Editorials

Total Mobile Nations Network Movember Funds Raised: $14,409 (USD)

December is here which means the month of Movember is over and our moustaches have been shaved off. This is the first time we participated in the event as a network and it was an outstanding success. Together we raised over $14,000 for prostate and men's mental health research... MO-MAZING!!

Be sure to watch the video above to take a gander at the many men who participated in this year's event. And below we give special props to the tremendous fundraising efforts of a few of the team members that went above and beyond the call of duty, and also pay tribute to our favorite moustaches grown this month. We'll be reaching out to these invidividuals to hook them up with some special prizes, courtesy of MObile Nations.

Big congratulations to everyone that participated, and see you all back here next year for Movember at MObile Nations!

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Just to throw some water on some of the ridiculousness that is surrounding a single job call by Nokia this morning, we’re going to address this just once.

Evidently Nokia placed a job posting on the site LinkedIn that called for a “Principal Software Engineer, Embedded Linux Middleware”.  A few tech sites (who should really know better) said that this is “consistent with Nokia making a tentative, exploratory move into Android territory” and another site headlining “Is Nokia Planning an Android Handset? New Job Listing Suggests So”.

No, it does not...

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Earlier this week we were lucky enough to be in attendance at the Electric in Brixton where Nokia promoted the Lumia 920 by showing a recorded version of Deadmau5's performance near tower bridge before bringing the man live into the club for a special free live event.

Of course we weren't content with going just for the beer and electro-house music, so we thought we'd use the opportunity to do another comparison for people still torn between the Lumia 920 and HTC 8X.

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Yesterday another Video appeared on the dedicated Surface YouTube Channel but it dispels with any meaningful message in favour of irritating music and mind bending spins and flips.

The Surface tablet is Microsoft’s first foray into selling its own computer and is designed to go head to head with an army of Android tablets and the seemingly unstoppable Apple iPad. Anticipation for this device amongst many, including staff here at Windows Phone Central has been high and we have written about how much we like it but we aren’t really what you’d call the average consumer. So what is going with the advertising for Surface?

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(Editor's Note: Our Windows Phone Central app developer, Jay Bennett, weighs in on the Lumia 920, the HTC 8X and his experience with both. PS It's his birthday today, so take it easy on him!)

With the release of Windows Phone 8 there is something of a rivalry forming between the HTC 8X, the ‘Signature Windows Phone’, and the Nokia Lumia 920, arguably the flagship Windows Phone in terms of hardware & features.

Whilst many consumers have already made their decision we know that some will still be mulling over the options, or perhaps contemplating one due to unavailability of the other.

It is to those people that I direct this article, we are not interested in fuelling the culture of blindly supporting one device (or even manufacturer) over the other, which honestly I would like to see stop. The simple fact is there are two awesome top end devices available right now and you have the luxury of choice, you lucky consumer you.

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It hasn't been the best of starts for the new UK carrier since it launched the first 4G network in the country. EE holds exclusivity on the Lumia 920, with available handsets at Phones4u locked to the network, forcing consumers with different providers to look online at unlocked prices - which went anywhere up to £550. So why has there been so much outrage at EE and the Lumia 920 launch?

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Nokia have firmly established themselves as a major player in the Windows Phone market. Their devices have been consistently regarded well and their marketing efforts have seen them establish ‘Lumia’ as a powerful and recognisable brand in its own right.

With the advent of Windows Phone 8 we saw Nokia strive to produce the definitive ‘hero’ device of this generation. The Lumia 920 packs some serious specs and for some it’s seen to be the best device of this current crop of phones. It isn’t all about the speeds and feeds, it’s about a cohesive package consisting of exclusive apps, hardware and of course Windows Phone 8.

We've previously reviewed the Lumia 920, which is well worth checking out for the in-depth analysis, but it is from this perspective I’m going to look at how successful it really is.

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Ever since Microsoft first announced to the world their intentions to “re-imagine” Windows it has been a rather wild ride. Their new touch screen user interface, WinRT wasn't just radical for its looks, it ushered in a totally new apps eco system while simultaneously sending the Start Menu to the technology grave yard.

The changes to the OS ran deep and Microsoft had been busy readying Windows 8/RT to run on the highly power efficient ARM processors. Their plans for that became clearer when they shocked the technology world by announcing their own tablet computer, the Surface. With the changes to Windows came a new declaration that Microsoft re-position themselves as a Devices and Services company. They have built their eco system and the next logical step has been to control the hardware that uses it. The culmination of their efforts in re-imagining Windows and becoming a devices and services company can we seen best in one single product, their Surface tablet running Windows RT.

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Last night I was finally able to get my hands on all the Windows Phone devices here at the UK launch event. The impressions are by no means reviews but simply my feelings at this crucial hands-on moment.

Here are my thoughts from the evening as I get my hands on the HTC 8s and HTC 8x, Samsung ATIV S, Lumia 820 and of course the Lumia 920.

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With launch day and general availability of Surface devices set to begin in a few short days the reviews have started to appear. After months of speculation and mountains of questions about price and specs, we’re finally at the end of this saga. Microsoft have dished out Surface devices to the great and the good for some pre-release exclusives.

Surface represents a few key things for Microsoft, firstly it will be the public face of Windows 8, and secondly it is designed to showcase ARM devices and the new WinRT touch interface. From the moment it was announced this was going to be such a critical element for the entire launch of Windows 8. How well it’s received depends on not only the hardware but also the software. Check out our roundup after the break..

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Yes folks it’s finally here, the week that will see Microsoft launch Windows 8, spearheading its massive 2012 product launch schedule. It’s keystone of the ‘Three Screens & Cloud’ play and this is where we see how it’s all going to shake out.

