Tag Archives: Lumia

Looking Forward to Windows Phone in 2015

windows-phones

As 2014 winds down, Windows Phone is at a crucial stage in its lifecycle. Again. Earlier in 2014, Microsoft closed the acquisition of Nokia’s hardware division and Windows 10 was launched in a Technical Preview form. Nokia’s acquisition, combined with the upcoming Windows 10-based version of the phone operating system, has perhaps resulted in a slight pause in release of true flagship devices that can compete with the latest versions of competing platforms, the iPhone and Android/Nexus lineup.

So, as we look forward to the early 2014 look at the combined Windows RT and Windows Phone OS based on Windows 10, what can Microsoft do to preserve and grow its share, both market share as well as mind share? Recently, some prominent writers have written in detail about why they are no longer using Windows Phone as their primary device. Key takeaways there were lack of proper support of the platform by the largest mobile network in the US, Verizon Wireless, as well as lack of key apps on the platform. Apps that include the likes of Slack, Trello, Snapchat, Tinder, etc.

I have my own reasons why I switched to using iPhone 5s as my primary device last year. I know Windows Phone 8.1 added Notification Center but many of the problems are still valid issues for those who care about top-end Windows Phone experience. For example, adding Action Center to store all notifications is a great start, but in order to take action on those notifications, you have to tap it which opens the app, and then you take action within the app. Android, and now even iOS to a certain extent, have actionable notifications and those need to be implemented on Windows Phone.

The broader issue with Windows Phone is that for the third year in a row, enthusiasts are made to wait for “the next version” for feature parity with iOS and Android. Meanwhile those two platforms, due to the incredible ecosystem which creates a great virtuous cycle, have implemented next-generation features that move the goal posts for Windows Phone. Also, this wait for the next version of Windows Phone only takes care of part of the problem plaguing the platform; app developers are still not flocking to the platform because in the US, where most of the innovative apps have been created in the recent past, Windows Phone is still languishing around the 3% market share. Forget Windows Phone, even choosing Android as the second platform to be supported by small developers, is hard (although that Android situation is changing slowly).

Here are some things to look forward to as yet another chapter opens for Windows phone (yes, the “p” is lower case, because rumors suggest that Windows Phone operating system will be merged with Windows RT and just called Windows 10):

Windows 10

There’s a lot of hope for Windows 10’s ARM-based OS version, the merger of Windows RT and Windows Phone. How will apps built for Windows Phone work on Windows 10? What about additional features in the OS which will create an unforeseen appetite both on the consumer side as well as on the developer side? Cortana has rightly won accolades for how well she works, but it has not moved the needle much for device sales. Granted, it is not fully launched yet, but still. Also, what else can Windows 10 do that iOS and Android don’t do, and more importantly, can Microsoft find something that Windows 10 can do which iOS and Android *won’t* be able to do?

Windows 10 Product Family
Windows 10 Product Family

Flagships

One of the issues I had with Windows Phone when I got my iPhone 5s was the increased (and justifiable) focus by Microsoft on the lower end. They see their best market potential in markets which haven’t achieved smartphone saturation yet. In those markets, Microsoft has been able to sell their entry-level devices quite well. So Microsoft making “affordable flagship” a term for mid-range devices with some high-end specifications is completely understandable.

However, many customers in the developed markets would love to get a true high-end phone that competes well with the flagship iPhone and Android devices. The Lumia 1020, for example, has no successor yet. Yes, the Lumia 1520 is a great phone but there needs to be a non-phablet version of that device to make it appealing to the larger customer base.

Lumia 1520
Lumia 1520
Lumia Icon
Lumia Icon

Updates

Yes, Microsoft did create a bypass of sorts by making it possible for any “developer” to get direct updates of the software from Microsoft. Pretty much anyone can sign up to be a “developer” by signing into App Studio online, thereby making sure any enthusiast who cares about latest OS versions, will get it directly from Microsoft. That has helped reduce the angst among the enthusiasts but it is only one part of the updates customers need; firmware that makes devices work better, is delivered by the OEMs and via the carriers. Carriers have no real urgency to complete (or in some cases, even start!) testing and delivering the firmware to Windows Phone devices.

Could Microsoft come up with a way to deliver even more firmware directly? I mean, Windows on PCs get all updates delivered directly, and if Windows 10’s mobile version is going to be like “big Windows”, then I am optimistic that most of the updates could be delivered directly by Microsoft. Having said that, could Microsoft find a way, Windows 10 or otherwise, to deliver it without the need for the device to be a developer device?

