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Nokia 3310 3G Hits Best Buy This Month for $60

Friday, 7:53 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HMD Global, the maker of Nokia-branded handsets, today said the 3310 3G will be available in the U.S. through Best Buy. The phone can be preordered online starting today and it will reach stores October 29. It costs $60 and is sold unlocked without a contract. The 3310 3G is a retro, bar-style feature phone with a 2-megapixel camera, a memory card slot, Bluetooth, and FM radio. This U.S. variant of the phone has quad-band GSM and WCDMA 1/2/5/8, which supports AT&T's network.


Nokia Adds 3G and US Support to Retro 3310

Sep 28, 2017, 7:47 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 28, 2017, 8:57 AM

HMD Global today announced the Nokia 3310 3G, an updated version of its retro feature phone announced earlier this year. The new model is slightly larger and has a new interface, but externally looks like the 2G version of this year's 3310. The design is inspired by the 3110 that was one of Nokia's best-selling GSM phones when cell phones were first taking off globally. The 3310 3G comes in two versions, one of which has quad-band GSM and WCDMA 1/2/5/8, which would support AT&T's network in the US. It also has a 2-megapixel camera, a memory card slot, Bluetooth, and and FM radio. It will go on sale next month, first in Australia.


Qualcomm and Nokia Partner to Develop 5G NR Tech

Sep 11, 2017, 8:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Qualcomm and Nokia today said they plan to jointly test potential 5G technologies in an effort to speed up adoption of the standard. Specifically, the companies intend to conduct over-the-air field trials of 5G New Radio (NR) Release-15, which is still being developed by the 3GPP. Nokia will supply its 5G First AirScale base station and Qualcomm will supply a prototype device capable of connecting to the network. They will explore 5G NR in the 3.5 GHz and 4.5 GHz bands, as well as mmWave spectrum in the 28 GHz and 39 GHz bands. They'll use technologies including massive MIMO, beamforming, adaptive TDD, scalable OFDM waveforms, advanced coding and modulation, and a low-latency slot structures. The goal is to reach multi-gigabit per second speeds with latency as low as 1ms. The interoperability testing will start in the second half of 2017. The companies hope to have their technology developed in line with the official adoption of the 5G standard, which is expected in 2019 or 2020.


Hands On with the Nokia 8

Sep 1, 2017, 1:38 PM   by Rich Brome   updated Sep 1, 2017, 1:39 PM

The Nokia 8 is the first flagship phone from the "new Nokia". What separates it from the rest of Nokia's current lineup is the dual-camera system with Zeiss lenses. Zeiss optics were a key feature of old-Nokia phones, so it's nice to see that partnership revived. Not many people have seen the Nokia 8 in person yet, but we managed to snag some hands-on time with it. Read on for our impressions.

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HMD Global Intros Nokia 8 Flagship Smartphone

Aug 16, 2017, 2:40 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

HMD Global, the sole licensee of the Nokia brand, today announced the Nokia 8 flagship Android smartphone. The handset is milled from 6000 series aluminum and polished to a high-gloss finish in black, blue, silver, and copper. The Nokia 8 boasts a 5.3-inch quad HD screen with curved Gorilla Glass 5, and it is powered by a Snapdragon 835 processor with 4 or 6 GB of RAM, and 64 or 128 GB of storage (depending on color selection.) All versions support microSD memory cards up to 128 GB. Like many modern flagships, the Nokia 8 adopts a dual-camera configuration with two 13-megapixel cameras on the rear with LED flash. One camera captures full color images and the other captures monochrome images along with depth and contrast information. Both feature Zeiss optics. The front camera has a 13-megapixel sensor, too, with a display-based flash. All three cameras have f/2.0 lenses. The Nokia 8 includes software that allows people to shoot photos and/or video with both the front and rear cameras at the same time. Other specs include a 3.090mAh battery, Bluetooth, GPS, WiFi, NFC, and Cat 9 LTE. The phone runs Android 7.1 Nougat and costs $700. HMD Global didn't immediately specify where the Nokia 8 will be sold.


