shells, which allow owners to customize the appearance of their device. Last, the Jolla's Sailfish operating system will be able to run Android applications. Jolla said the device, which costs 399 Euros, will ship by the end of the year.
Nokia recently announced Xpress Now, a companion app for its Xpress Browser that is meant to help users find content on the web. The app culls what content is being consumed by the 80 million users of the Xpress Browser to create recommendations based on trending stories and what it thinks each individual user might like to see. "Nokia Xpress Now is about discovering interesting stories and new content based on the wisdom of the crowd," explain Andy Kelm, Vice President, Nokia Xpress Services. "It's not a magazine, a story or a group of curated RSS feeds, but rather a collection of interesting web content that is always changing." The app presents content in three categories: What's Hot, You May Also Like, and Most Liked. The first delivers a raw feed of what's been most-viewed in the user's area, the second makes recommendations based on the user's interests, and the third provides a view of what other users have given the thumbs up. Nokia Xpress Now is being tested on Asha phones in India right now, and Nokia expects to expand its availability over time.
Nokia today added the Lumia 925 to its lineup of Windows Phone 8 smartphones. It shares many features with the Lumia 920/928, but stuffs them into a much thinner and lighter body that has an aluminum frame with a removable polycarbonate panel on the back and glass on the front. The result is a phone that's 8.5mm thick with a weight of 4.9 ounces (the Lumia 920 is 10.7mm thick and weighs 6.53 ounces). Nokia said that by adding metal to the external frame, it was able to make improvements to the antenna technology inside the phone. Aside from the new design, Nokia took care to add some of its most advanced imaging features to the 925, which has an 8.7-megapixel PureView camera with optical image stabilization, dual LED flash, and a wide-angle 1.2-megapixel user-facing camera. The camera includes improved optics for sharper pictures, and new software that allows people to take 10 quick shots and then use Nokia's on-board software to edit them. Other hardware features are similar to the Lumia 920/928. The 925 has a 4.5-inch AMOLED display with 1280 x 768 pixels, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC, 1.5 Ghz dual-core Snapdragon processor, GPS/GLONASS, and 2,000mAh battery. The Nokia Lumia 925 reaches European markets in June, and will follow in the U.S. later this summer. It will be sold by T-Mobile USA, but pricing and exact release date have not be shared.
Nokia today announced the Lumia 928, a new Windows Phone smartphone for Verizon Wireless. The Lumia 928 features powerful imaging capabilities with Carl Zeiss optics and optical image stabilization to improve image sharpness. The camera rates 8.7 megapixels and has an aperture of f/2 for improved low-light image capture. It also includes a Xenon flash. The video camera, which has its own LED light, will be aided by three microphones that can handle high-volume, high-pressure events, such as concerts, and still offer clear, distortion-free recordings. It captures video at 1080p HD. There is also a 1.2-megapixel user-facing camera that can capture 720p HD video. The Lumia 928 includes a 4.5-inch OLED 1280 x 768 HD Clearblack display that is protected by Gorilla Glass. Nokia says the display as a pixel density of 334ppi and it offers 500 nit brightness. Other features include wireless charging, a 1.5GHz dual-core Qualcomm processor with 1GB of RAM, LTE 4G, a polycarbonate design, Nokia's HERE suite of location-based apps, and 32GB of internal storage. The Nokia Lumia 928 will be available online and in stores May 16 for $99.99 with a new contract after $50 mail-in rebate. For a limited time, Lumia 928 buyers will get a $25 credit for Windows Phone apps and games with the purchase of the phone.
T-Mobile USA today said that the Nokia Lumia 521 will reach its retail stores on May 22. T-Mobile is asking for a downpayment of $29 for the 521 followed by 24 payments of just $5. Alternately, customers may choose to buy the 521 outright for $149. The Lumia 521 will reach Microsoft retail stores and Walmart stores on May 11, as previously announced. Microsoft is charging $149 for the 521 and Walmart is charging $129.88. The 521 is already available via the Home Shopping Network. It runs Windows Phone 8.