Mind share

This is a really tough nut for Microsoft to crack. Much of the mind share these days is delivery via the Microsoft-averse tech blogosphere which has settled down on Apple and Google as being the only two players worth caring about. In order to win them over, Microsoft has to climb a virtually impossible mountain but as we have seen in the enterprise/cloud space, it is not impossible. A few crucial strategic moves on the Azure/Visual Studio side have made Microsoft somewhat of a darling in the same tech press, and Microsoft has to find a similar set of moves to make on the consumer side in order to increase their mind share. I say this because even Windows Phone 8.1 is an excellent operating system and there is a lot to love there, but if the writers who write at prominent tech blogs don’t care to use it, and worse, dismiss it, it does not help. I am not sure what those strategic moves could be, but Microsoft does need to make those moves so that the tech press actually cares about writing about Windows devices.

I am optimistic about Windows 10. I like the fact that there will be one OS for phones and tablets and I look forward to seeing some of the well-established Windows Phone apps get upgraded to be Universal and work on small tablets as well. But most importantly, I want to see how Microsoft expands Windows 10 to work as one OS across phones, tablets and PCs. There are many interesting applications of having one OS work across devices of all form factors and I am curious to see how today’s excellent phone applications work on my Windows tablets. On the phone side, I am looking forward to some nice high-end devices and some marquee apps releasing their Universal versions soon.

Here’s looking forward to another exciting year for Microsoft and Windows!

Microsoft Lumia 535 Launched In India For INR 9,199

Microsoft finally launched the new Lumia 535 in India. This handset is the successor of the popular Lumia 530 smartphone and it is the first Lumia device to sport the Microsoft branding. Microsoft Lumia 535 is known for its ‘5x5x5′ proposition, which basically means that the device features a 5 inch qHD screen, 5 megapixel rear camera and a 5 megapixel wide angle front-facing selfie camera.

microsoft_lumia_535

It runs on the Windows Phone 8.1 OS with Lumia Denim update. Lumia 535 comes with a price-tag of just INR 9,199 and it will go on sale from November 28 in India. This handset will be available in Cyan, Bright Green, Bright Orange, Dark Grey, White and Black colors.

Microsoft offers 15 GB of free OneDrive cloud storage with this device. Apart from that, Lumia 535 owners will get free recharge worth INR 150 for 4 months on Paytm, BoxTV subscription for 2 months and Flipkart eBooks worth INR 1500. Vodafone subscribers will get 500 MB free 2G or 3G data for two months. Check out the complete specs and hands-on pics after the break.

Microsoft Lumia 535 Specifications:

  • 5 inch qHD Display
  • 960 x 540 pixels resolution
  • Corning Gorilla Glass 3
  • 1.2 GHz quad-core Snapdragon 200 processor
  • Windows Phone 8.1 Operating System with Lumia Denim
  • 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash
  • 5 megapixel front-facing camera
  • Bing vision, Lumia Camera and Lumia Selfie apps
  • Bluetooth 4.0
  • WLAN IEEE 802.11 a/b/g/n
  • 1 GB RAM
  • 8 GB internal user memory
  • 128 GB expandable memory
  • Up to 11 hours of talk-time
  • Up to 23 days of stand-by time
  • 1905 mAh removable battery

Microsoft Lumia 535 Hands-On Photos:

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Lumia Denim: Windows Phone 8.1.1 + Firmware Updates

Lumia_Camera

Among many other announcements at IFA 2014 on September 4, Microsoft announced the latest update to the Windows Phone OS. As is usually the case with Nokia’s Lumia updates, this update, called Lumia Denim, is essentially a combination of updates delivered via Windows Phone 8.1 Update (let’s just call it Windows Phone 8.1.1, shall we?) and firmware updates. These firmware updates add some new features and functionality and also improve the overall performance of Lumia devices and pre-loaded apps.

To start with, the newly announced Lumia 730, Lumia 735 and Lumia 830 will come pre-loaded with Lumia Denim. The other Windows Phone 8 Lumia devices will receive this update over the air in Q4 2014 after appropriate partner and carrier testing.

We have provided a brief overview of what’s delivered in the core OS update, but here are the features delivered via the firmware update include in Lumia Denim:

Moment Capture

4K-quality video recording at 24FPS now available on Lumia devices. You can invoke this by long pressing the camera button. Since each frame is 8.3 megapixels, each individual frame can be shared as a still image too.

Rich Capture

Auto-HDR and Dynamic Flash are now included in the images taken. This way, it will be possible to take a picture and then adjust the camera settings later, to get the perfection in the shot.

