Nokia Breaks Their Billion S40 Mark

Break out the bubbly, Nokia has officially broken a billion sales of their Series 40 handsets. 1.5 billion to be exact.

In their effort to bring Series 40 to the emerging masses, Nokia promised to reach the “next billion”. Today Nokia announced they have broken 1.5 billion S40 handsets sold. The Nokia Asha 303 was the lucky handset to be handed off to the lucky purchaser, 21 year old Mayara Rodrigues. With a celeb-like fanfare, Mayara met with Vice President of Nokia Brazil Almir Narcizo, and Retail Network President, Luiza Helena Trajano for their inaugural moment (pictured above).

It was Mary McDowell who promised Nokia would help “connect the next billion”. She was referring to emerging markets, new smartphone owners and people who are using their first internet connection from a mobile phone. As the Executive Vice President for Nokia, McDowell is incredibly proud to reach this milestone.

“Having 1.5 billion Series 40 devices sold is a hard-to-reach mark, let alone one attainable in a single line of products. At a time when we are maintaining our commitment to connecting the next billion customers around the world – it is gratifying to consider how Series 40 devices have made mobile technology accessible and help continue to change people’s lives for the better.”

It’s fitting that the 303 was the device Mayara chose, as the name Asha is sanskrit for ‘hope’. Announced at Nokia World 2011, the Nokia Asha 303 is a Touch and Type Series 40 handset. It features a full hardware QWERTY keyboard and a touchscreen, for dual functionality. The milestone mobile was purchased from a Magazine Luiza store in São Paulo. Mayara purchased it as she “loves staying in touch with friends and family through social networks.”

Hey Nokia, what’s cooler than a million billion? The next billion.

Nokia Still Showing Love to the N9 – PR1.2 Right Around the Corner

Even though Nokia has gone full tilt to Windows Phone 7, and in the process, taken the design of the recently announced Lumia 800/900 from the N9, they are adamant in providing updates to the dead-on-arrival handset.

Just shy of 2 months from the PR1.1 update, Nokia Developer has announced that PR1.2 will become available for registered developers and participants in the N950 Developer Program. It will be in a beta stage for testing and provided to ensure application compatibility before full public launch on the N9.

Among the 3,500 expected changes, the ability to create folders on the homescreen, copy and paste in the browser, and face recognition within the camera, are the top additions. Although no official changelog has been released, likely due to the fact that the OneClickFlashers for the N950 have not been released, screenshots from an N9 already running PR1.2 have been shared online.

While Nokia does have a fairly strong track record of providing updates and fixing serious bugs on released devices, some have indicated that PR1.2 will be the last update for the N9, as the company moves forward headstrong with Windows Phone 7. Hopefully the update also brings with it, the much requested (and promised) ‘open-mode’, giving developers more low level system access — which will also allow the community to continue updating their devices when Nokia stamps it as EOL.

If you’re a lucky (or unlucky) user of an N9, you’ll likely be waiting anywhere from a few week or a few months until PR1.2 is officially released for your N9. Hang in there, this might be the last hurrah for you and your coveted MeeGo device.

T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 710 Now Available For Free On Contract At Walmart

Last month, T-Mobile announced the much-awaited Nokia Lumia 710 smartphone. It is the Nokia’s first Windows Phone 7.5 powered device, launched in the US. This handset was originally announced at the Nokia World 2011 in London. Last week, the Nokia Lumia 710 went on sale in the US for just $50 with a 2 year service agreement. However, we have a good news for the T-Mobile customers planning to buy this amazing entry-level smartphone.

Within a week of its official launch, Walmart is selling the Nokia Lumia 710 smartphone for free on contract. You heard it right. Now you can get this device without burning a hole in your pocket. If you are planning to buy one, then check out the complete specs after the break.

nokia lumia 710 tmobile

T-Mobile Nokia Lumia 710 features a 3.7 inch WVGA display, sporting a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, 1.4 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon processor, Windows Phone 7.5 Mango OS, 5 megapixel auto-focus camera with LED flash, HD (720p) video recording and playback, Skydrive cloud storage and so on.

It also comes with a 3.5mm headset jack, 512MB RAM, 8 GB internal memory, Zune Music, Internet Explorer 9 Mobile, A-GPS, Wi-Fi 801.11 b/g/n, 3G Connectivity, MicroUSB 2.0, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR, up to 34 hours of music playback time, up to 7 hours of talk-time, up to 400 hours of stand-by time and a 1300 mAh battery.

The Nokia Lumia 710 will come preloaded with Nokia Drive, Netflix, App Highlights, T-Mobile TV, My Account, Microsoft Office Apps (Word, Excel, PowerPoint, OneNote, SharePoint and Office 365), The Weather Channel, ESPN, Slacker Radio and TeleNav GPS.