Aio Wireless, a subsidiary of AT&T, today launched its new, no-contract wireless service in the U.S. The wireless network is first available in Houston, Orlando, and Tampa, and will gradually expand across AT&T's footprint around the U.S. over the course of the next year. Aio offers unlimited talk, text, and data plans that range from $35 to $70 per month to feature phones, smartphones, and tablets. Data speeds will max out at 4Mbps over AT&T's HSPA+ 4G network. In addition to the handsets it sells, Aio will also provide service to people who bring in their own, unlocked devices. One of the first devices offered by Aio is the Nokia Lumia 620 (pictured). The Lumia 620 is a Windows Phone 8 smartphone that has a 3.8-inch screen, 5-megapixel camera with 720p HD video record, and Nokia-exclusive applications. It costs $179.99 and does not require that customers sign a contract. Aio offers a handful of other smartphones, including the Samsung Galaxy Express for $249.99, the Samsung Galaxy Amp for $99.99, the ZTE Prelude for $49.99, and the Apple iPhone 4/4S for prices ranging between $349.99 for refurbished models to $499.99 for new models. Feature phones offered by Aio include the Samsung Denim for $29.99 and the ZTE Atair for $49.99. Aio hopes to compete with other prepaid brands, such as Sprint's Virgin Mobile and T-Mobile's Ultra Mobile.
Nokia indicated today via its U.S. support forums that the Windows Phone 7.8 system update is now ready for the Lumia 900. Windows Phone 7.8 updates the appearance and behavior of the Start screen, but doesn't include the under-the-hood improvements found in Windows Phone 8.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is in the hot seat with investors and took fire at today's meeting from impatient shareholders who are waiting for the company's fortunes to turn around. Elop announced Nokia's plans to abandon Symbian, which he referred to as a burning platform, in February 2011. Elop decided then that Nokia would use Microsoft's Windows Phone platform for its smartphones moving forward. At the time, he predicted that the turn-around would take two years. That time has come and gone, and Nokia's share of the smartphone market is still grim. "You're a nice guy, and the leadership team is doing its best, but clearly, it's not enough," said shareholder Hannu Virtanen to Elop. "Are you aware that results are what matter? The road to hell is paved with good intentions. Please switch to another road." Elop defended his decision, citing recent traction with its Lumia Windows phones, but also admitted that there's no Plan B. "We make adjustments as we go," said Elop. "But it's very clear to us that in today's war of ecosystems, we've made a very clear decision to focus on Windows Phone with our Lumia product line. And it is with that that we will compete with competitors like Samsung and Android." Nokia has planned a press conference for May 14, during which it is expected to announce new Lumia smartphones.
A print ad and an official web page reveal an unannounced Windows Phone smartphone from Nokia called the Nokia Lumia 928. The device appeared in an advertisement in Vanity Fair magazine and the ad included a link to Nokia's U.S. web site, which is live and shows a picture of the device. The print ad refers to PureView technology and optical image stabilization as features of the Lumia 928, but no other details were revealed. Last month, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said that the company planned to release a "hero" device with a major U.S. wireless network operator. The Lumia 928 could be that device.
T-Mobile USA today announced that the Nokia Lumia 521 smartphone will be featured on the Home Shopping Network television channel beginning April 27. The device can be purchased from HSN, HSN.com, or HSN Mobile directly for $149.95, which includes a car charger and screen protector. Following the 521's availability on the Home Shopping Network, the Lumia 521 will be available at Microsoft Retail Stores and Walmart stores beginning May 11, where it will cost $149. Walmart will be selling the 521 with its no contract $30 per month unlimited Web and text plan. T-Mobile said the Lumia 521 won't reach T-Mobile's retail stores until some unspecified date in the future.
Nokia recently made a beta version of its Nokia Chat application available to Lumia Windows Phones. The beta application, which Nokia already offers to its S40, Symbian, and Asha platforms, lets Nokia Lumia device owners conduct instant messaging conversations with one another. It also hooks into Yahoo Messenger and lets users easily share their location. The app includes support for Live Tiles, push notifications, lock screen notifications, and voice commands. Nokia Chat Beta is free to download from the Windows Phone Store.
HTC today made a formal statement regarding litigation brought against one of its suppliers, STMicroelectronics, by Nokia. According to HTC, the lawsuit was filed solely against STMicroelectronics, and not HTC at all. Further, HTC says Nokia has not obtained an injunction against HTC in The Netherlands or any other country. As written, the judgment against STMicroelectronics states that HTC can use the microphones in question because they were purchased from STMicroelectronics in good faith. HTC will transition to another microphone maker once it uses all the microphones it purchased from STMicroelectronics. None of HTC's products, such as the One, are affected by the judgment against STMicroelectronics.