“Hey Cortana”

Cortana, the impressive personal digital assistant included first with Windows Phone 8.1, can now be invoked by just saying “Hey Cortana”. Similar to Google Now’s “OK Google”, this feature enables even quicker access to Cortana. As a side, this is enabled by the SensorCore technology, so it won’t be available on Lumia devices which do not have SensorCore.

Glance screen

Glance screen (on eligible devices) can now show additional information from Bing Health & Fitness and Bing Weather in addition to notifications, time and date, and application data.

Lumia Camera

Lumia Camera is the updated name of the application formerly known as Nokia Camera. Updates to this app make it faster and more intuitive.

Speed and improved image processing

It is now even faster to invoke the camera, and there have been speed improvements made in going from shot to shot. In addition, new image processing algorithms make lowlight images even better than before.

These non-core OS updates show again why Lumia devices are still the best bet if you want to own a Windows Phone. Unless and until we see such innovation come from HTC, Samsung and the others, it is hard to see why you would think of using a non-Lumia Windows Phone device.

Lumia 530 Announced with a Dual SIM Variant

The budget segment has been the biggest area of strength for Windows Phone devices, with handsets like the Lumia 520 and the 620 doing brisk business. The Lumia 520 alone managed to capture over a third of the Windows Phone market. Now, this crucial low-end Windows Phone handset is receiving a refresh in the form of the Lumia 530. The Lumia 530 promises to deliver more for less. However, the competition has gotten a lot tougher over the past few months with the launch of well-built Android devices like the Moto E. Does the Lumia 530 have enough to put up a good fight?

Nokua Lumia 530 1

The Lumia 530 is identical to its predecessor in terms of size and weight. The display still measures in at 4 inches, but the pixel density has been marginally improved to 245 ppi with the change in resolution to 480 x 854 pixels. The bright and vibrant colors that we associate with Nokia’s Lumia series are still there, but the Lumia 530 eschews the sharp, rectangular design in favour of a more conventional curved appearance.

Nokua Lumia 530 2

Nokua Lumia 530 3

The Lumia 530 features a Qualcomm Snapgradon 200 with a quad-core 1.2 GHz CPU that Microsoft will undoubtedly pitch as an improvement over its predecessor. However, in reality, the new processor will deliver roughly similar performance since it is a Cortex A-7, while the older one was a Cortex A-9 (Krait). Even the GPU is marginally inferior (Adreno 302 in 530 vs Adreno 305 in 520). The amount of RAM has remained unchanged at a measly 512 MB, but internal storage has been halved to 4 GB. Thankfully, the new Lumia is runs on Windows Phone 8.1, which allows the installation of apps on micro SD cards. Windows Phone is also less memory hungry than Android. So, even a device with only half a gigabyte of RAM should still be responsive and usable.

Nokua Lumia 530 4

Another piece of hardware that has been downgraded is the camera. Both the 520 and the 530 feature a 5 megapixel camera, but the latter is fixed focus and can’t capture HD (720p) videos. Front camera for video calling is still missing. The battery unit, which is unchanged, is rated at 1430 mAh.

Nokua Lumia 530 5

The Lumia 530 will be available in two variants – Single SIM and Dual SIM, and is expected to be priced at around €85 (a little over $110). Nokia also announced a companion Bang mini speaker by Coloud, which will retail for €19.

Somewhat surprisingly, the new Lumia appears to be a weaker phone than its predecessor. Everything including the chipset, camera, and storage have been downgraded. However, it might still end up being a big seller due to its newly earned quad-core status and the reduced price tag.

Official Rollout of Windows Phone 8.1 Begins. Lumia Cyan Also Released.

 windows-phones

Microsoft announced on July 15 over on the Nokia Conversations Blog that Windows Phone 8.1 is beginning to roll out to general public starting today. In addition, for Lumia devices, Nokia is also making their firmware named Cyan available in tandem.

Windows Phone 8.1: Action Center
Windows Phone 8.1: Action Center

 

As you know, Windows Phone 8.1 is a major update to Windows Phone 8 (despite the .1 name, which is mostly to be in line with Windows 8.1) which includes many features that bring it up to par with iOS and Android, and in some cases, catapult it ahead of those two. For example, Windows Phone finally gets a notification center in the form of Action Center to bring it up to par with iOS and Android. There are many other new and updated features, including:

Cortana

A digital personal assistant with a personality of her own. Many think  of it as a good blend of Siri from iPhone and Google Now. It takes the personal nature of Siri and combines it with the ambient and context-aware nature of Google Now, and throws in a privacy-focused “notebook” which stores all the information that one would want the assistant to track. I have used Cortana quite a lot since the developer preview was released and am really happy with how she works, including the recent sports predictions.

