Editorials

Did Apple's announcement help Nokia buy time?

Just over one week ago as Nokia took to the stage to announce their new Windows Phone 8 devices, their stock value dropped 16% in a single day upon the news. To many of us, this was confusing if only because the devices themselves really seemed great—but the problem was (and still is) the uncertainty created by not announcing price and availability.

We had an excellent analysis of the situation by our own Chris Umiastowski and noted how this was probably temporary and not warranted.

Since that time, Nokia’s stock has slowly climbed back up but there was another hurdle in the distance: Apple’s iPhone 5 announcement. The anticipation was if Apple announced something truly groundbreaking—revolutionary instead of evolutionary—it would further damage perception of Nokia to investors. The iPhone 5 is already one of the top selling phones in the world and it just got way better? That’s bad if you’re betting on Nokia.

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My Next Windows Phone - Robert Brand

We have all been asked to write about our next Windows Phone, of course it will be Windows Phone 8. It is a tricky proposition as I have yet to see what HTC are going to bring and I haven’t yet had the chance to touch an ATIV S or Lumia 920. Regardless of that, I’m at the point where I can be fairly certain what I’m going to get when the time finally comes..

There is still much to learn about future Windows Phone 8 devices, but I think it’s reasonable to say that HTC and Samsung are simply recycling their recent Android flagships and using those for their next generation Windows Phone handsets. Based on the leaked specs we have seen, at least one HTC unit could be based on the One X. I wrote a detailed article about the new HTC and Samsung Windows Phone 8 hardware, in case you missed it.

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Today's winner is...

Today, Apple finally took the wraps off of the long-awaited iPhone 5 (you can get all the dirty details at our sister site iMore). Funny thing happened along the way though to the announcement: many leaks came forward early on that turned out to be highly accurate, taking the punch out of a lot of the new features. What’s more, even the media started to get a bit bored with Apple’s plans for the next-gen device.

The question for our readers though is in terms of raw technology—who came out on top? We say that because we know Apple will win the PR and hype war, but for the first time a Windows Phone has gone toe-to-toe and in terms of specs, has beat out the next-generation iPhone.

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My Next Windows Phone - George Ponder

We've been asked to share with you which of the new Windows Phone 8 devices we'll be getting. It's a trick question on my end because I'll likely get two, maybe three of the new Windows Phone because of my work. To be true to the spirit of the question, I need to share which of the new Windows Phone 8 devices I'll be using as my daily device.

While the Samsung ATIV S and HTC 8X both seem to be quality Windows Phones, the photographer in me can't ignore the potential the Nokia Lumia 920's Pureview Camera has. Combined with a unibody design that I like and the 4.5" screen that my aging eyes like then the Lumia 920 becomes my choice for everyday use. I'm just not sure if I'll stick with my conservative black or take a step on the wild side and go with yellow.

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President Barack Obama has been known to be a die-hard BlackBerry fan for years now, even as the Waterloo company is scrambling for its life to stay afloat. While he can wait for BlackBerry 10 to arrive sometime next year, we think he should start considering other options. (After all, that platform won’t have 100,000 apps, right?)

In a somewhat humorous moment this past weekend, the President started to use an iPhone, presumably either as a backup, transition device or just someone else’s. Either way, he evidently wasn’t at all familiar with neither the phone nor the OS and he scrambled a bit when trying to dial out.

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The Nokia Lumia 920 Windows Phone's Pureview Camera turned a lot of heads this week with it's very impressive low light and stabilizing features. The demo video and still images gave hope that a "knock your socks off" camera was heading to the Lumia Windows Phone line. But the video and still images have been dissected more than a High School science project with accusations that Nokia faked it all and the camera isn't as grand as Nokia would like us to think. But is this a case of bad advertising or a bad camera?

We think it's two separate issues and too many nay sayes are trying to mesh them together to make the Lumia 920 look bad. We believe this because the specs on paper lead credence to the camera's touted performance and most importantly because we've seen the camera perform up close and personal.

