Tag Archives: Lumia

Nokia Provides More Evidence of Being the “real” Windows Phone Maker

Nokia Lumia 900

On May 8, at the CTIA Wireless 2012 show in New Orleans, Nokia announced that they are partnering with a bunch of top-tier brands to bring their various apps and games to Windows Phone, with a lot of those apps and games being exclusive to Nokia’s Lumia line of Windows Phones.

Some of the highlights from their press release:

PGA Tour (exclusive to Lumia for 12 months)

In addition to live tournament scoring, highlights and player information, the app provides interactive, augmented coverage of select events and holes, showing each player’s exact position and scoring information. This allows fans to “get inside the ropes” and follow all players competing on the PGA TOUR.

ESPN (exclusive to Lumia until May 2013)

This app already exists on the Lumia devices, and is in addition to the ESPN ScoreCenter app that is available to all Windows Phones. The Lumia app will see some functionality updates and in addition, the ESPN Fantasy Football app (another Lumia exclusive) will be made available later in the Fall to align with the NFL season.

Rovio

After a back-and-forth on whether they are going to build Angry Birds Space for Windows Phone or not, Rovio is now building a dedicated design and development team to create games for Lumia and other Windows Phone devices. That’s quite a scoop for Nokia from the rather negative start that the game maker had with Microsoft and Windows Phone.

Nokia and Rovio will partner to develop innovative new consumer products and content exclusively for Nokia Lumia smartphones, alongside cross platform multi-channel integrated marketing initiatives.

EA

EA will be bringing some of their most popular titles to Lumia and other Windows Phones, including FIFA, Madden NFL, NBA Jam, Tiger Woods PGA TOUR®, Mirror’s Edge and Yahtzee to add to the several titles they already have in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Groupon (exclusive to Lumia for 6 months)

There is already an official Groupon app which is going to get some major updates, including a cool and innovative augmented reality feature to find deals near you.

Tripdots (exclusive to Lumia for 3 months)

Tripdots helps vehicle owners optimize their driving behaviors while connecting with other vehicle owners and sharing driving efficiency achievements via social networks. The app lets users monitor the operation of their vehicles to enable cost savings through better understanding fuel economy.

PayPal

Yet another “key” app missing in the Windows Phone ecosystem is for the popular PayPal service. PayPal is going to work with Nokia to not only bring their app to Windows Phone, but also use functionality like Live Tiles to enhance the user experience.

AOL Entertainment Hub (exclusive to Lumia for 3 months)

Whether you want to listen to one of 55,000 radio stations via SHOUTcast, stream free music albums with AOL’s Listening Party or view Trailers and Movie listings, the AOL Entertainment Hub delivers everything you need.

Yet another app where Live Tiles are going to be used to enhance the user experience:

“The live tiles on Nokia Lumia helped us create an awesome app that makes it easy to stay in the know on what’s happening in Film, TV, Radio, Concerts and Music right from your home screen,” said Sol Lipman, Director of Mobile First products at AOL.

TIME magazine

Utilizing the stunning Windows Phone UI, the app will enable users to view TIME.com content, receive breaking news alerts, watch rich media content including video and share stories via the Windows Phone People Hub, while delivering the latest news and stories to users first via Live Tiles.

Newsweek – The Daily Beast

The Daily Beast app delivers the latest content through Live Tiles and combines the unique style of The Daily Beast with the Windows Phone UI to deliver a stunning experience. For users who only have minutes to digest the latest news, the app also delivers The Cheat Sheet – your one stop must have reads from across the world – uniquely designed for Windows Phone.

Box app for Windows Phone

Box, another oft-requested app, will finally come to Windows Phone with support for nine languages.

 

iPhone 4S Used by a Windows Phone User: Screen

iPhone 4S

For an introduction and background to this series, please refer to my first post on the topic: New Series: iPhone 4S Used by a Windows Phone User.

After looking at the setup experience, the first thing I wanted to look at is the much talked about Retina display of the iPhone 4S. I had heard a lot about how fantastic it is, and read a lot about the technical stuff like pixel density on that screen, but hadn’t experienced it outside of using my friends’ phones for a few minutes. The few minutes I spent with my friends’ phones did not impress me much but I attributed it to the fact that I had spent so little time with the display.