Third column of tiles

Previously this feature was only available on the larger, 1080P screen devices but now it is a setting on all Windows Phones. The added density of tiles makes it possible to see even more information on the go, and thereby makes it possible to have more wide tiles which surface more information on the live tiles.

WiFi Sense

 

Windows Phone 8.1: More tiles
Windows Phone 8.1: More tiles

This feature allows one to automatically log in to wireless hotspots, including optionally filling out browser-based login screens which are common at many wifi hotspots. The settings are saved so that the information does not have to be entered over and over again. WiFi Sense also allows one to optionally share wifi username and password with connected contacts (who obviously should be using Windows Phone), so there is no awkward password sharing involved when friends and family visit each other.

Word Flow goes to the next level

The Windows Phone keyboard is one of the best among its competition, especially given the accuracy of its predictions of the next word, but with Windows Phone 8.1, Microsoft added a gesture-based keyboard. This keyboard is similar to the ones found on Android (and coming soon to iOS 8) but combine that gestures with the predictions and you get a fast, fantastic typing experience.

Windows Phone 8.1: Wordflow with gestures
Windows Phone 8.1: Wordflow with gestures

 

Internet Explorer 11

Besides an updated browser engine, Internet Explorer now lets you share favorites, open tabs and most importantly, passwords among Windows devices (as long as they are Windows 8 and above :-)).

New Calendar view

Not only is the Calendar app now a standalone app (as evidenced by updates to the app delivered recently to those who are on the developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1), but it also adds a much-requested week view. The view is very smartly designed because when you tap on the date icon in the app bar below, it keeps the weekly view but simply expands that day of the week. Similarly, if you tap on any other day of the week, it simply expands that day. Tapping it again will switch the view to the daily view.

The Cyan firmware update is applicable to Lumia devices, and as suggested by it being firmware, the update provides lower-level improvements to the device in general. These improvements help Nokia’s great photo applications like Nokia Camera, Creative Studio and Storyteller.

Cyan also delivers a new Device Hub, which is meant to identify devices near you which you can connect to, as well as suggest apps which will be able to take advantage of the connection to the said devices. For example, if it finds a Windows 8 PC nearby, it may suggest Remote Desktop as an app, if it detects a media streaming device like a DirecTV receiver, it may suggest a media streaming app.

For the low-end Lumias like Lumia 520, 525, etc., the HERE Drive app gets bumped up to HERE Drive+. For the high-end Lumias like Lumia 1520 and Lumia Icon, Cyan enables Rich Recording and Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 sound. The high-end Lumias also get improvements in photos with improved colors and even better low-light photos along with RAW images and a new Living Images feature which adds a tiny bit of animation before the shot is taken, to add “life” to the image.

Now, for the not-so-great news. Windows Phone 8.1 and Cyan are available but they have only been delivered to the carriers. The update rolls out based on the carriers’ testing. The good thing is that Nokia is documenting the updates on their page as usual. The page is here.

I have been running the developer preview and I feel it is now up to the developers to bring their apps to the performance level that Windows Phone 8.1 provides, especially on the higher-end devices. I had almost given up on Windows Phone but Cortana and Action Center kept me interested. Along with many new apps coming to the platform, it has become a truly legitimate contender from a features perspective. The market, especially US and China, will of course speak with their wallets, but at this point Windows Phone 8.1 on a recent Lumia is not a bad choice to go for.

Here’s Nokia’s official video walking us through Windows Phone 8.1 and Cyan:

 

All images from Nokia and Windows Phone sites

Powerful and Inexpensive Lumia 635 Available on T-Mobile and MetroPCS in July

Lumia 635
Lumia 635

The extremely affordable Lumia 521 (a variant of the Lumia 520, made for T-Mobile) has a successor. Microsoft announced on July 1, that the first Windows Phone 8.1 device for the US will be arriving on T-Mobile/MetroPCS soon.

The schedule is a bit hairy, so here goes:

  • From July 5, this phone can be purchased via the Home Shopping Network
  • From July 9, it can be ordered online at t-mobile.com
  • From July 16, it will be available at T-Mobile stores
  • From July 18, it will be available at select MetroPCS stores

The pricing is $0 down and $7/month for 24 months or a promotional price of $99 off-contract.

 

Lumia 635
Lumia 635

The phone has a 4.5” screen combined with a quad-core Snapdragon processor, and unlike its predecessor, it works on the fast 4G LTE speeds. The phone will come pre-loaded with Windows Phone 8.1 and its personal digital assistant Cortana.

It is also one of the first phones to include software-based buttons on the front as well as SensorCore, the technology which enables low-power tracking of various sensors in the phone.