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Yesterday, Nokia CEO Stephen Elop took the stage to unveil two important new Lumia phones powered by Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 8 OS.  Despite positive reviews of the hardware, the stock collapsed by 16%.  

What does all this mean?  Why did the stock collapse and what does it mean for the future of Nokia and Windows Phone?  Is there a real message here, or is this simply panic and depression on the part of investors?

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The Nokia Lumia 920

Of all of the announcements today by Nokia, the 920’s PureView camera is probably one of the more impressive. We told you what we thought it meant and we weren't too far off. Today we had a chance to not only play around with it but in talking with Ilari Nurmi, VP of Product Marketing for Nokia, we were able to learn a bit more behind the technology as well.

First, let’s talk about the specifications and what they mean to you, the consumer…

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Listening to podcasts on the go is one of my favorite pastimes, a great way to catch up with the latest news or a special interest. For those of us who reside outside of North America, podcast support has been a bit limited to say the least. Unlike our pals in the US, we cannot subscribe to podcasts through the marketplace on either Zune desktop software or directly using the phone. Annoying, but Mango at least introduced a half-workable solution. Unfortunately, after the Tango update it’s no longer possible to use that either.

To subscribe to podcasts prior to Tango, first we needed to set them up in the Zune desktop suite. Once subscribed, simply plugging in the phone and synchronising would pass the podcast to it. Podcasts would the automatically download without further PC interaction. Alas, this is now not the case. What’s going on?

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It’s a bit late in coming, but at last we have an official wrap-up of our time spent at Casual Connect Seattle this year. Unlike the Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3), which is a console-focused event, Casual Connect centers around casual games – a ‘genre’ or subset found mostly on smartphones, tablets, and PCs.  As such, we ventured forth in hopes of scoring some juicy Windows Phone games coverage as well as gauging the casual gaming industry’s feelings towards Microsoft’s smartphone platform in general.

Head past the break to see what we learned, plus links to all of our exclusive Casual Connect coverage!

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The last few weeks have been exciting for Windows Phone with all the leaks concerning Windows Phone 8 hardware. The launch is almost upon us and of course, we’re all excited about the phones we’re likely to see. The next gen specs, even on the rumoured low end devices, are a big jump for Windows Phone. But will high-end devices from Samsung and HTC excite? Let’s look at the situation.

As we only have rumours so far, you’ll have to take the following with pinches of salt as we speculate somewhat. To start with, let’s cast our eye over the proposed Samsung devices. No doubt on paper these devices look the part but delving deeper we can clearly see that their high-end device is likely along the lines of a Galaxy S3. Will a recent flagship Android device serve as the high-end launch device for Windows Phone 8?

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Howdy folks, your grouchy but occasionally lovable editor here for our new segment, appropriately titled From the Editor’s Desk. (Truth be told, it’s more of a couch-n-laptop kind of setup rather than a desk, because that’s how I roll).

Here at Mobile Nations, all the site editors are doing these posts on Sundays as a way to recap the week’s news, our opinions on things and anything coming up. I encourage you to check out iMore, Android Central and CrackBerry for their often hilarious insight. As usual, I’m a bit behind them but I’m slowly catching up.

This past week we had an odd combo of August-slowness combined with breaking leaks of new Nokia phones. There was also that Metro-controversy, which turned out to be nothing and of course Nokia and Microsoft announcing that they’re going steady…err...having a press conference.

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Microsoft all of a sudden loves cyan & magenta, we wonder why. Oh, right...

Throw this under just observations we’ve noticed in the last few months with some of Microsoft’s new hardware but it looks to us like they are adopting some of Nokia’s more bold design efforts.

The latest being the usage of cyan and magenta for some of their hardware, like the Microsoft Wireless Mobile Mouse 3500, which gained two new Nokia colors this week.