Nokia today indicated that it has won an injunction against rival HTC regarding microphone technology used in the HTC One smartphone. According to Nokia, it developed the technology used in the STMicroelectronics-made component found inside the One. "HTC has no license or authorization from Nokia to use these microphones or the Nokia technologies from which they have been developed," the company said in a statement. The injunction was awarded in an Amsterdam-based district court. Nokia did not say what to which markets the injunction might apply, nor how soon it might go into effect. HTC had no immediate comment on the matter. The HTC One went on sale at several U.S. carriers last week.
Nokia CEO Stephen Elop this morning said, "Later this quarter a new Lumia device is anticipated to have hero status with a leading U.S. carrier." The comments were made during the company's call with media to discuss its quarterly results. Elop also said this hero device marks "the beginning of a season of new product introductions." Nokia has not introduced a flagship-grade device since the Lumia 920, which was released about six months ago. Nokia has, however, announced several mid-range and low-end Windows Phone 8 devices, including the 720 and 521 (headed to T-Mobile USA next month). Nokia lost $196 million on revenue of $7.65 billion. Shipments of its Lumia devices improved from 4.4 million during the fourth quarter of 2012 to 5.6 million during the first quarter of 2013. Sales of what Nokia qualifies as "smart devices" (includes Symbian, et al.) dropped quarter-over-quarter from 86.3 million to 61.9 million.
T-Mobile USA today announced that the Nokia Lumia 521 will be available at Walmart, Microsoft Retail Stores, and T-Mobile stores in May. Exact pricing and availability will be shared close to launch.
Nokia recently updated the Nokia Music application for its Lumia smartphones. The most significant new feature of the improved software is the ability to see album artwork for the current track on the Live Tile. Other features let users rewind and fast forward during play back, download mixes without being interrupted by the screen lock, and other general performance improvements. Nokia Music is only available to Nokia's Windows Phone devices. The app is free to download from the Windows Phone Store, but the service itself incurs a monthly fee.
Nokia today indicated that the AT&T version of the Lumia 920 can now download a minor system update through the settings tools. The update improves photo clarity, storage control, and makes other small tweaks. The update is free.
Nokia today unveiled a new program meant to coax developers into writing apps for its Asha platform. The Premium Developer Program for Asha is structured similarly to Nokia's Lumia developer program and goes above and beyond the basic developer program for Asha devices. Developers who join the Premium Developer Program for Asha will be given free developer handsets and a broader set of remote access tools for troubleshooting devices and apps. The program also gives Asha developers better visibility of their apps in the Asha app store, as well as the opportunity to advertise their apps in the store across 120 markets. Developers can get into the program for free if they've developed a minimum of two mobile apps for any platform. Details are available on Nokia's developer web site.
Nokia recently announced a new operating system update for both the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820. According to Nokia, the update mainly fixes bugs and improves performance. Specific fixes include enhancements to display stability during a call, and improved automatic display brightness adjustment. Nokia is already offering the update to versions of the 920 and 820 outside of the U.S. Neither AT&T nor T-Mobile USA has yet said when they will make the update available to their variants of the 920 and 820, respectively.
In recent filing with the SEC, Nokia specifically acknowledged the possibility that "Microsoft may broaden its strategy to sell other mobile devices under its own brand, including smartphones." Such filings with the SEC are legally required to lay out legitimate business risks, so that investors can make informed decisions. Similar filings in the past did not list this risk, indicating that Nokia feels the chances of Microsoft making its own phones have increased. The company may, in fact, have knowledge of such plans. At the very least, Nokia does not seem to have any assurances from Microsoft that they won't offer their own phone. Nokia is dependent on Microsoft for its Windows Phone OS software that powers all of Nokia's new smartphones. The filing explains that Microsoft-branded phones "could lead Microsoft to focus more on their own devices and less on mobile devices of other manufacturers that operate on the Windows Phone platform, including Nokia."
Nokia has filed an amicus brief with the U.S. Court of Appeals overseeing one of the Apple v. Samsung patent cases. In particular, Nokia condemns a decision made in December by District Court Judge Lucy Koh that denied Apple's request to ban certain infringing products from being sold in the U.S. Apple appealed that decision, and Nokia's brief appears to support Apple's appeal. Nokia holds the position that product bans should be allowed in certain circumstances because they help "encourage innovation." Nokia has nothing to gain or lose directly in the Apple v. Samsung patent case, but believes the outcome will play a role in shaping other patent cases pending in the U.S. Last week, Judge Koh sliced the damages awarded to Apple from $1.05 billion to about $600 million, and mandated a new trial to more properly assess the damages. The new trial has yet to be scheduled.