HMD Global, Maker of Nokia Phones, Parts Ways with CEO

Jul 19, 2017, 1:40 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

HMD Global today said Arto Nummela, CEO and member of its Global Board of Directors, will leave the company effective immediately. Florian Seiche, who has co-lead the company as president since its founding, has been appointed acting CEO in Nummela's place. Sam Chin, Chairman of the Board, said, "Arto Nummela has played a key role in the creation of the HMD Global operation, building the team and launching our first products. On behalf of the whole Board, I thank Arto for his contribution and wish him well in his future endeavors." HMD Global is the sole licensee of the Nokia brand. Earlier this year, it debuted three Android-based smartphones under the Nokia brand. The company is widely expected to introduce a Nokia-branded Android flagship device in the weeks ahead. HMD Global did not provide a reason for Nummela's sudden departure. Earlier this week, HDM Global debuted the Nokia 130, an entry-level feature phone running Series 30+.


HMD Global Trots Out the Nokia 130, an Entry-Level Feature Phone

Jul 17, 2017, 9:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HMD Global today announced the Nokia 130, a bar-style handset that runs the Series 30+ platform with basic connectivity apps and a handful of simple games. The handset has a 1.8-inch screen, number pad, 1,020mAh battery, Bluetooth, music player, FM radio, and headphone jack. The Nokia 130 includes a camera, 4 MB of RAM and 8 MB of storage, and it supports memory cards up to 32 GB. It comes in red, gray, and black. Like the Nokia 3310, which was announced earlier this year, the new Nokia 130 supports GSM/EDGE 900/1800MHz, making it incompatible with U.S. networks. HMD Global is the only company that licenses the Nokia brand for handsets.


Vertu to Close Up Shop

Jul 13, 2017, 12:03 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Vertu is through. The company plans to shutter its doors and jettison some 200 employees, according to the Financial Times. Vertu started out as the luxury arm of Nokia. It took Nokia handsets and dressed them up in fine materials, such as precious metals, leather, and jewels. Nokia sold the outfit in 2012 and it has bounced between a number of owners since. Vertu was most recently purchased by Turkish businessman Murat Hakan Uzan. Vertu has about $157 million in debt, though it recently signed a deal with Chinese phone maker (and Alcatel parent) TCL. The Financial Times did not say when Vertu might permanently close up shop. Vertu did not comment on the Financial Times' story.


HMD Global to Use Zeiss Optics On Future Nokia Phones

Jul 6, 2017, 7:28 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

HMD Global today announced a new partnership that will see Zeiss return to Nokia-branded handsets. HMD Global is the world's exclusive licensee of the Nokia brand. Earlier this year HMD Global released a trio of Android-based handsets. This rekindled relationship with Zeiss will see the two companies work together to improve HMD Global's imaging capabilities with Zeiss-branded optics on Nokia phones. HMD Global didn't say when it might bring Zeiss-equipped phones to market.


Nokia and Xiaomi Sign Patent Agreement

Jul 5, 2017, 7:01 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia today said it has signed an agreement with Xiaomi that will see the companies collaborate in a number of different ways. Nokia will provide Xiaomi with network infrastructure equipment and the companies will work together on optical transport solutions for connecting data centers. The two plan to explore other business opportunities, such as augmented/virtual reality, artificial intelligence, and the Internet of Things. Nokia and Xiaomi have also signed a multi-year, cross-licensing patent agreement with respect to standard essential cellular patents. Terms of the deal were not disclosed.


Amazon Loads Up Its Roster of Prime Exclusive Phones

Jun 27, 2017, 9:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Amazon today added a handful of handsets to is lineup of discounted Prime Exclusive devices. The Prime Exclusive program offers phones at lower prices so long as you subscribe to Amazon Prime (which costs $100 per year) and are willing to view advertisements on the lock screen of your smartphone. The new additions include the Nokia 6, which is discounted to $180; the Alcatel Idol 5S, which is discounted to $200; the Alcatel A50, which is discounted to $100; the Alcatel A30 Plus, which is discounted to $80; and the Motorola Moto E4, which is discounted to $100. All the phones can be preordered starting today. The E4 ships June 30 and the rest ship July 10.