So, having used it constantly for a few days, what was the verdict? Frankly, I don’t see what the big deal is. Yes, it is clear and crisp. It is very, very clear and crisp. However, the Super AMOLED screen of my Focus and the ClearBlack AMOLED on my Lumia are both equally clear and crisp. In fact, I love the deeper colors on the base Lumia screen much more than what the iPhone 4S produces. It could be a result of bigger tiles on my Lumia compared to the many folders (with tinier icons) on my iPhone, but in “real world” use, the Lumia comes off as being as clear and crisp as the iPhone and the colors richer/deeper than the iPhone.

 

IMG_0048Screen Capture (11)

 

Yes, I could zoom into a specific icon and see how there is virtually no pixelation, but I never zoom to that level with my normal eyesight. Under normal circumstances, I look at the Lumia screen (with the dark theme enabled), and I look at the iPhone 4S with the normal brightness, and I must say, the Lumia screen comes out looking better.

(Please excuse my screenshots – I tried to make sure the brightness levels on both the phones were similar, and also, it looks like screenshot tools on *both* the phones seem to be just average?)

The other area where the Retina display is supposed to do better is reading. The claim — web pages, books, etc. are much better to read on that display compared to the Lumia? Here too, I did not see a tremendous difference.

IMG_0049Screen Capture (12)

 

IMG_0053Screen Capture (15)

IMG_0051Screen Capture (14)

IMG_0050Screen Capture (13)

Perhaps my expectations were raised really high? Maybe. Perhaps I should have tested it with long periods of reading? Maybe, but I don’t read pages and pages of books on the phone. The most I read is a multi-page web article, some part of books/magazines, and of course emails. I have provided some samples of the same above, and the Retina does not come off as being vastly different from the Lumia.

I would like to state emphatically, the iPhone screen is fantastic. However, in comparison to the Lumia, it does not seem to be dramatically superior. The Lumia holds its own despite “lower specs” across the board. The ClearBlack AMOLED on the Lumia “pops” the colors very well and the text renders quite well too. Oh, and a completely personal takeaway: when I turn on the Lumia, there is an immediate “wow” factor; maybe because of the colors, the brightness, the curved glass screen, or a combination of these and other factors that I can’t really pinpoint. Whatever it is, it makes the Lumia screen feel better than the iPhone screen, to me. Some friends on Twitter said that I need to give the Retina display some time and I will realize the beauty of it. I have seen it is a good screen, but after 4-5 days of extensive use, I really don’t see a huge upside in that screen.

Also, since I promised to talk about size as well, let me say that strictly speaking, the Lumia 800 that I am using now and the iPhone are not too different in size. However, my previous phone, the Samsung Focus, was 4″ diagonally and I really, really like that size. When I started using the Lumia after the Focus, I felt that the Lumia itself was a bit small (it is 3.7″ diagonally) and the iPhone is even smaller. So, compared to my ideal screen size of 4″, the iPhone seems smaller. However, for this experiment, I will not bring it up since the Lumia 800 and the iPhone are comparable in size.

Do you have any feedback on this comparison? Have you seen something I did not? I would love to hear from you!

iPhone 4S Used by a Windows Phone User: Out Of the Box Experience, Setup

iPhone

For an introduction and background to this series, please refer to my first post on the topic: New Series: iPhone 4S Used by a Windows Phone User.

As someone who has switched (and reset) Windows Phones quite a bit, for one reason or the other, I know how painful it is to get the phone to “my state”. Yes, entering my Windows Live ID and setting up Facebook account sets up a ton of stuff automatically (Contacts, Calendars, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, Pictures) but there are still a lot of personalization items which I have to repeat every single time. Here is what I have to do every time I set up a new Windows Phone, after setting up my “accounts”:

  • Reinstall all my apps. It is a bit easier now with web marketplace and apps like Reinstaller, but I still have to manually reinstall each app.
  • Customize each app with login information, settings for the app, etc.
  • Set up my live tiles for various apps. Some apps offer secondary tiles (like “Sports News” in a newspaper app, for example), so these have to be manually set up.
  • De-dupe contacts across Windows Live, Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn. This seems like a bit of functionality which was left off for lack of time. On Windows Live website, these contacts are in fact de-duped, but on the phone, they are not. So I have to go in and clean up manually.
  • Create my People Groups and pin them to Start Screen. I like this feature a lot, so I do like to create three groups: immediate family, cousins, and close friends. That way, I see the updates from these groups bubble up over all the other noise. There’s no way to save these Groups in the cloud so they automatically come when I sign in.
  • Adjust system settings like letting Bing use location services, my Office username, etc.
  • I don’t play many games, but if I did, almost none of the games save their states in the cloud, so all game progress gets lost when moving phones.
  • Connect to PC to set up wireless sync (and check if there are any updates available for the phone).

