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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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Design and innovation is hard. And a lot of times, those in the industry tend to arrive at the same conclusion, even if designers took different paths and they weren’t watching the competition. Such is the case when two things look 'inspired' by each other. But all too often accusations of "copying" abound when in fact, it was more a meeting of general design trends.

The Zeitgeist of Style, if you will.

In other words, we’re not accusing Apple of anything here except maybe of not being too different than current fashions. (It's cool, Apple. You don't always need to lead.) What we are saying is that these two “technology things" look very familiar. Kind of.

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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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Mock battle: iPhone 5 vs Lumia 920

When the day breaks tomorrow, the tech world will be focused on one thing: Apple. Then it will turn on everything else that is mobile and ask rhetorical questions. Will we be a part of that? Well, we can’t ignore it, can we? For that though, you have our sister site iMore who have had some fairly massive (and accurate) leaks on the upcoming iPhone 5.

But we want to know, will Apple live up to the hype or will Nokia outshine them this time?

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People really like the Lumia 920 but switching is always hard

In a new poll conducted by CouponCodes4u.com, 2,371 US smartphone owners between 18 and 35 were surveyed on the new Lumia 920 introduced by Nokia last week.

The survey found that most respondents were impressed by the new device with 61% of those interested intrigued by the PureMotion HD+ screen and 52% said the PureView camera system appealed to them.

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Last night during Nokia’s par-tay we managed to check out their little photo challenge area. In short, they literally had a cubby hole in a brick wall where you could mosey on up with your smartphone, snap a pic and then Nokia would do the same with the Lumia 920.

Of course the Lumia 920 is better positioned to win such a contest, after all it has everything: lens stabilization, a larger BSI sensor, F/2.0 aperture and some funky Nokia algorithms to top it all off. And indeed, challenge after challenge we saw the 920 crush any phone that attempted the feat—iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S3—all were smoked.

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As things are heating up on this Labor Day weekend, Nokia appears to be still having some fun with Samsung—or at least that is one interpretation of the oddly placed image above.

Appearing on Nokia’s Facebook page, the photo shows two toy dump trucks—one offloading coins, the other carrying away a Lumia—with the caption ‘Which do you prefer?’.

So why is it funny? It appears to be an inside tech joke that made the rounds last week regarding the Apple v Samsung trial.

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We're already aware of the result for the Apple versus Samsung US patent battle, which left Samsung with a $1 billion bill. It really couldn't have gone worse for the smartphone manufacturer who has interest in both Android and Windows Phone (the penalty phase returns on September 20th though). Google remained fairly quiet on the front, but has released a statement that details an expected stance on the court results.

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Samsung got served.

With a slow day suddenly getting very exciting, the jury-verdict for the Apple versus Samsung case is just coming in over the wires.

Like the trial itself, things are quite complicated as the verdict is spread over various devices, including the Captivate, Continuum, Showcase, Gem, Indulge, Infuse 4G, Mesmerize, Vibrant, Galaxy Tab and others.

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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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The speech recognition service, offering similar capabilities to Apples Siri is set to get a sweet little cash injection. The company has just walked away from talks to inject $5 million US into expanding its service to include more accents and languages.

The company is working closely with Nuance Communications to deliver mobile apps for Android and Apple devices and even bring the service to normal cell phones too. They aim to bring the service to tablets and computing headsets also.

Ask Ziggy also announced that they intend to release its SDK shortly. Sounds like good news for the company. It is clear that investors see the market value of these speech recognition systems. As Windows Phones users, we have had Ask Ziggy for some time and overall folks seem happy with the service.

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Say what you will about Microsoft and Apple but the two companies either appear to be the only adults in the room or alternatively, they have formed an alliance against Android. Or maybe both.

Evidence has come forth in the Apple-Samsung trial that the former has licensed so-called ‘design patents’ to Microsoft, which indemnify them against lawsuits from Apple over their Windows Phone and Surface tablets. This may partially explain why Apple was trying to collect patent royalties from Samsung in their late 2010 offer to the company.

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In the ongoing saga between Samsung and Apple, documents came out late last night from the court case that detailed a proposal by Apple to charge Samsung for royalties on their smartphones.