Nokia recently published a new version of its Cinemagraph application that is compatible with its older Lumia devices. Nokia first introduced Cinemagraph last year with the Lumia 920 and 820. It allows Nokia Lumia smartphones to create and share animated GIFs, but was limited to devices running Windows Phone 8. The new version works with devices running Windows Phone 7.1, 7.5, and 7.8. After owners have created a Cinemagraph, it can be shared via email, Facebook, Twitter, or MMS. Cinemagraph for Nokia Lumia devices can be found in the Nokia Collection within the Windows Phone Store.
Verizon Wireless today said that owners of the Nokia Lumia 822 can expect a software update to appear in the days to come. The update, which is codenamed "Portico" by Microsoft, brings a handful of performance improvements to the Lumia 822. The update adds the ability to edit forwarded MMS messages, the ability to ignore calls with an SMS, and support for more microSD card manufacturers. Portico also improves the Wi-Fi and Bluetooth performance of the Lumia 822. The update can be downloaded and installed over the air in a process that Verizon says will take about 15 to 25 minutes to complete.
Nokia recently released an application that allows Windows Phone users to read or write any standard NFC tag. NFC tags can be programmed to initiate different tasks, such as automatic social network checkins, send text messages, or turn on/off Wi-Fi radios. Nokia NFC Writer is compatible with all Windows Phones and is a free download from the Windows Phone Store.
Nokia today made a beta version of its Play To app available to devices running Windows Phone 8. Play To behaves similar to DLNA in that it allows Lumia smartphone owners to wirelessly connect their phone to another device, such as a TV, XBox, or stereo system, and stream media content to that device. For the moment, the app is limited to the Lumia 920, 822, 820, 810, and 610. Interested Lumia owners must register with Nokia Beta Labs in order to download and use the app. Nokia did not say when a full version will be released in the Windows Phone Store.
Nokia today made its rebranded HERE mapping and navigation services available to all devices running Windows Phone 8. Microsoft already baked Nokia Maps into Windows Phone 8. Beginning today, HERE Maps, HERE Drive Beta, and HERE Transit can be used by WP8 owners in the U.S., Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, and the U.K. Nokia first announced plans to rebrand its navigation services to HERE late last year. A separate HERE map app is available to the Apple iPhone, for example. The HERE apps for WP8 can be downloaded from the Windows Phone Store.
We spent a few moments handling Nokia's new Lumia 520, which will come to the U.S. as the Lumia 521 for T-Mobile USA. This Lumia is small and affordable. How's the hardware? Read on for our impressions.
Nokia today announced two new Lumia Windows Phones, the Lumia 720 and Lumia 520. The Lumia 520 is Nokia's most affordable Windows Phone. One variant - the Lumia 521 - will be exclusive to T-Mobile USA and arrive in the second quarter. The 520 includes a 4-inch display with super-sensitive touch screen that works through gloves, 1 GHz Snapdragon S4 dual-core processor, 5-megapixel camera, 8 GB of internal memory, and a slot supporting up to 64 GB. The new Lumias include Here Maps, which includes transit navigation. The Lumia 720 is designed for "non-LTE" markets, indicating it may not come to the U.S. It sports a 4.3-inch ClearBlack display covered with curved glass. It is Nokia's first unibody-design phone with a memory card slot. The 720 sports a Carl Ziess f/1.9 lens.
Mozilla today announced that the default maps and navigation service for Firefox OS will be Here from Nokia.
Nokia today made its Nokia Music+ service available to owners of its Lumia smartphones in the U.S. for $3.99 per month. The service was launched internationally in January. Nokia Music, which is free, has its own store through which tracks and albums can be purchased. It also offers streamed radio stations and personalized recommendations. Nokia Music+ offers more features, and gives listeners unlimited skips, unlimited downloads to their phone, higher quality music streaming, access to song lyrics, and a desktop client that allows subscribers to stream music to their PC. Nokia Music+ can be accessed directly from devices such as the Lumia 920, 822, 820, and 810.