As you can see, there is a lot of work to be done after signing into various accounts to set up a new phone. How does it go with iPhone? Read on!

New Series: iPhone 4S Used by a Windows Phone User

iPhone

Those who read my posts know that I have been a Windows Phone user since it launched in late-2010. I like the platform a lot, and do believe it is more efficient for the way I use a smartphone. Before I switched to Windows Phone, I used an iPhone 3GS. Since then, my exposure to iOS has been through my iPad (1 and 2) and my iPod Touch. However, those iOS devices are at most used for an hour a day, so it is not fair to use that to compare against the Windows Phone platform.

So, when I recently got an opportunity to get an AT&T iPhone 4S, I jumped on it. I decided to give it my full attention, use it as my primary(-ish) phone for some time, and compare and contrast iOS with Windows Phone after actually using it. I figured, rather than compare specs on paper, which anybody can, it would be better to compare usage. With that in mind, I present this new series, where I will talk about various aspects of using Nokia Lumia 800 Windows Phone vs. using an iPhone 4S. My intention is to look at the common tasks one performs with a smartphone and how they differ across these two platforms. This is not so much of a “competition” to determine who “wins”, it is more of a comparison to identify the tasks where one platform may excel and the other may not.

I plan to break the series into the following:

What I do not want to do is:

  • Look at hard specs like cores, PPI, version of bluetooth supported, etc. If any of these happen to make it more difficult for me to do normal things, I will point them out.
  • I am going in with the assumption that we are going to live in a heterogeneous world where I may have a Windows PC and related apps along with my iPhone or iPad. As a result, I will try to stay away from stuff that is clearly going to remain “Apple-only”. For example, iMessage or certain aspects of iCloud which do not carry over to say, a Windows Phone, like contacts and calendar sync. There are other platform-specific tie-ins with Windows Phone like Xbox LIVE Achievements, which again, I won’t go into.

I am genuinely excited, both, to try the iPhone 4S (it’s been about 2 years since I used an iPhone), as well as to compare that experience to how I do things on my Lumia. Is there anything specific you would like me to look at in this experiment? Let me know!

Nokia has a Dismal Quarter; Sales Disappoint

Nokia announced its earnings for the first quarter of 2012, and as expected, they suck. Its net sales dropped 29% year-over-year to €7.35 billion, while its operating profit dipped from €439 million to an operating loss of €1.34 billion.

It has seen a decline in not only smartphone sales, but also mobile phone sales. It is expecting to make an operating loss again in the next quarter, as it scrambles to get its device strategy in place.

While most of the loss can be attributed to restructuring, it would have reported a loss even on an adjusted, non-IFRS basis.

While the sales of Lumia devices have apparently been encouraging, they hardly offset the decline in sales of Nokia’s Symbian devices.

“We are navigating through a significant company transition in an industry environment that continues to evolve and shift quickly. Over the last year we have made progress on our new strategy, but we have faced greater than expected competitive challenges.” said Elop, Nokia’s CEO. “We are confident in our strategy and focused on responding urgently in the short term and creating value for our shareholders in the long term.”

At this point, Nokia’s future is almost entirely tied to Microsoft’s Windows Phone. 2012 is going to be a very crucial year for both of them, and should tell us whether or not Nokia made the right move by betting everything on Microsoft’s horse which may be capable of smoking the other horses, but entered the race too late.

Nokia plans to focus on the budget smartphone segment with cheaper smartphone options like the Lumia 610, and also focus on international markets to drive growth.

Nokia’s Roller Coaster Fortnight

Nokia Lumia 900

Oh wow, what a couple of weeks Nokia has had. A company trying to reinvent itself and staying relevant in an increasingly iOS/Android-dominated smartphone world caught the headlines mostly for all the wrong reasons. Here’s a rundown of the news and my take on the same.

Lumia 900 Announced

First, after showing the Lumia 900 at this year’s Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, they finally announced the availability of Nokia Lumia 900, their flagship device for the North American markets. Pre-orders would start on March 30, at AT&T’s website, and the device would be available in stores on April 8. As a surprise they also announced a glossy white version, to be available only in stores (no pre-order) on April 22. All good news, albeit some would argue that according to leaks earlier, it was supposed to happen on March 18, so this date could be considered a “delay”. Oh well.