Here’s an official hands-on video:

I am a big fan of these low-cost Windows Phone devices, and I love my Lumia 520. Most apps work flawlessly on my 520 (subject to the 512MB RAM limits) and I am sure the same will be true for the Lumia 635. Another improvement in this phone over the 520 is that the microSD card slot can accept cards up to 128GB, and Windows Phone 8.1 allows apps and media to be stored on the expansion slot, so the 8GB default storage is no longer a concern.

Windows Phone has not picked up any steam in the US market and while in the rest of the world has shown a fondness for the low-cost Windows Phone, it remains to be seen if the Lumia 635 can change any of that. I am considering swapping out my 520 for the 635. Are you thinking about getting one?

Nokia Launches The Lumia 920 and 820 In India; Lumia 620 Coming Soon!

Today, at an event in New Delhi, Nokia unveiled its new range of Lumia smartphones running on Windows Phone 8. Sitting at the top of their WP8 Lumia range is the Lumia 920. The handset that was unveiled nearly 3 months ago is finally hitting the Indian shores.

The Lumia 920 sports a 4.5-inch ClearBlack Display with 768p+ resolution Puremotion HD+ display. Internally, the handset is powered by a 1.5GHz dual-core Snapdragon Krait processor, Adreno 225 GPU, 1GB of RAM and 32GB of internal storage. The highlight of the Lumia 920 is, however, its 8.7MP PureView camera at the back. It is the first smartphone to feature Optical Image Stabilization (OIS) and a floating lens technology, which helps in reducing the visible shake while taking videos. It also immensely helps in low-light photography by allowing a long shutter time, thus allowing more light to be captured.

Other features of Lumia 920 include wireless charging, NFC, GPS with A-GPS, Nokia Drive with free turn-by-turn navigation, and the usual bunch of sensors and connectivity options.

The Lumia 920 is accompanied by its smaller brother – the Lumia 820. The 820 sports a 4.3-inch WVGA AMOLED display with ClearBlack Display technology, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of internal storage, a microSD card slot and the same 1.5GHz dual-core Krait and Adreno 225 GPU as found inside the 920. The 820 does not sport a PureView branded camera, but instead comes with an 8MP Carl Zeiss lens aided by dual-LED flash.

Completing Nokia’s WP8 portfolio in India is the Lumia 620 – a budget oriented Windows Phone 8 handset. The handset sports a 3.8-inch TFT ClearBlack Display with WVGA resolution, 1GHz dual-core processor, 512MB of RAM, 8GB of free storage space, a microSD card slot, a 5MP camera at its back and the usual sensors and connectivity options.

The Lumia 920 will be available in a bunch of bold colors including yellow and white for Rs 38,199 beginning from January 11th. The Lumia 820, that also comes with interchangeable back covers, will officially set its buyers back by Rs. 27,599.

Sadly, Nokia did not announce the pricing of the Lumia 620, but it did say that the handset will be priced between the Lumia 510 and Lumia 710, which makes it a fairly tempting device. The handset is expected to be launched in India in the 1st week of February.

Nokia Reports Better Than Expected Q4 2012 on the Back of Strong Lumia Sales

Nokia finally seems to have caught a break, and has kicked off the new year with some unexpected good news. The fourth quarter turned out to be better than expected, and the Lumia series experienced solid sales.

“We are pleased that Q4 2012 was a solid quarter where we exceeded expectations and delivered underlying profitability in Devices & Services and record underlying profitability in Nokia Siemens Networks”, said Stephen Elop, CEO of Nokia. Nokia sold 4.4 million Lumia smartphones during the last quarter of 2012, which is more than what it managed during the previous two quarters combined. The well received Lumia 920 obvious played a significant role in Nokia’s strong performance; however, Nokia didn’t officially give a model-wise breakdown of Lumia sales.

Nokia-Lumia

The other good news is that Lumia is finally outselling Symbian devices, whose sales tally stood at 2.2 million. “We focused on our priorities and as a result we sold a total of 14 million Asha smartphones and Lumia smartphones while managing our costs efficiently, and Nokia Siemens Networks delivered yet another very good quarter”, added Elop. 9.3 million units of Asha full-touch smartphones, which have been performing well in markets like India, were sold.

Lumia’s sales numbers were undoubtedly helped by the holiday season, but the total sales tally would have probably been higher if Nokia hadn’t been conservative about the number of handsets manufactured. Nokia is predicting a weaker Q1, 2013, based on the fact that it doesn’t have any new device launches, and Q1 is a seasonally weak quarter. However, the introduction of Lumia 920 in several new countries is expected to help the sales figures. Lumia 920 was launched in India just a few hours ago, and was launched in China last month.