Walmart is selling both Black and White versions of the Nokia Lumia 710 for free with a 2 year service agreement. On the other hand, you can get this handset at CostCo for just a penny after the 2 year contract and a $50 mail-in rebate. Are you planning to buy this handset? Or you will go for the upcoming Nokia Lumia 900 and Lumia 800? Let us know your views in the comments section below.

Nokia Sells 450 Wireless Patents to Patent Troll

Nokia may no longer be the market leader in smartphones, but it still has more than 30,000 patents related to various technologies used in smartphones, wireless equipment and standards. It is one of the few companies to win against Apple in a patent duel, and still receives licensing royalty payments from Apple.

Nokia has sold more than 450 patents to Sisvel, an Italian patent licensing company, or in other words, a patent troll. The patents cover technologies related to 3G, LTE and GSM. Some of them are essential patents, and must be licensed to others on FRAND terms.

Nokia still retains a license to these patents, but the exact details of the deal haven’t been revealed. Nokia could either have sold them off for a lump sum amount, or it could have sold them in return for a cut of the licensing revenue and access to other patents in Sisvel’s portfolio. In any case, it is selling off part of its patent portfolio to raise funds, presumably to expand operations.

Nokia’s patent portfolio is one of the most important ones in the mobile and wireless industry, which has been plagued by patent lawsuits among the major players. Google recently acquired Motorola primarily for its patent portfolio. Microsoft is set to generate billions of dollars in licensing revenue from Android device manufacturers.

It’s not clear what Sisvel plans to do with the acquired patents, but it’s definitely not going to sit on them.

Hands on with Nokia Drive and Nokia Transport

Nokia Location Apps

Nokia is very strong in location-based services and to demonstrate this strength, they have a few apps pre-loaded on their Windows Phones, like Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, Nokia Transport, Nokia Pulse and Nokia City Lens. I got a chance to look at Nokia Drive and Nokia Transport at the Nokia booth during the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas.

Nokia Drive is the free turn-by-turn navigation app that comes pre-loaded on Nokia Windows Phones. It lets you search an extensive database of points of interest (POI) and also get directions to a specific address. Nokia Drive comes in 50 languages and in 100 countries, and allows downloads of specific maps to the phone so that it works even when the phone is not connected to the network.

Nokia Transport is in beta, and it is an app which lets you get from one place to another via public transport (including walking). The interesting part about this app, as you will see in the video, is the ability to pin a certain route to your Start Screen. This pinned Live Tile then keeps you updated with the next 3 times of departure for your route. This app demonstrates the beauty of the Windows Phone OS: pinning the route to the Start Screen allows you to get to that route instantly without opening the app and then searching for the route, and the Live Tile which keeps updating the route timings throughout the day.

Nokia Transport comes with information on public transport in 450 cities in 46 countries.

Enjoy the videos below.

Nokia Drive and Nokia Transport

For my hands on with Nokia Lumia 900, see this post. For a walkthrough of the Nokia ESPN app, see this post.

Nokia Windows Phone ESPN App Walkthrough


Here is a video of the exclusive app that ESPN created for Nokia Windows Phones. The app is beautiful, no doubt. It follows all of the Metro design principles with the pivots, the in-app pinning, etc. What I found out though, as an existing Windows Phone user, is that the app left a lot to be desired. Perhaps it was my high expectation level about an exclusive Nokia app, or that ESPN would take their current ScoreCenter app and raise it a notch. Whatever the case may be, it was a little bit disappointing.

The biggest issue that I saw, and I feel it is an opportunity missed at least in this version of the app, is the lack of Live Tiles. If Nokia wants to wow the new Windows Phone users, it would be fantastic if the users could not only pin an individual sport to the Start Screen, but also get toasts or Live Tile updates for that sport. As an ESPN registered member you can choose to receive text alerts, for example, at various intervals within a game. Those alerts could easily have been implemented as toasts or Live Tiles within the app.

Video walkthrough of the ESPN app exclusive on Nokia Windows Phones:

Nokia Windows Phone ESPN App Walkthrough

In this video, the Nokia representative is talking about the app, but is also talking about the platform in general which allows you to do many things within the context of what you are doing rather than force you to open multiple apps. What you will notice is that after going two levels deep, the links end up opening the ESPN mobile web, which is not bad. However, compared to the native app, it does look quite different.

The Nokia ESPN app is a well-designed one which looks beautiful. It has pretty good functionality for “version 1”, but I hope Live Tiles and greater in-app content gets to the app soon, perhaps even before the official ship date of the Nokia Lumia 900.

For a hands on look at the Nokia Lumia 900, see my earlier post.