Mixed Reviews?

Then, the review embargo is lifted. Suffice to say that while generally extremely positive, there was a feeling that some of the reviewers (especially one at a very high profile site) were very critical of certain aspects of the phone and the OS. I wrote about how the Lumia 900 may have created a very high set of expectations and meeting or beating those expectations would be almost impossible. Also, the device, unlike typical iPhone releases, was not accompanied by a major software update of the Windows Phone OS. So a lot of reviewers started poking around what’s missing in the OS rather than reviewing the device itself. Bottom line, there was a lot of coverage on the stuff that was missing, instead of highlighting how, at $99 with contract, this was an excellent deal for a very well-made phone.

Must Have Apps For Nokia Lumia 800 and Lumia 900

Late last year, Nokia released the first real Windows Phone, the Lumia 800. The device while impressive an impressive Windows Phone running handset, lacked a front-facing camera and the 3.7-inch screen was just too small. Earlier this year at MWC, Nokia announced a bigger brother of the Lumia 800, the Lumia 900, which comes with a bigger screen (4.3-inch) and a front-facing camera. The Lumia 900 is mainly targeted towards the United States, and was launched recently with a huge marketing campaign from Nokia and AT&T. In fact, this is the biggest handset launch from Nokia in the States in the last few years.

With the launch of new phones, bigger marketing campaigns and Microsoft’s money, the Windows Phone ecosystem has grown considerably in the last few months. The Windows Phone Marketplace now contains more than 70,000 apps, which is pretty decent for an OS, which is hardly 2 years old. I frankly don’t care about the number of apps an OS has. I want quality over quantity, and the WP7 marketplace is lacking in this department. Nevertheless, here is my list of the best apps currently available in the Windows Phone marketplace, which will take full advantage of your brand new Lumia 800 or 900 -:

Pulse – If you have owned an iOS or Android phone previously, chances are you already know about Pulse. Pulse is a beautiful RSS reader, with a very unique UI. Its unique UI and its price tag – free – is the main reason behind the app being a hit across all the major mobile platforms.

Skydrive – Dropbox has been my on-the-go cloud storage service for quite sometime now. However, there is no official Dropbox client available in the Windows Phone Marketplace, which is quite a bummer. Thankfully, a few months ago, Microsoft filled that gap by releasing the official Skydrive app for WP7, which allows users to access their files stored on Skydrive right from their phone. Considering that Skydrive comes with 25GB of free storage, and will be tightly integrated with Windows 8, moving to Skydrive as your primary cloud storage service does seem useful for all Windows users.

Flashlight X – What’s the use of the LED flash in your phone if you cannot use it as a Torch in those dark situations? With nearly every Windows Phone coming equipped with a LED flash, Flashlight X is a must have app.

YouTube Pro – The default YouTube client for Windows Phone is sadly just a bookmark to the official YouTube mobile homepage. Looking at the OS market share, Google does not seem to be much interested in releasing a decent YouTube client for WP7 as well. Thankfully, YouTube Pro is a decent alternative to fulfill all your YouTube-ing needs. The app allows you to view videos in HQ or HD quality over Wi-Fi or 3G along with the ability to download them as well.

Rowi – If you own a Windows Phone, and use Twitter frequently, Rowi is the MUST have app for you. It is without a doubt the best Twitter client available in the Windows Phone marketplace. The folks behind Rowi recently released v2.0 which includes tons of new features including Readability integration, performance improvements, a new context menu for easier access to frequently used options, toast notifications for messages and mentions and most importantly, Fast app switching support.

Evernote – Evernote is another must have app for me irrespective of the OS I use. Thankfully, there is an official Evernote client for WP7 and its pretty good. The app allows users to pin any specific note or a shortcut to a new note for quick access.

Skype – Back at MWC, the Skype/MS team finally released a beta version of Skype for Windows Phone. Considering that MS now owns Skype, the app was under development for quite sometime and the beta version is pretty basic as well. Anyways, chances are Windows Phone 8 will feature a very tight integration with Skype, so until then the Skype app should be capable of fulfilling all your needs.

Don’t agree with my list of the best apps for your brand new Lumia 800 or Lumia 900? Drop in a comment and let us know!