Qualcomm today announced that more than 70 Snapdragon-based smartphones and tablets come with a technology called Quick Charge. Quick Charge 1.0 is a rapid-charging technology that Qualcomm acquired when it bought Summit Microelectronics. According to Qualcomm, devices with Quick Charge can reach a full charge up to 40% faster than devices that don't have Quick Charge. The technology is offered by Qualcomm to its hardware partners as an integrated solution with Qualcomm's power management circuits or a stand-alone USB interface controller. Some of the devices that have Quick Charge 1.0 already built in include the HTC Droid DNA and 8X, the LG Nexus 4 and Optimus G, the Motorola Droid RAZR MAXX HD, the Nokia Lumia 920, and the Samsung Galaxy S III among many others. Qualcomm said that it will reveal more details about its fast-charging technology in the coming weeks.
T-Mobile USA confirmed to TmoNews that its version of the Nokia Lumia 710 will not be updated to Windows Phone 7.8. When Microsoft first announced Windows Phone 8 and 7.8 in June 2012, Nokia initially pledged to update all its Lumia phones to WP7.8. However, T-Mobile said, "At this time, the Nokia Lumia 710 will not receive the software update. T-Mobile is committed to enhancing customers' experience with our devices, including providing upgrades to the latest operating systems, and T-Mobile aims to deliver software upgrades when it will provide a better experience for our customers. We'll share additional information on upgrades for the Nokia Lumia 710 when they are available." Nokia is distributing the Windows Phone 7.8 system software, which updates the Start screen behavior, to many of its devices throughout the month of February.
The U.S. International Trade Commission indicated that it will review InterDigital's patent-related complaints against Samsung, Nokia, Huawei, and ZTE. The complaint was filed in January and alleges that the companies are violating its 3G and 4G technology patents. InterDigital is asking the ITC to block the offending products. In particular, the patents cover WCDMA, cdma2000, LTE, and Wi-Fi technology as used in the infringing companies' phones, laptop dongles, hotspots, laptops, and tablets. The complaint will be given to an administrative law judge, who will hold a hearing and issue a preliminary ruling. The ruling will then be reviewed by the full committee. InterDigital is a patent-holding company.
Nokia today announced that it is making Windows Phone 7.8 available to its older Lumia smartphones. The update will be pushed out on a carrier-by-carrier basis over the coming weeks and through February. In addition to the new Start screen with adjustable Live Tiles, Windows Phone 7.8 adds new functionality to the lock screen, such as daily Bing images and child lock screen security. Windows Phone 7.8 also adds support for a number of new languages. The software can be installed via Microsoft's desktop-based apps to devices such as the Lumia 900, 800, 710, and 610. It is a free system update.
Nokia today made an update available to its City Lens augmented reality application for both its Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 7.5 devices. The changelog for both apps is the same, and adds a new "sightline" feature that lets users view only what's in their direct line of site. Nokia Lens also now lets users see place details without leaving the camera view, and also lets users freeze the image/view on the screen so the phone can be moved and shared without losing their place. Last, the new version of Nokia Lens lets users pin their favorite searches to the home screen. Nokia Lens is a free download to Nokia's Lumia smartphones.
Nokia today announced Nokia Music+, a more feature-rich version of its free Nokia Music service. Nokia Music, which is available on Lumia Windows Phones, has its own store through which tracks and albums can be purchased. It also offers streamed radio stations and personalized recommendations. Nokia Music+ goes beyond these features for those willing to pay a monthly fee for it. Nokia Music+ gives listeners unlimited skips, unlimited downloads to their phone, higher quality music streaming, access to song lyrics, and a desktop client that allows subscribers to stream music to their PC. The service will first be available in European markets in the coming weeks for €3.99 per month. Nokia Music is available in the U.S. on devices such as the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820, but Nokia has not explicitly said if Nokia Music+ will be made available in the U.S.
Nokia today confirmed that it will produce no more devices using its old Symbian smartphone platform. Buried in its fourth quarter results, Nokia said, "During our transition to Windows Phone through 2012, we continued to ship devices based on Symbian. The Nokia 808 PureView, a device which showcases our imaging capabilities and which came to market in mid-2012, was the last Symbian device from Nokia." Nokia has already sold off most of the business units related to Symbian. The company first announced its intent to switch from Symbian to Windows Phone in February 2011. It released its first Windows Phone Lumia smartphones in late 2011. Its most recent models include the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820/822. Nokia sold 4.4 million Lumia devices during the fourth quarter of 2012, 700,000 of which were sold in North America. Nokia still sold 2.2 million Symbian devices. The company recorded a profit for the first time in six quarters.