Nokia 6 to Be Available from Amazon Next Month

Jun 26, 2017, 8:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jun 26, 2017, 8:24 AM

HMD Global, the company that makes Nokia-branded handsets, today said it will sell the Nokia 6 smartphone in the U.S. via Amazon. The 6 is the best of the three Nokia Android phones currently available, though it still falls in the entry-level segment. The Nokia 6 runs Android 7 Nougat, has a 5.5-inch full HD screen, includes stereo speakers with Dolby Atmos sound, relies on a Snapdragon 430 processor with 3 GB of RAM, and a boasts a 16-megapixel main camera with an 8-megapixel front camera. It packs a 3,000mAh battery, as well as Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, WiFi, fingerprint sensor, 3.5mm headphone jack, and microUSB. LTE 4G support for U.S. networks is limited at best. It supports LTE Bands 2, 3, 4, 7, 12/17, 28, 38. It is only partially compatible with AT&T's 4G network because it is missing LTE Bands 29 and 30. The Nokia 6 is more compatible with T-Mobile's LTE 4G network. The matte black and silver color options are expected to go on sale in July for $229, with the blue and copper colors arriving later.


Apple and Nokia Bury the Patent Hatchet

May 23, 2017, 7:10 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Apple today said it has settled its patent complaints against Nokia and the two have signed a multi-year patent license. The two corporations sued one another in December of last year concerning licensing fees for Nokia's patents. Nokia said Apple refused to pay fair prices, while Apple accused Nokia of antitrust behavior. Nokia had sold its patents to patent-assertion firms that then demanded higher rates. Moving forward, Nokia will provide Apple with network infrastructure products and services, and Apple will resume selling Nokia-owned smart devices (Withings) as the two look at future potential digital health offerings. Apple is set to pay Nokia a significant upfront fee and then on-going payments. Both companies expressed positive sentiments in having the matter behind them. "We are pleased with this resolution of our dispute and we look forward to expanding our business relationship with Nokia," said Apple COO Jeff Williams. Companies often use lawsuits as a negotiation tactic.


Hands On with the Nokia 3, 5, and 6

Feb 27, 2017, 8:14 AM   by Rich Brome

Nokia is back in the phone game, now with proper Android smartphones. Their strategy is affordable, mass-market phones with premium design and construction. They have three models in this lineup, all with solid metal bodies, generic Android software, and low, low prices. We checked them out. Read on for our impressions.

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Nokia Brings Back the 3310

Feb 26, 2017, 11:35 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 26, 2017, 1:48 PM

Nokia today introduced a new version of the old Nokia 3310 phone. It includes a color screen, Snake, and the original Nokia ringtone. It only supports 2G GSM networks. It also comes in four colors. Nokia claims 22-hour talk-time and a month of stand-by. It will retail for "average global retail price of €49".


Nokia Expands its Android Lineup

Feb 26, 2017, 11:32 AM   by Rich Brome   updated Feb 26, 2017, 1:57 PM

HMD Global — the new custodian of the Nokia brand for phones — today announced three new Android-based Nokia phones.

  • Nokia 6: Already released in China, this 5.5-inch-screen, metal-bodied phone will released globally for 229 euros. Its display is full HD. It has stereo speakers and Dolby Atmos sound. It will come in Matte Black, Silver, Tempered Blue and Copper for €229, plus a glossy "Arte Black" special edition for €299.
  • Nokia 5: This solid aluminum phone has a 5.2-inch HD screen and a fingerprint reader in the home button. It's powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 430 chip. It will come in four colors: Matte Black, Silver, Tempered Blue and Copper. It will retail for €189.
  • Nokia 3: An affordable phone with a solid metal body, it has a 5-inch screen and 8 megapixel cameras on both the front and back. It will retail for €139.
All three have a "pure" version of Android 7 Nougat, with Google Assistant, and will be available globally by June of this year. The current published specs show poor support for US LTE networks. It's unclear if US versions are planned.