AT&T Lumia 920 And Lumia 820 Coming For $99 And $49 On November 9th

The Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 are important handsets for Microsoft and Nokia. With the Finnish giant suffering huge losses every quarter, the company has offered the best of everything it can with the Lumia 920 which includes an 8.7MP PureView Camera with optical image stabilization and Windows Phone 8.

While Nokia announced the Lumia 920 and 820 back in September, it has been mum on the final pricing and availability of the handset, especially in the United States. The Lumia 920 is already available for sale in certain regions of the world, including Russia where Nokia’s CEO, Elop, himself is at the store greeting customers.

Today, Nokia and AT&T announced the availability and pricing of the Lumia 920 and 820 in the United States on the carrier’s LTE network. The Lumia 920 will set users back by $99 on a two-year contract, while the Lumia 820 will cost them only $49.99. The pre-orders for both the handsets start on November 7th, with the phone hitting the retail stores on November 9th. For a limited time, AT&T will also be offering a wireless charging backplate with the Lumia 920.

The Lumia 920 is going to remain an AT&T exclusive for sometime, but the Lumia 820 will be available on Verizon’s network albeit with some slight radio changes and a different name – Lumia 822.

Via – The Verge

Nokia Unveils The Lumia 510 For Indian And Chinese Market; Coming This Diwali!

Nokia today unveiled a new budget oriented Windows Phone 7.5 running handset especially meant to cater towards the budget segment of the Indian market – the Lumia 510.

The Lumia 510 sports a 4-inch TFT screen with WVGA (800×480) resolution, a 800MHz Snapdragon S1 processor, 256MB of RAM, 4GB of internal storage, a 5MP camera at the back, along with all the usual connectivity features except for the lack of 3G and a microSD card slot. Nokia does provide 7GB of free storage space on SkyDrive to make up for the lack of space on the handset.

Keeping in mind the Indian market, Nokia will be launching the handset in five trendy colors including red, yellow, cyan, white and black.

On the software side, the Lumia 510 runs on Windows Phone 7.5 but will get the Windows Phone 7.8 update, whenever it is available. It will also come pre-loaded with Nokia’s own navigation services and apps – Nokia Maps, Drive and Transport.

The Lumia 510 will hit the retail stores in the beginning of November in India and China and will cost $199 (sub-Rs 11,000 in India) before taxes and subsidies.

Nokia Caught Faking Lumia 920 Sample Video and Images

Nokia is known to do stupid things from time to time – like releasing their flagship model on a day when most stores are closed. However, this time they might have even outdone themselves.

Yesterday, Nokia unveiled its new flagship – the Lumia 920. To be honest, the 920 seems to be a great device. It has reassuring build quality, elegant styling, capable hardware, and stunning imaging capabilities. The Lumia 920 features an 8-megapixel camera with moving parts that promises to offer outstanding low light photography, and digital-camera like optical image stabilization. Nokia even created a video to show off the 920’s photography chops.

The trouble is that most of the things you see in the video embedded above is fake. If you look closely, in one of the trailer windows you can spot a reflection of the camera crew. The video was definitely not shot by a guy riding on a bicycle. In fact, it wasn’t even shot with a Lumia. As you can see in the image embedded below, the camera man is clearly using a professional camera and not a smartphone.

Nokia-Lumia-PureView-Fake-Ad

Once exposed as a cheater, Nokia was quick to own up to its mistake. It apologized “for the confusion”, and admitted that the video was “not shot with a Lumia 920”.

Unfortunately for Nokia, that wasn’t the end of story. An enterprising blogger, Youssef Sarhan, spotted several oddities with the one of the pictures that Nokia is touting as a Lumia 920 sample snap. Check the light sources in the image below. Notice the diffraction patterns? That’s the kind of diffraction pattern you would expect from a prosumer camera or a DSLR. A smartphone camera is likely to produce a simplistic diffraction pattern like we see in the second image embedded below. To make things further damning for Nokia, a Hacker News user shared a snap taken during Nokia’s photoshoots, which clearly shows a DSLR being used by Nokia.

Nokia-Lumia-920-PureView-Fake-Photo
Nokia Lumia 920 PureView: Alleged Fake Photo

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Nokia Lumia 920 PureView: Prototype Sample Pic

Nokia-Lumia-920-PureView-Photoshoot
Photo: Copyright [email protected]
Nokia Photoshoot in Progress: DSLR Spotted in exteme left

What makes Nokia’s decision to fudge sample videos and images taken by the Lumia 920 so ridiculous is the fact that the 920 actually takes brilliant images. Everyone who managed to get their hands on the prototype came away impressed with Lumia’s low-light capturing abilities. Nokia could have shared “real” camera samples and comparisons with the iPhone 4S and Galaxy S3, and everyone would have still been impressed. However, they just couldn’t resist the temptation of faking the samples to make the Lumia seem out of the world.

