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.


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 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.


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 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.


Nokia Belle Handsets Get A “Quality Improvement” Software Update

Nokia has started rolling out a new “Quality Improvement” software update for its Belle powered handsets. While Nokia has not released any specific change-log, reports from users suggests that the update mainly fixes some bugs and makes some under the hood Qt files related changes.

The update is only 8KB in size, which indicates that the changes brought about from this update is minor in nature. The update can only be installed using the ‘Software Update’ application found in nearly all the Nokia Belle powered handsets.

In other Nokia related news, the company has confirmed that its latest camera flagship – the Pure View 808 – will be available in select markets, including Russia and India, sometime in May. Below is the official press release from Nokia -:

Nokia today confirmed that the Nokia 808 PureView will start rolling out in select markets in May. The first markets to begin selling the Nokia 808 PureView include Russia and India.

While Nokia has not mentioned anything, the Pure View 808 should soon be available in some other regions of the world as well where Nokia has a pretty decent market share and lots of fan boys including U.K and Finland, its home country.

Nokia Chairman: Tablets And Hybirds Are Being Looked Into

Whenever asked whether or not there are plans to develop a Windows RT tablet, Nokia has generally beat around the bush and strayed from issuing any definitive answers. However, Jorma Ollila, the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Nokia — who will be departing the company after a 27-year run this week — has told the Financial Times on Wednesday that the company does plan to launch both tablet and “hybrid” (smartphone + tablet) devices in the future.

He said this in particular referring to tablets:

“Tablets are an important one, so that is being looked into, and there will be different hybrids, different form factors [handset designs] in the future.”

Nothing was said about specific device plans, or whether or not these devices will run Microsoft software at all. But, I think that it’s pretty much a given at this point that if Nokia indeed develops a tablet, it will be an ARM-based Windows RT device. It will be quite the challenge if they do go this route to get their foot in the door of an iPad and Android-dominated market. This will be yet another market where the company is an underdog that will have to go above and beyond to succeed.

Another interesting thing here though is Ollila’s mention of “hybrids” and other form factors. Is Nokia considering entering the market defined by the Galaxy Note, which is a very bizarre market segment to say the least? Perhaps Nokia may feel that, instead of trying to overtake a market that has largely been created and dominated by the iPad, they want to be the pioneers who “do things right” in the hybrid space. Still, I am a bit biased as I’m not a fan of the Note, or that breed of device.

I am, however, extremely excited at the prospect of a Windows 8 tablet from the company.

Nokia Extends Partnership With Carl-Zeiss

Nokia announced on Wednesday that it has extended its partnership with infamous optical instrument company Carl Zeiss to continue producing quality cameras in future Nokia devices. Carl Zeiss technology can already be found in the Nokia N9 and 808 PureView smartphones, along with the Lumia collection of Windows Phone devices.

“Carl Zeiss was a crucial partner in the creation of the first PureView experience,” said Jo Harlow, executive vice president of Nokia Smart Devices. “The benefits of our ongoing collaboration will be more PureView innovation and further advancements in smartphone imaging in the coming months and years.”

Now, not to go too offtopic here, but Carl Zeiss — the person who founded the company — was born in 1816. I find this fact to be fascinating; he was born when the world was hardly industrialized, and now, nearly 200 years later, his company continues to remain relevant in an era of consumer electronics. Carl Zeiss AG — the company — was itself founded in 1846.

The company also offered a comment on the continued partnership with Nokia:

“When joining forces with Nokia in 2005, we wanted to push the boundaries of mobile photography. Looking back at seven years of successful partnership, we are proud of the innovations and outstanding products created in this shared journey. Today we are celebrating the extension of our collaboration with a new technology that sets another real benchmark in this sector.”

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.


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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)


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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!