Intel Claims LTE Modem to Deliver 1 Gigabit Speeds

Feb 21, 2017, 12:58 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Intel today announced the XMM 7560 LTE modem, a fifth-generation wireless radio that can produce broadband-like speeds in a variety of mobile devices. The XMM 7560 is manufactured using Intel's 14nm process and supports LTE Advanced Category 16 for downloads up to 1 Gbps and Category 13 for uploads up to 225 Mbps. The Intel XMM 7560 modem supports 5x carrier aggregation for up to 100 MHz combined bandwidth on the downlink, and 3xCA for up to 60 MHz on the uplink. It also supports 4x4 MIMO and 256QAM. Intel says the XMM 7560 works well with its SMARTi 7 RF transceiver, which supports up to 35 LTE bands and 230 carrier aggregation combinations for worldwide compatibility. The XMM 7560 also packs envelope tracking and other power optimization features to improve battery life in smartphones, tablets, and PCs. The Intel XMM 7560 will sample during the first half of the year and Intel expects to see it in consumer devices shortly thereafter. Separately, Intel this week announced new efforts in its push toward 5G. It is working with Nokia, AT&T, Telefonica, 5TONIC, Ericsson, and others to define, prototype, and deliver early 5G products.


BlackBerry Sues Nokia Over Patents

Feb 15, 2017, 8:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

BlackBerry filed a patent infringement lawsuit against Nokia this week. BlackBerry claims Nokia is using its patented technology in select telecommunications equipment that Nokia sells to network operators, such as T-Mobile, without the proper licenses. The 11 patents in question were originally held by Nortel Networks and, in a bankruptcy sale, later sold to Rockstar Consortium, a patent-holding collective including Blackberry, Apple, and Microsoft. Many of the patents are said to be standard essential. BlackBerry isn't looking to block Nokia's use of the patents. Moreover, BlackBerry is obligated to license them at fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory terms. "BlackBerry seeks to obtain recompense for Nokia’s unauthorized use of BlackBerry’s patented technology," said the company in a statement, but it didn't specify what sort of recompense or damages it is seeking. BlackBerry filed the complaint in Delaware.


ITC to Investigate Nokia's Patent Complaints Against Apple

Jan 24, 2017, 12:09 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The U.S. International Trade Commission today said it will investigate claims made by Nokia that Apple's smartphones and tablets violate its patented technology. Nokia filed its lawsuit with the ITC in December, accusing Apple of importing and selling "mobile phones, tablet computers, and components thereof" that infringe Nokia-held patents. Nokia is seeking an exclusion order and a cease and desist order. An administrative law judge will make a preliminary decision, followed by binding decision from the full ITC panel. The matter at hand pertains to ongoing, failed patent licensing negotiations between the two companies. Technology companies often use lawsuits to force business partners to agree to certain terms. Following Nokia's action against Apple in December, Apple filed a retaliatory lawsuit accusing Nokia of antitrust behavior. The government hasn't yet officially responded to Apple's legal filings.


Nokia's Comeback Gets Its Start In China

Jan 9, 2017, 8:19 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Jan 9, 2017, 8:39 AM

HMD Global this week announced the Nokia 6, the first smartphone to fall under the company's plan to resurrect the Nokia brand. HMD Global is a Finland-based business with the sole license to design smartphones using the Nokia brand. Foxconn is HMD Global's exclusive manufacturer. The Nokia 6 is milled from a single block of aluminum and then anodized 2 times over 10 hours to ensure a smooth finish. The device has a 5.5-inch full HD screen with 2.5D Gorilla Glass. The Nokia 6 is powered by a Snapdragon 430 processor with 4 GB of RAM, 64 GB of storage, and Qualcomm's X6 LTE modem. HMD says the main camera has a 16-megapixel sensor at f/2.0 with automatic scene detection and phase-detection autofocus, while the selfie camera has an 8-megapixel sensor. Dual amplifiers provide plenty of audio power and Dolby Atmos software helps shape the sound. The Nokia 6 will ship with Android 7 Nougat. Pricing is going to be set around $245. The device will ship during the early months of 2017. HMD Global did not say what LTE bands the phone supports, but it will only be sold in a China.