Nokia Lumia 920 Doubles Down on Camera with PureView, Lens Apps, and Augmented Reality

The past couple of years have not been very pleasant for Nokia. The Finnish mobile phone giant has had a hard fall, and it can only blame itself. There is only one way Nokia can pull itself out of its downward spiral, and that is by coming up with droolworthy handsets. Fortunately, that is exactly what Nokia seems to be doing. The Lumia 920, which was unveiled a short while back, is a gorgeous device that is well complemented by great hardware and latest software.

Nokia-Lumia-920

Samsung was first off the block with Windows Phone 8 smartphones, but Nokia will probably end up deciding Microsoft’s fate in the smartphone segment. The Windows Phone 8 powered Lumia 920 packs in ample wow-factors to make consumers crave for Nokia’s beast.

The Lumia 920 features an eight-megapixel camera, which by itself is hardly noteworthy. However, Nokia claims that it will offer outstanding low-light performance thanks to its ability to capture five to ten times more light than other smartphones. It also features the stunning PureView tech that we saw in the 808. While the Lumia doesn’t have the gigantic lens of the 808, the combination of superior optics and PureView software could very well make it the best-in-its-class as far as the camera is concerned.

To go with the camera, Nokia is also bundling a number of Lens apps, which are nothing but little apps that are tightly integrated with the camera. The ones that Nokia showed off today include Bing Vision, Photosynth, Blink, FXSuite, PhotoStrip and CNN iReport. Bing Vision is Microsoft’s answer to Google Goggles. It offers image-based search for quickly looking up more information about the book that you are reading or the music CD that your friend owns. Photosynth is also a Microsoft app, and it allows you to create stunning 3D models of any location by stitching together a series of images. FxSuite is an image effects app that allows you to preview effects before actually capturing an image.

The most exciting feature, however, is City Lens. City Lens was announced earlier this year, and was so far only available through Nokia Beta Labs. However, with Windows 8, Nokia will be baking this feature into the system. City Lens is an augmented reality app that leverages Nokia’s excellent maps to overlay information about nearby buildings and establishments on your camera. Augmented Reality apps have been around for quite a few years; however, they are yet to really go mainstream. If Nokia can manage to nail City Lens, it could very well open the flood gates.

Nokia-City-Lens

Using City Lens is pretty straightforward. Open the app, and tell it what you are looking for (e.g. Restaurants). It will instantly pull up nearby restaurants, and overlay them on the camera along with info about the restaurant and its distance. Tilt the phone 45 degrees, City Lens will switch to a list of those locations. Hold it in a parallel position, and it will bring up the map view. Check out the video below to see it in action.

Nokia Announces The Lumia 920 With PureView Technology And Windows Phone 8

As expected, Nokia has just announced its highly anticipated successor to the Lumia 900 here in New York running Windows Phone 8, the Lumia 920. The “most innovative smartphone in the world” features some of the best technology from Nokia including the company’s Pure View tech and Wireless charging.

The Lumia 920 sports a super bright 4.5-inch LCD display with HD+ WXGA (768×1280) resolution encased in Gorilla Glass 2.  Don’t get excited about the extra 68 pixels though, as they are used up by three on-screen navigation buttons at the bottom. The display uses Nokia’s new Pure View HD+ technology to display text with stunning clarity and viewing angles. Internally, the Lumia 920 packs in a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor clocked at 1.5GHz, an Adreno 225 GPU, 1GB of RAM and 32Gb of internal memory.

Even though the Lumia 920 sports PureView technology, it does not pack in the monster 41MP sensor as found on the PureView 808. Instead, it packs in a much smaller 8.7MP camera with Carl Zeiss optics, optical image stabilization and a next-generation LED flash that is 2x times more powerful. However, the PureView technology is still very much there, and the Lumia 920 can take some stunning pictures even in extremely low-light situations. The handset can also take professional quality 1080p HD videos, thanks mainly due to the Pure View technology.

“We view imaging as a core area for differentiation in the smartphone space,” said Crawford Del Prete, Executive VP WW Products and Chief Research Officer, IDC. “Low light photography has been a weak point for smartphones. Nokia has addressed this with PureView to create real customer value. By applying its rich expertise in imaging Nokia has created a best of breed experience for everyday use.”