It’s interesting for a few reasons. For one, Apple almost never enters into cross-platform patent royalty deals with other companies, specifically if it is tied to any of their “product differentiating” technologies. Back in 2010 though, Apple was willing to make an exception to this with Samsung because they are a major parts supplier for Cupertino and they wanted to preserve that relationship. Apple was also “shocked” at just how much Samsung was willing to allegedly copy the iPhone.

In the documents, Apple spells out some license terms it was willing to offer Samsung back in October 2010—just a few weeks before Windows Phone 7 became available.  Although Android was offered a $24-per-device royalty fee, which yes, is extremely high, Apple evidently also wanted $9 per ‘Windows Mobile 7’ device as well.

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Co-found of Apple Steve Wozniak thinks Windows Phone is a convergence of "art and technology"

Speaking at a press conference after his talk at the Entel Summit (Entel is Chile's leading telecommunications operator), co-founder of Apple Steve Wozniak gave his thoughts on Microsoft, Surface and their new Metro UI. Having previously spoken positively of the Lumia 900 and what Microsoft was up to with their refocus on usability and visual appeal, "the Woz" continues to give praise to the company and what appears to be their new direction, noting that he wants a Surface tablet.

During the Q&A session, Wozniak gave his thoughts on how the Lumia line of smartphones and Windows Phone 7 have such a "...strikingly good visual appearance which is a lot of what Steve Jobs always looked for, the art and technology, the convergence of art and technology." Back in April, the technology guru famously heaped praise on the Lumia 900 and Windows Phone and evidently he continues to like it.

Regarding Surface, Wozniak says he wants to "own one, to use one" so he can see for himself how good it is and not have to rely on what he's read—a fair and respectable stance to have on an un-released product.

The video Q&A where Wozniak responds to a Microsoft question during the Entel Summit '12

As far as Microsoft, he had some interesting observations that seem to be aligning with a lot of people's thoughts today on the company: Microsoft has changed and are entering a new era.

"But I'm glad that Microsoft is starting to show maybe they're a different company than before, I don't remember this sort of thing happening in a long, long time with Microsoft, so I'm very happy."

Of course Wozniak has always been quite "technology neutral" and he used whatever device that he thought was the best, without any allegiances. This is why he's respected amongst many as he brings true insight from an engineer's perspective as opposed to a partisan with a product to sell. Either way, it's good press for Microsoft.

Source: TechNews; Thanks, Eric, for the tip!

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We have to admit, we're rather loving this speculation about what Microsoft will unveil on Monday and it finally looks like it's coming into focus.

On Monday, June 18th, Microsoft will take the wraps off of their own tablet running Windows 8 (or a variant of), confirming an earlier report.

The New York Times is now going on record as having spoken to "people with knowledge of Microsoft’s plans"  that indeed, it is a tablet of their own making. As the Times points out, this is the first time in the company's 37 year history that they are making their own computer. That's huge.

What makes the situation difficult is how Microsoft's OEM partners will react--after all, they'll be competing with their own team, so to speak. On the other hand, Google has been making "Nexus" devices for some time now--devices which set the bar for what they expect as far as quality in hardware and design. Truth be told, the Nexus line of Android phones have been some of the most popular as they are both cheaper and more stable having no 3rd party skinning.

If Microsoft heads down this path, the tablet unveiled on Monday will surely be priced very competitively and also be a "pure" device. That notion certainly appeals to us and we're betting you're going to thrilled with it as well. What's more, according to the New York Times, Microsoft is aiming this directly at the iPad making this a bold (and overdue) move.

Unfortunately, there's no word if Nokia has had a hand in this--our bet is they have not. Instead, we're expecting Nokia to show off any new tablets in September at Nokia World. For some reason, we don't think we'll be disappointed with whatever they make leaving fans a tough choice: pure Microsoft or whatever Nokia offers?

The only question we're left is what will they name it? Microsoft has a spotty history in this area and let's be honest, the name is hugely important. (Then again, we all laughed at "iPad" a few years ago). We're kind of partial to "X-Tab" but curious as to what you think they should call it...let us know in comments!

Source: The NY TImes; Thanks, Pierre V., for the tip

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Yesterday, Apple Inc. finally revealed their latest iteration of iOS for iPhone and the iPad.  There were no real "wow" moments just the continued rehash of market numbers and a collection of little improvements to the world-wide hit operating system.