Nokia, Apple File Dueling Patent Lawsuits

Dec 21, 2016, 1:55 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia and Apple have this week filed patent-related lawsuits against one another in various jurisdictions. Nokia's claims, filed in Germany and the U.S., say that Apple is using Nokia's patented technology without permission. The companies have been negotiating licensing fees for Nokia's patents for several years and can't agree on pricing. "Since agreeing [to] a license covering some patents from the Nokia Technologies portfolio in 2011, Apple has declined subsequent offers made by Nokia to license other of its patented inventions which are used by many of Apple's products," said Nokia. The lawsuit is meant to force Apple to agree to Nokia's terms. On the flip side, Apple is accusing Nokia of antitrust behavior. It claims Nokia divested a number of its standard essential patents to patent-licensing firms (in this case, Acacia and Conversant) in order to circumvent fair, reasonable, and non-discriminatory pricing principles that apply to such patents. "With its cell phone business dying, Nokia began to seek out willing conspirators and to commence its illegal patent transfer scheme in full force; that scheme has continued in full effect to the present. The driving force behind Nokia's strategy was to diffuse its patent portfolio and place it in the hands of PAEs. Acacia and Conversant were its chief conspirators," said Apple in its complaint. Apple's lawsuit was first reported by PatentlyApple.


Nokia Pins Smartphone Comeback on HMD Global

Dec 1, 2016, 8:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia today said it plans to return to the smartphone business during the first half of 2017 through its partnership with HMD Global. HMD Global recently completed a series of transactions between HMD, FIH Mobile Limited, and Microsoft that will allow it to make phones bearing the Nokia brand. The partnership between HMD and Nokia was first announced in May. HMD Global is a Finland-based business and will design smartphones that will then be manufactured exclusively by Foxconn. Foxconn is one of the world's largest device makers and manufactures the iPhone for Apple. HMD Global will pay Nokia licensing and royalty fees for smartphone and tablet sales. HMD Global boasts experienced Nokia veterans among its leadership team, but Nokia itself has no investment nor ownership stake in HMD. HMD Global and Nokia are relying on the know-how of the former Nokia execs at HMD's helm and the strength of the Nokia brand to return to the market. Nokia sold its smartphone business to Microsoft in 2014, which was then wholly based in Microsoft's Windows Phone platform. Moving forward, Nokia-branded handsets will run Google's Android platform. "We've been overwhelmed by the enthusiasm shown around the world for the return of the Nokia brand to smartphones," said Brad Rodrigues, interim president of Nokia Technologies.


T-Mobile Outs Windows 10 VR Phone From Alcatel

Oct 26, 2016, 9:39 AM   by Rich Brome

T-Mobile today listed the "Alcatel IDOL 4S with Windows 10 VR" on its web site. The unique version of the Idol 4S not only runs Windows 10, but sports many of the upgrades available in the related BlackBerry DTEK60, such as the high-end Snapdragon 820 processor, 21-megapixel camera, and USB Type-C connector, none of which are in the standard Idol 4S. The Idol 4S with Windows 10 also includes free VR goggles (for a limited time) for use with "pre-loaded games and videos". Curiously, while the standard Idol 4S includes a Quad-HD display ideal for VR, this version steps down to a full-HD display, according to T-Mobile's specs. The Idol 4S with Windows 10 also supports Windows Continuum, which lets you connect a screen and keyboard to turn the phone into a full Windows 10 computer. Other features of the phone include a memory card slot, stereo speakers, 8-megapixel front camera, and 4 GB of RAM. T-Mobile's specs do not mention NFC. Pricing and release date have yet to be announced. Microsoft is


Microsoft Adds More Sunrise Features to Outlook Calendar

Sep 13, 2016, 11:24 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today updated its Outlook email and calendar app for Android and iOS devices. The refreshed communications and scheduling tool offers a number of new features aimed at the calendar. For example, Outlook now offers design elements borrowed from Sunrise (a calendar app acquired by Microsoft.) The Outlook calendar will show things like coffee cup and bike emoji when people schedule coffee meetings or bike rides. Moreover, Outlook will autocomplete addresses when filling in meeting locations, as well as allow users to tap the time/date on the calendar to create events with those details filled in automatically. Meeting participants will be notified automatically if the organizer adjusts meeting start/end times, and users can create Skype for Business meetings directly from their phone. Last, Outlook will allow people to discover and subscribe to interesting calendars, such as sporting events, holidays, and more. Microsoft's Outlook email and calendar app for iOS and Android is free to download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.