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 Lumia 900 For AT&T Announced; Comes With 1.4 GHz CPU, 8 MP Camera

As expected, AT&T and Nokia finally announced the much-awaited Nokia Lumia 900 smartphone. It is the first Nokia’s Windows Phone powered device to feature the high-speed LTE connectivity. This handset will be exclusively available for the AT&T customers in the US. Nokia Lumia 900 runs on the Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) Operating System. This handset comes with the Nokia Drive app, which offers free voice-guided, turn-by-turn navigation with a dedicated in-car user interface that turns the Nokia Lumia 900 into a GPS navigation device.

“The introduction of the Nokia Lumia 900 with AT&T is another significant milestone in the ongoing rollout of Nokia’s global smartphone strategy,” said Chris Weber, president of Nokia Americas. “The Nokia Lumia 900 is designed specifically with the US in mind and the announcement of this collaboration with AT&T, in addition to other recent announcements, signifies a new dawn for Nokia in the US.”

nokia lumia 900

Nokia Lumia 900 features a 4.3 inch ClearBlack display, sporting a resoulution of 800 x 480 pixels, 1.4 GHz Snapdragon processor, Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) OS, 8 megapixel rear camera with f2.2/28mm Carl Zeiss lens and dual LED flash, auto-focus and HD (720p) video recording, 1 megapixel front-facing camera for video calls, A-GPS, Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n, USB 2.0, Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR and much more.

It also comes with a 3.5mm headset jack, 4G LTE – up to 50 Mbps down/ 25 Mbps up, IE9 with HTML 5 support, 512 MB RAM, 16 GB internal memory, 14.5 GB user memory, SkyDrive, Wi-Fi Internet Sharing for up to 5 devices, Nokia Drive, Nokia Maps, Bing Maps, AT&T Navigator, Zune, AT&T Radio, Office 365, Xbox Live, Windows Marketplace, up to 60 hours of music playback in offline mode, up to 7 hours of talk-time, up to 300 hours of stand-by time and a 1830 mAh battery.

Nokia Lumia 900 will get 20 popular EA games in the coming weeks. This handset is expected to be available from March 18. Nokia will soon announce the price of this amazing smartphone.

Nokia Buys Smarterphone to Make its Dumbphones Smarter

Nokia may have bet its future on Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform when it comes to smartphones, but it is still working on its feature phone offerings, which make it the top mobile phone manufacturer worldwide.

Apparently, Nokia purchased a Norwegian company, Smarterphone, which has created an operating system that brings smartphone features and user experiences to budget feature phones with slow processors and smaller displays. Smarterphone has been selling its technology to many OEMs and ODMs which use its platform to power their devices.

The acquisition was revealed when Ferd Capital, an investor in Smarterphone, revealed it in a press release. It had invested around 6.5 million euros in Smarterphone. The purchase price wasn’t revealed.

Nokia, which traditionally had the greatest market share in feature phones, has seen itself slide in recent times, even in its strongest territories. Samsung recently overtook Nokia as the smartphone market leader in India, and is slowly clawing away at its feature phone market share too. It is also under attack by Chinese manufacturers which are targeting the low-end feature phone market.

With Smarterphone, Nokia is planning to make its feature phones slightly more appealing, and even win back some of its lost market share. Even though feature phones may not be as lucrative as smartphones in terms of profit margins, they offer a huge revenue opportunity, especially in emerging economies like India, China and Africa. After all, everyone can’t be Apple.

HTC Sees Profit Drop as Samsung Eats its Android Lunch

Samsung wasn’t the only smartphone maker which revealed its quarterly earnings today. HTC also posted its Q4 2011 results, but unlike Samsung which had a record quarter, it actually reported a drop in its operating profit, for the first time in the last two years. Its net income in Q4 dropped 26% to $364 million, below analyst estimates. Its revenues were down 2.5% to around $3.35 billion.

Apparently, its unit sales dipped more than expected, due to the increasing competition in the smartphone space. Its smartphone shipments in Q4 were down to only 10 million units, and are expected to slip further to 8.5 million units in Q1 2012.

“Severe competition at the high end from Apple and Samsung forced their sales lower during the quarter. The key is when they can find their competitive edge, which may not happen until the second quarter at the earliest,” said a Nomura analyst.

HTC is slated to launch some new devices at CES 2012, which will start next week. If any of those devices turn out to be a hit, they could boost HTC’s sales in Q2 2012. However, given the very competitive nature of the smartphone market, that seems increasingly unlikely. While Apple has its own platform, Samsung has become the preferred manufacturer for the Android platform, and Nokia has become the flagship manufacturer for Windows Phone. HTC runs a real risk of becoming irrelevant fast, if it doesn’t move soon.