The Lumia 920 will come in a bunch of vibrant colors including yellow, red, grey, white and black. The handset will sport the same polycarbonate unibody construction as its predecessor. Thanks to the Qualcomm baseband, the Lumia 920 will simultaneously support 5 LTE bands along with support for HSPA+ networks. Other features of the handset include NFC, Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS with A-GPS, and a 1.2MP front-facing camera capable of shooting videos in 720p resolution. The 10.7mm thick handset will also incorporate a 2000mAh battery for, hopefully, an all day long battery life. The Qi wireless charging technology is also incorporated on the Lumia 920, and makes an appearance after it was original featured in the Palm Pre phones.

However, the most important feature of the Lumia 920 is that it will be running on the next generation OS from Microsoft, Windows Phone 8. The new OS will feature tight integration with other Nokia services such as Nokia Maps, Transport, and Drive. The new OS will also incorporate an updated camera app that will be tightly integrated with other augmented reality apps from MS including City Lens.

Has AT&T Enabled Visual Voicemail for non-LTE Windows Phones?

nokia-lumia-900-cyan-front-and-back

This afternoon, I noticed that my Nokia Lumia 800 prompted me for a voicemail password out of nowhere. Thinking that there was some connectivity glitch, I entered the password and guess what, it took me to a visual voicemail screen! I have not seen that screen on my Lumia before, and as I was made to understand, Visual Voicemail for Windows Phone was only available if you added a 4G LTE plan with AT&T.

AT&T Lumia 800 Visual Voice Mail Checking

Before everyone gets excited, I should provide a few disclaimers: I am on my company’s corporate plan, so I don’t know what plan I am on. However, knowing that my plan is actually an “iPhone data” plan, I know it could not be a 4G LTE plan, since there is no such plan. The other thing is that the screen stays at “syncing voicemail” and does not actually show me my voicemails. At some point this afternoon, I did get a message that it was not able to connect and that I could call the traditional voicemail. I restarted the phone to see if this disappeared, and it has not, so I suppose this functionality may actually be rolling out slowly. I sure hope so.

AT&T Lumia 800 Visual Voicemail Settings

Could this be another move by Nokia (and AT&T) to further the Windows Phone cause? We have seen that Nokia has been able to get a few exclusives and are making quite a splash in bringing the Windows Phone platform on par with iOS and Android. Could this be another move in that plan?

Lumia 800 About Screen

I am unable to confirm if this is true with other non-Lumia or non-LTE devices. If anyone has a Windows Phone (Lumia or otherwise) and is with AT&T but *not* on a 4G LTE plan, let me know. Let’s hope things are changing at AT&T with regard to their love of Windows Phone.

Update: I never saw it on my AT&T Samsung Focus, but here’s a response I saw on twitter:

 

 

More, from twitter:

Lumia Still Selling Out As Nokia Locks Eyes With Verizon

It appears that sales of the Nokia Lumia are continuing to be rather strong, with sales of the device “outpacing” supply, according to Nokia U.S. President Chris Weber.

Demand has been outstripping supply for the first couple of weeks, and we’ve been working hard to rectify that,” he said. “The demand for cyan [phones] is significantly outpacing supply. When you give people something different from a design perspective—colors, etc. —it really stands out, and consumers want that.”

Like you may expect on an episode of Undercover Boss, Weber has personally visited many AT&T stores over the past few weekends to monitor how the salespeople take to and promote the Lumia. The verdict? Support has been generally “very good”, but it’s overall still a “work in progress”, he said. Whatever the case, the Lumia does seem to be selling out quite rapidly at many AT&T stores; my Twitter timeline can attest to this, with people all over the country saying that their local store was either running low on or completely out of the Lumia.

“Selling out” is definitely a refreshingly new thing to hear with the Windows Phone, platform, however. But despite these not-too-shabby sales — Lumia sales topped 2 million in the first quarter of this year — the launch wasn’t without problem. A data connectivity bug plagued the device initially, resulting in Nokia/AT&T offering a $100 credit to those who purchased defective devices. This in turn prompted Nokia’s share price to hit a 16-year low, unfortunately. Some other quirks seem to also effect the device, such as a purple tint on the screen (as Mr. Rafael Rivera has encountered with two Lumias already.)

It’s also far too early to deem the platform a complete success; Windows Phone still has ways to go before it can catch up to iOS and Android in the marketshare leaderboard. And to help the platform grow and find its way into the hands of more users, Weber commented saying that the company is working hard to join forces with the CDMA carrier:

“We’re not making any announcements, but we understand the importance of Verizon and we’re working hard to make that a reality.”

Verizon did recently admit that it too had a crush on Windows Phone during an earning’s call late last month. Hopefully the two can proceed to copulate and put more Windows Phones in the hands of consumers