The Problem with Reviewing the Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900 Reviews

Last night (April 3, 2012) the embargo was lifted, and Nokia Lumia 900 reviews started flowing in. At first glance, one would think the reviews were mixed, or even that the device was being slammed. Lots of good words, but bottom line being negative. I went through most of the top reviews, and as you unpeel the onion you see that generally, everyone agrees that this phone definitely has the chops to compete with the top smartphones on other platforms. The issues that have been brought up are actually a problem Nokia and Microsoft will have to tackle somehow. These are, generally speaking, issues faced by techies, but since techies control the message nowadays, it is a situation that needs to be addressed.

First though, the key selling points for the device: fantastic design, great screen (ClearBlack AMOLED), LTE, low price, good camera and a fresh (compared to iOS and its poor clone, Android) operating system. Some reviewers contradicted each other on some of the features (like The Verge’s Josh Topolsky and PC Mag’s Sascha Segan criticizing the camera but Engadget’s Joseph Volpe and PC World’s Ginny Mies claiming it was great and versatile), and of course different reviewers rated the “good” on different levels of the spectrum based on their preferences and experience.

The Problem(s)

However, I saw some of the issues that the reviewers brought up in their reviews, and Nokia and Microsoft both have to be concerned. First is that expectations are sky-high for Nokia. They are known to make excellent devices and after putting all their eggs in the Windows Phone basket, a lot is expected of them. Also, with RIM imploding, there is nobody else to take the 3rd spot behind iOS and Android, so the anticipation is heightened. As a result, even a minor issue will get amplified.

Calm Down, Windows Phone Developers. Tango is Good for You!

Nokia Lumia 610

Recently, after a blog post on the Windows Phone Developer Blog, there was concern among the Windows Phone developer community about the impact of 256MB phones on the general app quality. The basic assumption made was that apps will now have to be catered for the lowest common denominator. Per these concerns, today’s phones with 512MB memory, and tomorrow’s super phones with possibly more, will be under-utilized, and app developers may not be able to push the limits on the resource usage within their apps.

Justin Angel, the newly hired Principal Engineer at Nokia, has been doing the rounds of popular Windows Phone podcasts to clear the air on this topic. I listened to WPCentral and WPDevPodcast episodes recently, and wanted to highlight the main points Angel made. So, here you go:

  • As mentioned in the original blog post, there are less than 5% of the total apps which are affected by the restrictions imposed on the maximum memory an app can use.
  • These affected apps, which use more than 90MB of memory, should have actually been declined certification in the first place.
  • Microsoft had two choices on handling these apps – pull them off the Marketplace, or what they did, which is mark them as incompatible with the low-end devices, and notify each developer with an email. This email explains what the developer can do to update the app so it passes certification the next time they submit it.
  • The updated developer tools ship with a second emulator to help understand how an app would perform under both 256MB and 512MB devices. The best practice suggested is to always test the app in the 256MB emulator. Angel also suggested that developers should use the memory profiler that comes with the tools, which will help them in understanding where their app ends up using more memory.
  • Microsoft has made some clever technological updates in the “Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh”, aka Tango, which enable even the 256MB devices to support up to 90MB of memory per app. This trickery is completely transparent to the developer (and naturally, to the customer).
  • Since the trickery only applies to the 256MB devices, current Windows Phone customers need not worry about it at all. Developers also need not worry about how their apps will perform before and after Tango on the first-generation devices, since on those devices there is going to be no impact at all.
  • As for loss of functionality or APIs, the generic background agents will not work in the 256MB devices. These are two new types of agents introduced in Windows Phone Mango, which allow arbitrary code to run in the background based on app developer’s discretion. The apps which use such agents are listed under the new settings section so the customer can go and de-select to turn them off. Angel mentioned that because of this ability provided to the phone owner, these generic background agents should not have been made a core part of any app anyway. Remember, push notification services are still available, so toast notifications, live tile updates, alerts, etc. should still work if you use the Push Notification Service (and related APIs).

So there you go, developers. There is virtually nothing to worry about with Tango. In fact, there is a LOT to be excited about. With the addition of 23 new markets including China, and the push by Nokia and others into these markets with low-cost devices, there is a very good chance that the lower end devices will actually outsell the top end devices. If your app works on these low-end devices, you will now have access to about 60% more customers!

