Nokia N9 PR 1.2 Software Update Now Live!

Back in January, Nokia started rolling out the PR 1.2 software update for the developer only Meego handset, the Nokia N950. Considering that the N9 is the consumer version of the N950, it was only a matter of time before Nokia released the update for the former.

Now, more than a month after the N950 got the update, Nokia has started rolling out the PR 1.2 software update for the N9. The PR 1.2 software update adds a bunch of new features to the last Meego handset from the company including video calling, improved photography, an updated version of Nokia Drive and folders support for the app drawer among other things.

For all the camera enthusiasts, the N9 now supports continuous auto-focus while recording videos. The software update also reduces the shutter lag on the N9 to nearly zero, like on the Galaxy Nexus, thus snapping moments instantly!

Post the software update, users will also be able to tag their friends in a photo they will be uploading using the new face recognition technology. Using the Google Talk video call app, users can also make video calls to their loved ones. Other changes in the software update include improved web browsing history, improved copy and paste, support for five new languages – Thai, Hebrew, Persian, Vietnamese and Kazak, the ability to create playlists in the stock music player, and enhancements to Mail for Exchange.

The software update contains many other changes, which N9 owners can find in details over here. The update is already live so simply connect your handset to a Wi-Fi network, and you will be automatically notified that a new software update is available for your handset.

Nokia Thinks A Tablet “Would Be Good For The Company”

With Nokia looked upon by many as one of the best-quality Windows Phone handset manufacturers out there, it should come as no surprise that people are hoping that they’ll enter the tablet business.

Though careful to not confirm any plans to produce a device at this time, they did tell Pocket-lint that “a tablet would be good for the company” during a one-on-one briefing at the Mobile World Congress with Niklas Savander, an executive vice-president at the company.

“The tablet is an interesting market for someone like Nokia because it is not cannibalising handset sales, it is cannibalising PC sales. If we are going to be in that market we need to have a [different] point of view, because being the 101st maker isn’t really a commercial or consumer proposition,” said Savandar. He is emphasizing the need to be unique and different from the others, so that Nokia can be a top tablet manufacturer. One can argue that the design and build quality alone would set the company apart from competitors.

He was quick to note that there are no solid product plans yet, though: “It is a potential growth market for someone like Nokia, but there are no plans so far.”

Perhaps, prior to investing in the development of a tablet, they wish to see how Windows 8 — and ARM tablets that will utilize the OS — will fare when it hits the shelves later this year.

With hardware quality being an important factor in purchasing a tablet for some, I think that there’s definitely a market out there for a beautiful, well-built Nokia tablet. Being spoiled by the hardware build quality of iOS devices myself, I hope that there will be comparable options when it comes time to purchase a WOA tablet.

Nokia Confirms PureView Technology Is Headed To Windows Phone

Last week, during the Mobile World Congress, Nokia announced the PureView 808; a phone whose prime selling point was a camera packing — wait for it — a 41MP camera sensor. Now of course, megapixels aren’t everything; they are only one ingredient in the mixture that results in a great camera that takes great photos, and an 8MP phone is perfectly capable of taking better photos than a 41MP phone.

However, there’s more to PureView than the megapixels, and you can read all about that here. It is definitely cool that they packed such a large megapixel count in a phone.

Moving on, however, something that’s unfortunate about this cool technology is that it was implemented on a phone that runs the Symbian OS. No need to fear, however; Nokia have officially confirmed that PureView is headed to Windows Phone — a real OS — sometime in the near future. Jo Harlow, Nokia’s Senior VP of Smartphones recently told Finnish newspaper Aamulethi when asked about when we can expect Nokia Windows Phone handsets to pack PureView, “I can’t say precisely when, but it will not take very long.” This is a rough translation of course; the original answer is in Finnish.

Perhaps we can expect the inevitable new lineup of Nokia devices that run Windows Phone Apollo to pack PureView.

Nokia Details Belle FP1 Update; Will Bump The Processor Speed To 1.3GHz on Nokia 700 & 701

At MWC, Nokia announced the highly anticipated successor to the N8, the Nokia 808 Pure View. This camera-cum-phone sports a whopping 41MP camera, thanks to a new technology from the Finnish giant – Pure View.

Apart from the camera, most point which most readers must have missed in the 808 Pure View spec sheet is that it runs on Nokia Belle FP1. Yes, FP1 (Feature Pack 1), which means the 808 will launch with a new version of Symbian on-board. Nokia detailed the changes included in the Belle FP1 update, which mainly aims at simply polishing the OS instead of adding new features or bringing about something radically different.

First and foremost, the FP1 update will add Dolby Headphone and Dolby Digital Plus to transform the music playback capabilities of your Nokia handset. Other than this, the update will also include 20 new and improved widgets, along with a faster browser with HTML5 support. The notification bar and the multi-tasking bar have also been improved, while all the inbuilt apps like Nokia Maps have been update to the latest version.