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We had a chance to sit down and chat with Thom Brenner, Vice President of Location and Commerce for Nokia and Pino Bonetti who writes about location on the Nokia Conversations blog. We wanted to hear what Nokia are planning for the future with its location services, which the company has touted as its main focus and differentiator for Windows Phone.

Being number one in location and mapping is not anything new to Nokia as they have been at this game for many years, ever since they purchased NAVTEQ back in 2007 for a reported $8.1B. Their services power products from Microsoft, Yahoo, Flickr and four out of five cars on the road today use Nokia mapping technology. Nokia have announced their intention to be the “where” company, making location services the very heart of what they do.

Mapping and location are set to get a big boost from this drive, as Windows Phone users we will be pole position to see some of those fantastic innovations.

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How close are we to a Nokia Windows Phone 8 device?

If there is one thing we can say about Nokia and Microsoft lately is that both companies have faith in their products. Whatever the sales or marketshare figures show, the Windows Phone OS and Nokia hardware are a brilliant combo.

So we’re relishing the words by Chris Webber, Nokia’s Executive Vice President of Sales and Marketing, who Tweeted this morning a nice little message to rival Samsung:

“Samsung take note, next generation Lumia coming soon.”

It is a bit unusual for companies to directly call each other out so publicly, which is why this probably has garnered so much attention. If we wanted to deconstruct that tweet a bit we could highlight the usage of “note” by Weber as a hint to Nokia’s upcoming Windows Phone 8 plans. Samsung has quite successfully launched and sold a few GALAXY Notes in recent months (see our hands on when we compared it to the HTC Titan).

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One of the bigger stories to catch fire today was the idea that Microsoft were to start denying Windows 8 app certification to developers who use ‘Metro’ in their app's name. 

The story originated from documentation found on the Microsoft Developer Network (MSDN) that was quite crystal clear on the matter stating such apps will “…fail certification and won't be listed in the Windows Store”.

That wording has now been removed.

We are now getting confirmation through various channels that the wording found today in that documentation had not been added recently, meaning there has been no change in policy. Instead what we are looking at is documentation that had not been updated to reflect the official Windows 8 app certification requirements.

Yup, it was in error.

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The location services on your Windows Phone can come in handy for navigation apps, finding local services and focus ad banners to content relative to your location. It also allows wireless providers and OS manufacturers to provide location services to allow customers to locate their phones if lost.

A recent Court ruling may have opened the door for law enforcement to use the same location services to track you without a warrant (at least in the Sixth Circuit). The case in question involves a drug dealer, Melvin Skinner, who was tracked by Federal Agents using his cell phone location services. Agents received Court authorization to obtain information on the cell phones used by Skinner that was in turn used to track his location. The tracking information obtained by law enforcement not only connected Skinner to the crimes but would also lead agents to his location for arrest.

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For a long time, Windows Phone users have speculated about the possibility of a Tablet based on the OS. It never happened, but even now, I’m left wondering if Windows Phone is the more capable and desirable portable computing experience.

Microsoft are on the cusp of releasing Windows 8 and with it we see the software giant plunging head first into the world of true mobile computing. They have dug in deep and hammered away at the core of Windows to enable new, mobile orientated computing experiences. At the same time we also have Windows Phone 8 getting ready for primetime. Windows Phone is now reaching its first major upgrade, and it's about to fully mature.

Given the right form factor it's an OS that could work better as a tablet than Windows 8, and here is why...

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Windows Live Essentials has been part of most Windows Users standard installation for many years now. This familiar and ‘essentials’ set of applications does much to make Windows come to life as a useful productivity tool. Providing photo editing, movie making, blogging, email, synchronising and instant messaging apps, ‘Essentials’ forms a solid backbone for basic computing throughput when using Microsoft operating systems.

Whereas a certain other well-known fruit themed OSX has the luxury of these types of applications being built in, Microsoft decided after Vista to detangle these common apps from their OS. In part to make future updates easier to deliver and in part due to avoid any undue and potentially messy encounters with anti-trust bodies. So what’s the skinny on Essentials 2012? 

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