If you are one of the 5% affected developers, please let me know if you have a reason to exceed the 90MB memory limit. I’d like to know why it is so.

Nokia Hosting Lumia Launch Event On March 28

While HTC was the first company to launch a Windows Phone in China, it would appear that Nokia is acting fast to get a device launched in that market as well. Engadget China reports that Nokia is hosting a Lumia launch event in China on the 28th, during which they are expected to announce the devices, carriers, and availability dates; the phones won’t be available immediately. The Verge has received confirmation from a Nokia spokesperson that the company plans to actually launch the devices beginning in April, post-event.

So, which devices can we expect to go on sale in China? We know that Nokia will definitely be launching the Lumia 610, a Tango-era Windows Phone that’s tailored towards emerging markets. Thanks to diminished hardware requirements — along with some software-side limitations as well, which we covered here — Nokia were able to aptly price the 610 for emerging markets like China. Nokia may also launch the Lumia 800 in China as its high-end, flagship device in the region.

With HTC having already launched its Triumph mobile phone, along with LG and ZTE also wanting in on the Chinese mobile market, Nokia will have a fair bit of competition. It should be interesting to see how they — and the Windows Phone platform overall — perform in the region.

Nokia Announces Lumia 610, Lowered ‘Tango’ Minimum Requirements Official

Nokia has just announced the new, entry-level Lumia 610. Priced at the low cost of 189 Euros before taxes and subsidies (approximately $255 US), it is now Nokia’s cheapest Windows Phone.

This low price point has been made possible thanks to the (now official), formerly rumored lowered Windows Phone specifications; as we reported earlier this month, a leak of Windows Phone Tango features revealed that Microsoft will be lowering certain hardware requirements to accommodate cheaper phones.

The minimum required amount of memory has been diminished to 256MB from 512MB, OEMs are now required to include a camera of at least 3MP (this is a good thing, they previously didn’t need to add a camera at all), and a lower-performance processor (the minimum here is currently unknown, though the Lumia 610’s is 800MHz, perhaps this is the new minimum). As some apps may not work on these lower-speced phones — and as there are some software differences as well — many, including myself and fellow Microsoft writer Manan are concerned that this will be the beginning of Windows Phone fragmentation.

The Lumia 610 will hit the shelves sometime in Q2 of 2012, and it will be available in Cyan, White, Black, and Magneta. The Verge have managed to get a hands-on with the device, so for a video and some additional photos, their post is worth looking at.

Nokia Lumia 610 Leaked Ahead of MWC 2012, Runs Windows Phone Tango

Despite a series of price cuts for the Lumia 710, Nokia currently doesn’t have a solid budget Windows Phone offering which could take on low end Android smartphones. However, Nokia had revealed earlier this year that it would be launching budget Windows Phone devices powered by Tango to compete with Android in the entry level smartphone segment, in a bid to capture more market share.

The Nokia Lumia 610 will be one of its first budget Windows Phones which will be launched soon. Nokia is supposed to launch the Lumia 610 at its MWC press conference on February 27, but details of the device have already been leaked out by BGR.

Nokia Lumia 610 Specifications

The Nokia Lumia 610 will come with a 3.2 inch touchscreen display and a 3 MP camera. It will ship with Windows Phone Tango, the latest version of Windows Phone tailored specifically for low end smartphones. It will presumably have 256 MB RAM, and a 1 GHz processor, considering that the Lumia 710 has a 1.4 Ghz processor and 512 MB RAM.

Here’s the best part: it will be priced at around 175 euros, which converts to around $240 or 11,500 INR.

Nokia Lumia 610

Nokia, which is already the biggest Windows Phone manufacturer should see its market share jump after the launch of its new budget smartphones.

Stay tuned. We will be bringing more MWC 2012 updates to you here at Techie Buzz.

Nokia Reports Q4 2011 Results; 1 Million Lumia Units Sold, Still Losing Money

Nokia has reported its earnings for the fourth quarter 2011. While its new strategy finally seems to be paying off a bit, it is still very much in the red when it comes to profits. It posted a massive operating loss of €954 million, around $1.3 billion. Its sales have improved a bit over Q3 2011, up 11% with net revenues of €10 billion ($13.2 billion). It is still worse off compared to where it was last year, but things seem to be looking up compared to last quarter. Its cash reserves have dropped by around €1.4 billion ($1.84 billion), compared to Q4 2010.