While the Nokia 808 Pure View will ship with Belle FP1 out of the box, only three other Symbian^3 handsets from Nokia will get the Belle FP1 update including the 603, 700 and 701. The Belle FP1 update will also bump up the processor speed on the Nokia 700 and 701 to 1.3GHz from 1GHz. Nokia did not mention as to when it will be rolling out the Belle FP1 update to existing Symbian handsets, but I don’t think its going to come anytime before the 808 Pure View is available to the general public.

Bing Maps And Nokia Make Sweet Love, Give Birth To Unified Map Design

In what appears to be one of many collaborations that we can expect to come from Microsoft and Nokia, the Bing Maps and Nokia Maps teams have recently collaborated to develop — and launch across both products — a new and improved map design. Packing improvements to the road map style, typography, and the use of visual hierarchy, the update aims to, quoting the Bing announcement, “unify our map elements, improve contrast and usability to ultimately create a more beautiful and functional map.”

The color palette for the road map style has been improved, and, as a result, you will no longer mistake roads for rivers. In all seriousness, the improved colors are quite nice on the eyes, and they do not clash with overlaid data. Improvements to typography were also made; small type is now easier to read, city names are large and transparent, and their size scales with your zoom level, and type size hierarchy helps to bring order to the maps. They’ve also made improvements to the visual hierarchy — basically, what data is shown — at different zoom levels.

On top of these map improvements, they vastly improved their mapping coverage and data through their partnership with Nokia and NavTeq. As a result, map data has improved drastically in several countries, including Egypt, Israel, Malta, Philippines, Uruguay, and Venezuela.

Nokia Asha 202 And Asha 203 Announced; Comes With 40 Free EA Games

Last year, Nokia launched the Asha series of entry-level phones at the Nokia World 2011. The Nokia Asha phones are currently available in more than 100 markets globally. Today, the company unveiled the new Nokia Asha 202 and Nokia Asha 203 Touch and Type phones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012 in Barcelona. The specs of both the handsets are almost similar. However, the only difference is the dual-SIM feature packed in the Nokia Asha 202. These handsets allows you to access your Facebook and Twitter networks from the preloaded social application.

“Since outlining a new strategy a year ago, we’ve taken significant actions to deliver against it,” said Mary T. McDowell, Nokia’s executive vice president for Mobile Phones. “We’ve been connecting the next billion people to the mobile world and its benefits through contemporary feature phones and internet services. Today, we are taking another step in that direction, with a compelling combination of smarter mobile devices packed with innovative services.”

Nokia Asha 202:

nokia asha 202

Nokia Asha 202 features a 2.4 inch QVGA, resistive touchscreen display, Symbian S40 OS, dual-SIM (GSM + GSM), 2 megapixel camera, social networking apps, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, 10 MB internal memory, microSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, MicroUSB, dedicated SIM manager, 3.5 mm headset jack, music player, enhanced stereo FM radio, up to 16.5 days of stand-by time, up to 5 hours of talk-time, and a 1020 mAh battery. This handset measures 114.8 mm x 49.8 mm x 13.85 mm and weighs just 90g. The Nokia Asha 202 will be available in 5 colors – Black, Silver White, Dark Red, Dark Grey, and Golden White.

Nokia Asha 203:

nokia asha 203

Nokia Asha 203 features a 2.4 inch QVGA, resistive touchscreen display, Symbian S40 OS, 2 megapixel camera, 3.5 mm headset jack, music player, Nokia Life, Nokia Maps, inbuilt speaker, social networking apps, Bluetooth 2.1 with EDR, 10 MB internal memory, microSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, MicroUSB, dedicated SIM manager, up to 27 days of stand-by time, up to 5 hours of talk-time, and a 1020 mAh battery. This handset measures 114.8 mm x 49.8 mm x 13.85 mm and weighs just 90g. The Nokia Asha 203 will be available in 3 colors – Silver White, Dark Red, and Dark Grey.

The Nokia Asha 202 and Asha 203 are the first Series 40 devices to offer EA games. The owner of these devices will get EA’s 40-game pack of worth 75 euros for free. You heard it right! The EA’s 40-game pack includes popular titles such as Tetris, Need for Speed, The Run and Bejeweled. The Nokia Asha 202 and Asha 203 will be available from the Q2 of 2012. These handsets come with a price tag of just 60 Euros (approx. $80 /Rs.4000) excluding taxes.