The pre-orders for Surface have started and even run dry in some regions, invites to the various launch events have gone out and now it’s time to put all the cards on the table. With such a wide ranging spruce-up of the entire product line from Xbox to Windows Phone, we’re in for a wild ride. Windows 8 will be at the centre of these launches, not just because it’s Windows but because with it we will see a whole host of services light up to enable the entire eco system.

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Is this really a whole new Microsoft?

 

Yesterday, Microsoft reported a year over year (YoY) revenue decline of 8%.  But accounting rules being what they are, the Redmond giant deferred $1.36 billion in revenue coming from Windows 8, which hasn’t yet been released. Things like pre-sales are not counted as revenue yet because Microsoft hasn’t launched the product yet.  It’s an accounting thing, and it’s normal.  So from a business perspective, Microsoft revenues are essentially flat.     Looking at the various segments of their business, it is the Server & Tools business that is showing the best growth (8% YoY), driven by SQL Server and System Center.  The Business Division (Microsoft Office and other software) is down 2%.  The Windows & Windows Live Division was down a whopping 33% though.  This is where the revenue deferral happened, so if you adjust for the timing or revenue recognition, the business was down only 9%.  
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Last we checked there are 31 days in the month of October, which means 31 opportunities to schedule press events. And if you were feeling randy, we hear that November has 30 more occasions.

So we can’t help but cast astonishment at Google’s insistence on having a big reveal on the very same day that Microsoft is holding its Windows Phone 8 announcement. With Microsoft on the West coast (San Francisco), Google has opted for New York City giving tech blogs a headache for travel plans.

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Windows Phone to take BlackBerry?

Windows Phone has been called as BlackBerry's last nail in its coffin, by Ovum analyst Nick Dillon. Due to the reportedly increased levels of security and platform integration, Dillon expects Microsoft to succeed in the business and enterprise market, where RIM has held much of the space.

While we remain unaware of exactly what to expect in the next version of Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has given the green light on pre-orders to be made available for both partner hardware and software copies of Windows 8. Ovum forecasts Microsoft's mobile platform will increase its marketshare from under five per-cent in the UK to 13 per-cent within five years.

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The next version of Windows Phone is just around the corner, with it comes some fantastic hardware and the promise of new features. But what about the next gen apps?

While we have spent a great deal of time looking at the coming phones and peeking at the new underlying operating system did we forget that it’s the apps that matter? While we know that existing apps will work fine on the new OS, what lays in store for those dedicated Windows Phone 8 apps?

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In his latest letter to shareholders, Steve Ballmer has reiterated the desires of the company to become a devices and services company, contradicting what Charlie Kindel, former Windows Phone General Manager, had to say about the hardware dream with the Surface.

With the coming release of Windows 8 and the subsequent decision for Microsoft to dive in and develop its own tablet, it’s becoming clearer where this is taking them. A company that makes and delivers the entire stack. From cloud services to the device in your hand, this appears to be their vision.

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With yesterday’s announcement of the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 coming to AT&T, the word that caught our eye and yours was “exclusive”. Even Rogers is now in on the "exclusive" action. The term was applied to both Lumia devices, although as pointed out in our forums, the 820’s exclusiveness to AT&T was dropped from Nokia’s site later in the day. 

The tech’o’sphere has responded quite negatively to the news if only because the Lumia 920 has built up such demand that many people are cheering for its success. That success though depends on how many people can actually buy it, which in turn translates into carrier availability. If the Lumia 920 is only available on 1 of 4 major US carriers, well that’s certainly less people than had it been on two or three carriers. A pretty obvious impact.

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Will only AT&T have the 920 in the US?

In today’s press release from AT&T making the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 official, the word “exclusive” unfortunately was tossed in to the mix raising some red flags.

When addressing the Lumia 920 specifically it was used in this context:

“Exclusive to our customers and featuring unique innovations…the Lumia 920 will be one of the hottest phones for the holidays,”

To us that sounds like AT&T has managed to make a deal with Nokia to be the only carrier offering the flagship phone. While the Lumia 820 has been expected to go to T-Mobile and even Verizon, the 920 was always a toss up. Many people have been hoping big Red would finally get a top of the line Nokia Windows Phone. In fact, an earlier report from PhoneArena strongly suggested that to be the case.

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Well  hello there, what's your number?

This morning as expected, AT&T formally announced the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 are headed for the carrier “in November”. No pricing or exact release dates were given.

But there was a nice little surprise with the Lumia 920 reveal: it comes in Cyan.

Many people were shocked that when Nokia revealed the 920 that the prominent color was AWOL from the lineup. The only variations shown were yellow, red, white, matte grey and black and in fact, the Nokia website reflects that offering.

Cyan though had become the unofficial-official color of the Lumia series from Nokia and to have it missing from the 920 seemed like an odd omission. We pointed out earlier the influence of the color on Microsoft's own designs too.

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Concept Surface phone (Image via Jonas-Daehnert)

It has been a few months since we last heard anything about Microsoft making its own Windows Phone again, so it looks like we’re about due.

A new “report” from the not so trusty China Times straightforwardly states that Microsoft will have its own Windows Phone launch sometime in early 2013 and that they’ve been working on it with a hardware partner for the last four months.

Evidence? Sources? Who needs those things on the internet!

However, some of our readers have asked to weigh in on the matter so instead of just ignoring this story (what we would prefer to do) we’ll give our thoughts on it. Obviously, with our snarky “who needs sources” banter above, you can get a feel for what side we come down on this topic.

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