AT&T Spearheading Robocall 'Strike Force'

Aug 19, 2016, 9:11 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T and dozens of other companies are escalating the war on robocalls with a new Strike Force aimed at disrupting spammers' ability to call and pester consumers. AT&T CEO Randal Stephenson says carriers, device makers, OS developers, network designers, regulators, and lawmakers will all need to work together to create a play book to tackle the problem. "In parallel with technological solutions, we need our regulatory and law enforcement agencies to go after the bad actors. Shutting down the bad guys is a necessary step, and a powerful example to others. Our goal isn't complicated: Stop unwanted robocalls. Easy to say. Hard to do," said Stephenson in remarks made at the FCC's first meeting of the Robocall Strike Force. Industry player are gathering today to discuss initial plans and are expected to report back with more solid short- and long-term plans on October 19. Some of the companies participating in the Strike Force include AT&T, Apple, Blackberry, Comcast, Ericsson, Google, LG, Microsoft, Nokia, Qualcomm, Samsung, Sprint, T-Mobile, U.S. Cellular, and Verizon.


Microsoft Pushing Windows 10 Mobile Anniversary Update

Aug 16, 2016, 1:48 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today made the Windows 10 Anniversary update available to devices running Windows 10 Mobile. The update is the first major improvement to the Windows 10 platform. It adds features and makes improvements to phones such as the Lumia 650, 950, and 950 XL. Some of the changes impact the Edge browser and Maps app. Unlocked devices can snag the update through the settings menu, but carrier-locked phones will need to wait for the carrier-specific update to arrive. The Windows 10 Anniversary update is free to download and install.


New Nokia Phones One Step Closer to Reality

Aug 15, 2016, 8:04 AM   by Eric M. Zeman   updated Aug 15, 2016, 10:03 AM

HMD Global has hired a former Nokia executive to help kickstart its phone ambitions. HMD Global is a Finnish company that licensed the Nokia name with the intent of making Nokia-branded smartphones. Today HMD Global picked up Pekka Rantala, former CEO of Rovio, to serve as its Chief Marketing Officer. Before he worked at Rovio, Rentala spent 17 years at Nokia. HMD Global will design Android-based smartphones and tablets that will be manufactured by FIH Mobile, a subsidiary of Foxconn. Microsoft sold its feature phone business — the last remnants of Nokia's former hardware unit — to FIH earlier this year. HMD expects to spend $500 million over the next few years to increase its ability to make and market mobile devices. In addition to branding rights, Nokia is supplying HMD with cellular standard essential patent licenses in return for royalty payments, but Nokia itself is not investing in HMD. Nokia continues to focus on its core telecoms business.


Starbucks Debuts Brand New Windows 10 Mobile App

Aug 3, 2016, 11:39 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Starbucks today released a new application for Microsoft's Windows 10 Mobile platform. The app, available in the U.S., U.K., and Canada, allows Windows users to find stores, manage account details, and make payments. People can use the app to send e-gifts, check their account balance and transactions, leave digital tips, and track Starbucks rewards. Starbucks for Windows 10 Mobile is free to download from the Windows Store.


Microsoft to Trim Another 2,850 Employees

Jul 29, 2016, 7:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft revealed more job cuts on Thursday as it continues to wind down its mobile phone business. The company plans to reduce headcount by 2,850 employees, primarily in its mobile phone and sales businesses. These cuts are in addition to the 1,850 job eliminations announced in May, also in the phone unit. Microsoft expects to finalize the cuts by the middle of 2017. Windows Phone's presence in the smartphone market has been hovering around 1% for the last few quarters.


Microsoft Develops Camera App for iPhone

Jul 27, 2016, 8:33 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today released a camera app for the iPhone called Microsoft Pix. The app uses artificial intelligence to set parameters such as exposure, aperture, and color in order to get the best possible shot. The app has a long list of features. Microsoft says its AI includes face recognition so it automatically knows when it is photographing people to create better portraits. Pix can shoot regular photos and videos, as well as capture bursts. The app can bracket images, allowing users to pick the best one. Pix includes a GIF creator and timelapse mode, and syncs with the iPhone's camera roll in order to make for easier sharing. Microsoft Pix is free to download from the iTunes App Store.


Groove Music for Android and iOS Snags Update

Jul 19, 2016, 7:36 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft has updated its Groove Music application for Android and iOS devices for the first time since September 2015. Microsoft says the refreshed application offers a number of performance and feature improvements. For example, playback should be more reliable, albums and songs should download faster, and a wider variety of screen sizes and resolutions are supported. The app gains a tool for exploring new releases and popular songs from top artists, as well as new sorting options for viewing music collections. Last, the sign-in process is quicker when using a Microsoft account. Microsoft warns that app will need to rebuild users' libraries from scratch to improve sync. This may take a few moments when the app is first launched. Groove Music is free to download from the iTunes App Store and Google Play Store.