Nokia Asha 202 Launched In India For Rs.4,149

Earlier this year, Nokia announced the new Nokia Asha 202 and Nokia Asha 203 Touch and Type phones at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) 2012 in Barcelona. Today, Nokia finally launched the Nokia Asha 202 dual-SIM phone in India. This entry-level handset allows you to access your Facebook and Twitter networks from the pre-loaded social application.

Mr. Viral Oza, Director Marketing, Nokia India said,

“The introduction of Asha 202 takes us another step closer to connecting the next billion people to the internet. We are constantly innovating and finding newer ways to feed the ever increasing appetite for digital consumption for young consumers. Towards this, Nokia Asha 202 is the first mobile phone to come bundled with data offers from five leading operators of the country. Nokia Asha 202 is the new face of smarter feature phones that comes packed with compelling, innovative services and entertainment options.”

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 and much more.

Other features include a 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 comes in four exciting colors – black and gold, silver white, dark grey and dark red.

The Nokia Asha 202 is packed with exciting features such as EA games pack and Nimbuzz chat client for young and social consumers. It is the first 40 device to offer exclusive EA games in India. As a 60-day promotion at Nokia Store, the consumers can get 40 EA games pack worth Rs.4,000 for free. The offer includes popular and classic titles like Tetris, Need for Speed, The Run and Bejeweled.

The Nokia Asha 202 comes with a price tag of just Rs.4,149. Nokia has also tied up with five leading operators – Aircel, Airtel, Reliance, Tata Docomo and Vodafone to offer 100 MB of data per month for six months.

Nokia N9 To Get PR1.3 Update At The End Of May?

A couple of months ago, Nokia rolled out a pretty big update for its first-ever MeeGo powered handset, the N9. The PR 1.2 update added a bunch of new features and enhancements including the ability to make video calls via the in-built Google Talk IM client, continuous auto-focus while recording videos and much more. Readers can find the full change-log of the update here.

Now, it looks like Nokia is again going to roll out a new software update for the N9 once again. Unlike the PR 1.2 software update, the PR 1.3 update will only include some performance and stability improvements along with bug-fixes. N9 users should not really get their hopes up of Nokia bringing in more features with the PR 1.3 update, as it will just be a minor update. Rumors suggest that Nokia will start rolling out the PR 1.3 update sometime at the end of May.

Meego/Harmattan developers can check out the PR 1.3 commit from Nokia over here to get an idea of what all changes the update will include.

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


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


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!

Samsung Overtakes Nokia to Become the Top Mobile Manufacturer

Bad news for Nokia just keeps on coming. After spending fourteen consecutive years at the top, Nokia slipped behind Samsung in global mobile handset shipments in Q1 2012. Latest report from Strategy Analytics suggests that Samsung shipped 93.5 million handsets in the first quarter (36 percent more than a year earlier), even as Nokia slipped by 24 percent to 82.7 million units. Apple was a distant third with 35.1 million shipments; however, even that is an achievement as Apple only sells premium smartphones. The mobile phone market itself grew by 3 percent.

Nokia snatched the crown of the world’s top mobile manufacturer from Motorola in 1998. During the first half of the previous decade, Nokia went from strength to strength as it released supremely popular devices like the N95. However, ever since iPhone turned the smartphone world on its head, Nokia has been busy playing catch-up. Its experiments with Maemo and Meego didn’t achieve commercial success, and it’s now clinging onto Windows Phone in a battle for survival. Samsung on the other hand has had one record breaking quarter after another thanks to the strength of its Galaxy series. Nokia is being pushed to the brink even in the feature-phone segment, which has traditionally been its stronghold, by Chinese and Indian competitors like ZTE and Micromax.

The dominance of Samsung and Apple also points towards shifting dynamics in the mobile segment. Smartphones are no longer premium, niche devices. They have become the primary cash cows. Strategy Analysts believes that Samsung shipped almost 10 million more smartphones than Apple, but iSupply believes that Samsung is still trailing Apple in smartphone segments by 3 million. Samsung is currently preparing to release its next blockbuster – the Galaxy S3, on May 3.