Nokia also announced some interesting numbers which reveal some important information about its Windows Phone strategy. It has sold over 1 million Lumia units to date, and received $250 million from Microsoft in Q4 2011, for using Windows Phone.

While the number is hardly impressive compared to Apple’s quarterly iPhone sales of 37 million units, it does indicate that Lumia is gaining at least some traction. The Lumia 900 also hogged most of the limelight at CES 2012, so the number should only improve going forward.

While it may be faltering in smartphones, Nokia remains the king of feature phones. It announced that it had sold more than 1.5 billion S40 handsets to date. Nokia announced that it expects to break even in Q1 2012, maybe even turn a small profit.

Check out the complete Nokia Q4 2011 results here: Nokia Q4 2011

Nokia Lumia 900: My Hands-On from CES 2012

Nokia Lumia 900

I was at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas for the past few days and I got a chance to put my hands on the gorgeous new Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone. It was announced at the Nokia CES press conference by Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop.

The Lumia 900 is a sleek device with a ClearBlack 4.3-inch display. The 4.3-inch display may sound huge, but it really does not feel that big in the hands. I use a Samsung Focus which is a 4-inch device and the Lumia 900 is only a tad bigger. However, if you are an iPhone user, you will definitely feel that bigness. Having used a 4-inch screen for the past 14 months, I don’t think that I can go back to the 3.5-inch screen of the iPhone.

The device build is very similar to the sleek Lumia 800 but unlike the 800, which has a slightly curved (bubble) glass, the 900’s screen is flat. The reason being, for the size of the screen, the curvature would end up being too much. As a result of going with a flat screen, you can clearly see a ridge around the edges. Whether that is actually an issue or not, we will have to wait and see after we use it normally for a few days.

The Nokia Lumia 900 comes as an exclusive to AT&T and has 4G LTE support. One of the other features touted over and over again by Nokia and Microsoft executives in various interviews and presentations at CES is the fact that it comes with an 1800mAh battery. In talking with the Nokia folks who have been using this phone for a few weeks, it seemed like they were able to get through an entire day of “heavy” use and a couple of days of “normal” use. I can’t get my Focus to go an entire day of “heavy” use, so here’s hoping this is a significant upgrade over the other Windows Phones.

The Lumia 900 has a f2.4 front-facing camera which Nokia says allows as much light as many rear-facing cameras on other phones. Unfortunately, the Nokia booth representatives were told not to show much of the camera or the software since the phone has not been officially released yet. The representatives confirmed that the ESPN and CNN apps will be pre-loaded on the AT&T Lumia 900 phones and we know that Nokia is going to get exclusive games from EA (which was later revealed to be a 6-month exclusive for Nokia, see this interview of Chris Weber with The Verge where he mentions it).

This phone is clearly the flagship Windows Phone, at least in the US where it is going to be available. Among other things, Elop mentioned that they are going to “aggressively” price the phone, not just as a flagship phone but also for first-time smartphone buyers. It was an interesting quote and I look forward to seeing how it is priced, since I will not only be buying it, but doing do off-contract!

Nokia Lumia 900 Image Gallery

Nokia Lumia 900 at CES

Nokia Working on Windows 8 Tablets

Nokia, which ditched its own mobile OS – Symbian, for Windows Phone, is apparently working on a Windows 8 tablet, in collaboration with Microsoft. It will be launched by June 2012. With all of its hardware efforts aligned with Microsoft, Nokia is probably the closest thing to Microsoft’s own hardware arm.

With Dell, HP, and Samsung also rumored to be working on their Windows 8 tablets and ultrabooks, it seems that Microsoft now has the support of every major hardware manufacturer for the much awaited Windows 8, which will be launched in 2012.

This information was revealed by the head of Nokia France, who also let it slip that Nokia was working to launch a higher-end Lumia handset powered by Windows Phone 7.5 soon.

“It’s just the equivalent of the BMW 5 Series. We will soon have a full range with a Series 7 and Series 3.”

He likely referenced the Lumia 800 as a BMW 5, and the Lumia 710 as the BMW 3. The BMW 7 is presumably going to be the Lumia 900. Nokia has already launched the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710. Rumors suggest that its next Windows Phone device will be the Lumia 900, which will have a 4.3 inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, an 8 MP camera, and a 1.4 GHz processor with 16 or 32 GB of internal storage. It is expected to be launched in Q1 2012.