Nokia and Samsung Expand Patent Agreement

Jul 13, 2016, 9:35 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia and Samsung have broadened an existing patent cross-licensing agreement to include more intellectual property. The companies ended patent litigation between the two in February with an initial cross-licensing agreement. Nokia and Samsung have built on that initial agreement to more fully take advantage of each company's offerings. Nokia and Samsung did not say what technologies the patents include, nor how much money is involved. Nokia did say, however, that the deal will push expected revenue from its patent-licensing business to more than $1 billion for the year. Nokia chiefly focuses on wireless networking infrastructure. Samsung operates a networking business, too, in addition to its consumer electronics, display, memory, and other component businesses.


Samsung to Buy Cloud Company Joyent

Jun 16, 2016, 7:15 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Samsung today said it has agreed to acquire Joyent, a U.S.-based cloud services provider. Samsung will use Joyent's assets to support various products, including mobile devices, internet of things, and its own cloud-based software. Samsung's competitors, such as Apple and Microsoft, offer cloud services like iCloud and OneDrive to help tie together their respective ecosystems. Joyent will help Samsung fill that gap in its online services. Joyent will continue to operate as a standalone company and will retain its current client base. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. The acquisition is subject to customary closing conditions.


Verizon to Delete Its Paid Visual Voicemail Service

Jun 8, 2016, 9:47 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Verizon Wireless said it will discontinue its $2.99 Visual Voicemail service come July 8. All customers who use the Visual Voicemail app will be transitioned to Verizon's free, basic voicemail service. Verizon says customers won't lose their existing voicemails, but may need to make room in their voicemail inbox, as well as reset their voicemail greeting. The list of phones impacted by the change is significant, including old and new models from BlackBerry, Casio, HTC, Kyocera, LG, Motorola, Nokia, Pantech, and Samsung. Verizon did not say why it is discontinuing the Visual Voicemail service.


Rivada Mercury Proposes FirstNet Network for First Responders

Jun 7, 2016, 9:00 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

A collection of telecommunications companies have banded together with the goal of creating a nationwide LTE voice and data network for first responders. The group formed a new company, called Rivada Mercury, to manage the deployment. The participating firms include Rivada Networks, Harris Corp., Ericsson, Nokia, Fujitsu, Intel Security, and Black & Veatch. Rivada Mercury will use 700MHz spectrum (Band 14), licensed to FirstNet, to build the network. Rivada says a key differentiator in its model is the use of Dynamic Spectrum Arbitrage (DSA) technology. This will allow Rivada to sell excess capacity to commercial tenants without impacting first responders' access to the network. Rivada will rely on this strategy to generate the income needed to fund the network. Rivada Mercury did not say when it expects to begin work on the network, nor when it expects to finish deploying it.

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AT&T Expands 5G Trials, Claims 10Gbps Speeds

Jun 6, 2016, 7:16 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

AT&T today announced plans to extend its 5G testing to three more cities. AT&T will continue to test in Austin, Texas, and will also begin testing in Atlanta, Ga., Middletown, N.J., and San Ramon, Calif. AT&T says it recently reached a milestone in testing: it pushed speeds higher than 10Gbps with partner Ericsson. AT&T's tests are all being performed in labs, though the company says its labs are able to simulate real-world environments and scenarios. For example, AT&T can test how its 5G network might react at a sporting event, where a large number of customers might connect at the same time. Aside from speed, latency is an important aspect of 5G. AT&T says its early latency tests are promising, though it declined to share any numbers. Latency needs to be as close to zero as possible for situations such as self-driving cars, so they may react appropriately to unexpected changes in driving conditions. AT&T believes it will move to outdoor testing of fixed locations in Austin and Middletown by the end of the summer. The company hopes its progress will help it contribute to the international 5G standard, which has yet to be defined. Last, AT&T said it has added partner Nokia to the list of vendors helping it with 5G. Nokia is, specifically, researching millimeter wave spectrum use, beamforming, and higher levels of throughput.