One Year On: Nokia Has Come a Long Way, Still Has a Very Long Way to Go

Nokia

Nokia kicked off the Mobile World Congress (MWC) with its press conference on February 27, in Barcelona. Stephen Elop, President and CEO of Nokia took stage and described the progress they have made since the last year’s event. If you recall, it was last year’s MWC when Nokia had officially announced that they were going all in on Windows Phone.

After the initial update on Nokia’s latest endeavors both on the low-end Asha phones, and also on the higher-end Windows Phones, the talk shifted to the new stuff. First up was the Asha line of phones, and 3 new devices were announced, along with Nokia Life services which bring life skills, parenting, education, agriculture and entertainment services to Series 30 and 50 phones in India, China, Indonesia and Nigeria.

However, I want to focus on Nokia’s progress with Windows Phone. Late last year, Nokia announced and launched two brand new devices, the Nokia Lumia 800 and Nokia Lumia 710. These devices were released ahead of schedule, and were available in parts of Europe first, and then slowly to other geographies over the next months. The launches everywhere were accompanied with a lot of marketing muscle – from concerts and light shows to flash mobs and video shows. Some examples:

Yet, I was surprised that based on a recent report by Strategy Analytics, Nokia was able to go from no market share to the highest share among all Windows Phone device makers. It is even more remarkable when you consider that the phones were not even available for the entire quarter, and not across most geographies where other device makers were already selling Windows Phones.

Nokia Unveils The Asha 302 Budget QWERTY Phone With 1 GHz Processor

Along with the Nokia 808 PureView 808 and Nokia Lumia 610, the company also announced the entry-level Nokia Asha 302 QWERTY phone at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012 in Barcelona. The Nokia Asha 302 is Nokia’s first Series 40 phone to support Mail for Exchange, which lets the user to access their emails, contacts, and calendar on an exchange server. This handset allows you to stay connected with your friends and family on the go.

Nicholas McQuire, research director enterprise mobility strategies EMEA for IDC, said,

“By making Mail For Exchange available for the sub 100 euros mobile device market, Nokia has taken a significant step in helping businesses across the globe, including those from high growth economies, achieve the productivity and employee satisfaction benefits that greater mobility affords them.”

nokia asha 302

Nokia Asha 302 features a 2.4 QVGA display, sporting a resolution of 320 x 240 pixels, Symbian S40 OS, 1 GHz processor, full QWERTY keyboard, 3.2 megapixel camera with 4x digital zoom, Nokia Browser, Social Networking apps, Mail For Exchange, Bluetooth 2.1 with enhanced data rates (EDR), and so on.

Other features include a 3.5 mm headset jack, music player, enhanced stereo FM radio, 140 MB internal memory, microSD card slot, 32 GB expandable memory, 3G Connectivity, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, MicroUSB, up to 29 days of stand-by time, up to 9 hours of talk-time, and a 1430 mAh battery.

This handset measures 115.2 mm x 58.9 mm x 13.5 mm and weighs just 106 g. The Nokia Asha 302 will be available in 5 colors – Dark Grey, White, Plum Red, Mid Blue, and Golden Light. This handset is specially designed for young entrepreneurs and professionals. The Nokia Asha 302 comes with a price tag of just 95 Euros (approx. $130/ Rs.6300) excluding taxes.

The Technology Behind Nokia’s 808 PureView 41 Megapixel Sensor

As many of you no doubt know by now, Nokia has unveiled a new cameraphone which resolves up to 5 megapixels. The catch here is that the sensor can capture up to 41 megapixels of data. This is no doubt the largest sensor ever made on a consumer camera phone (or indeed, any camera phone ever), but what prompted the team that worked on this phone to put such a large sensor on it?

Nokia808

In a word, the answer is ‘zoom’. To implement optical zoom and keep a thin and light form factor on the phone was proving to be extremely difficult and well nigh impossible:-

We had been working for a long time (on) optical zooms and had learned the hard way how difficult it is to achieve good performance in smartphones. Their structure is very complex and hard to manufacture.

The answer came to Nokia, like all those genius answers of yore, in the dead of night. What if they could implement a large sensor on a phone, zoom digitally, and throw away the unneeded pixels (by a process called ‘oversampling’) to make an impressively high res image? The rest (about five years of work) is history, so to speak, as AllThingsD says:-

One of the key advantages is it lets you zoom in three or four times in either photos or video and still have a sharp image. The picture of the camera, here, for example, is taken from the same wide shot of the camera and its sensors. In videos, the technology allows one to zoom in close while still maintaining an HD resolution.

Another plus is that the camera uses so called “oversampling” to shrink the image while still making use of the information in the large number of pixels. Nokia said it can create a better 5-megapixel image by using the data in the seven extra pixels to inform which single pixel it uses.

Some sample pictures have been released by Nokia. While they do not hold a candle to the most basic dSLR in the market in terms of picture quality, they definitely beat the hell out of much of the competition.

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.