Jolla Debuts New Phone and Community Device Program

May 27, 2016, 7:31 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Jolla today added another chapter to its resurrection story by announcing a brand new smartphone and device community. The Jolla C is a simple handset that runs Sailfish OS 2.0. The phone has a 5-inch 720p HD screen; 1.3 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 212 processor with 2 GB of RAM and 16 GB of storage; 8-megapixel main camera and 2-megaixel selfie camera; and a removable 2,500mAh battery. The phone includes the typical batch of radios, but LTE support is limited to bands 1, 3, 7, and 20, which makes it incompatible with U.S. networks. Further, Jolla has created a new community around the Jolla C meant for developers and enthusiasts. The program includes access to support sessions, developer materials, and invitations to community events. Jolla is limiting the Jolla C smartphone to just 1,000 units, and is reassuring those interested that the device is already being manufactured and will ship in July. (Jolla reneged on some hardware shipments last year.) Jolla was created by former Nokia employees and Sailfish OS was born from the Ashes of Moblin/Maemo Linux.


Microsoft to Cut 1,850 Smartphone Workers

May 25, 2016, 7:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Microsoft today said it plans to further streamline its smartphone business, an action that includes job cuts and restructuring charges. The company plans to cut 1,350 jobs from its facilities in Finland, as well as another 500 jobs globally. The company expects to take a charge of about $950 million, of which $200 million will be used for severance packages. "We are focusing our phone efforts where we have differentiation — with enterprises that value security, manageability, and our Continuum capability, and consumers who value the same," said Satya Nadella, Microsoft's CEO. "We will continue to innovate across devices and on our cloud services across all mobile platforms." Microsoft says it expects to complete most job cuts by the end of this year and all cuts by July 2017. Sales of Windows 10 Mobile phones began in late 2015, but the platform has lost more ground since then, accounting for just 1% of smartphone sales during the first quarter, according to Gartner. Microsoft recently sold its feature phone business to a Foxconn subsidiary, and Nokia recently gave that same subsidiary the rights to use its brand on mobile devices. This paves the way for Nokia to make a return, of sorts, to the mobile phone business.


Nokia-Branded Phones to Make a Comeback

May 18, 2016, 9:18 AM   by Eric M. Zeman

Nokia and Microsoft today put in motion a series of deals that will eventually lead to Nokia-branded handsets returning to the market. Microsoft has agreed to sell its feature phone business to FIH Mobile Limited, a subsidiary of Foxconn, for about $350 million. The deal will include the transfer of select assets, such as manufacturing facilities and about 4,500 employees. At the same time, Nokia has agree to license its brand to Finland-based HMD global Oy, which has partnered with FIH Mobile to make smartphones and tablets. HMD expects to spend $500 million over the next few years to increase its ability to make and market mobile devices. Nokia said in addition to branding rights, it will supply HMD with cellular standard essential patent licenses in return for loyalty payments. Nokia itself will not invest in HMD. FIH Mobile's parent company, Foxconn, manufacturers the iPhone for Apple.


FCC, FTC Query Carriers and Phone Makers Over Security

May 9, 2016, 12:59 PM   by Eric M. Zeman

The FCC and FTC today asked carriers and phone manufacturers how they handle security updates for their devices. The FCC sent letters to AT&T, Sprint, T-Mobile, Verizon Wireless, and other carriers, while the FTC queried Apple, Blackberry, Google, HTC, LG, Microsoft, Motorola, and Samsung. In particular, the agencies want to know: the factors carriers/OEMs consider in deciding whether to patch a vulnerability on a particular phone; data on the specific phones sold in the U.S. since August 2013; the vulnerabilities that have affected those devices; and whether and when the company patched such vulnerabilities. The government said the line of inquiry is to help it further understand how these companies do or do not protect consumers. "Consumers may be left unprotected, for long periods of time or even indefinitely, by any delays in patching vulnerabilities once they are discovered," said the FCC. "To date, operating system providers, original equipment manufacturers, and mobile service providers have responded to address vulnerabilities as they arise. There are, however, significant delays in delivering patches to actual devices — and that older devices may never be patched." Google provides monthly security updates to Nexus-branded Android devices, but individual phone makers lag badly. Apple provides occasional updates.


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