We're not trying to be too bitter here--look, Apple and iOS have a massive success on their hands so they're not messing with a good thing (think of all the grandparents with iPhones!). But today's unveiling of the new iOS is starting to show that Cupertino may be out of "big" ideas for mobile and are instead concentrating on refinements. That's not exactly a bad thing and we don't necessarily blame them, especially with their strong market share. But it sure does make for some boring discussion.

Our friends at iMore were there for the whole event, turtlenecks and all, documenting all the new additions to the sixth version of the OS.  Due this fall, here is their summary of the major changes:

  • Maps - Probably the biggest news was the addition of Apple's own Maps app which will be powered by TomTom. Maps will come stock with turn-by-turn navigation, traffic info, and a new feature called Flyover.
  • Siri additions and enhancements- Siri received quite a few updates under iOS 6 including iPad support, integration with many car manufacturers, and several new features. 
  • Passbook - Passbook is a brand new way to store and save airline apps, boarding passes, and more all in one place. Many different services and Passbook apps are already available such as express check at hotels, Target cards, movie tickets, coupons, and more.
  • Photo Stream sharing - Photo Stream sharing will allow you to create separate streams (similar to how you'd create albums currently). You can then share those separate streams with whoever you'd like. Have one with family for vacation pics and one with mom and dad for baby pics. They'll also be given the ability to comment and like photos native in iOS.
  • Mail enhancements - Multiple e-mail signatures, VIP Mailbox allows you to add all the important people in your life to a VIP list and their messages will automatically be filtered into a new VIP mailbox that appears under your default inbox.
  • Facebook integration - In iOS 5 we saw Apple integrate Twitter into iOS natively. This year the same will happen with Facebook. Post status, upload pictures, and more without needing a third party app.
  • FaceTime over the cellular network - FaceTime has only ever been available for us on a Wi-Fi network since it's release in iOS 4. iOS 6 is about to change all that and you'll soon be able to FaceTime wherever you are, Wi-Fi or 3G/4G.

Read more after the break for some exclusive Windows Phone 8 news...

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Reports are circling around the web that the massive social giant Facebook, which is now a public company, is still looking at creating their own hardware. The Facebook Phone, or the FacePhone? Who knows, but according to the New York Times CEO Mark Zuckerberg is seriously looking at the mobile market as a means for future revenue and ventures. 

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Microsoft is developing a cross-platform service that will enable users to migrate from competitor platforms (or Windows Phone) to Windows Phone, according to a patent filed back in 2010. The service will allow apps to be detected on the legacy handset, which will then be listed on the new Windows Phone for convenient downloading, providing users with peace of mind when it comes to installed apps.

According to the filed patent, the company is planning to provide functionality within the service that would analyse installed apps on the legacy handset (eg.: Android). The service would then search for identical or similar apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace. The user would be presented with popular third-party suggestions should official apps not be available.

If there's no third-party app present on the Marketplace, the service will notify the user in the future once a similar app is published. Is that more than enough? Not according to the company. Microsoft is reported to be wanting to take things further with actually creating a complete solution where app data would be stored and transferred across to new Windows Phones or from other platforms, preventing data loss. Of course, little detail is available and we're yet to see how this service could work with the likes of Android and iOS

Another question on mind is if apps will have to be repurchased for Windows Phone when migrating from another platform, or would the software giant subsidize the costs? Microsoft has clearly been serious about Windows Phone since the off, and this reaffirms the company's commitment to take part in the smartphone marathon. How would you like to see such a service implemented?

Source: Unwired View

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You could sum up this news with a simple "Boo!", but I'm sure you are all aware how we love to babble on slightly. Siri, Apple's personal assistant for iPhone 4S owners, has been 'fixed' after the fiasco surrounding the helper stating the Lumia 900 as "the best cell phone ever". The humorous result / answer was due to Siri's reliance on an external service, namely Wolfrom Alpha, which took into account user reviews when performing the search. 

Apple has since replaced this search and altered what is relayed back to the user. Answers now provided to the query include "the one you're holding" and "you're kidding, right?" You can still perform a manual search on Wolfram Alpha and receive the same result, but this shows that Apple has zero sense of humour. No longer is Siri accurately useful to Windows Phone fans.

"What can I help you with?" Not much, I'm afraid.

Source: Apple Insider, via: The Verge

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Co-founder of Apple, Steve Wozniak, calls Windows Phone "Intuitive and beautiful"

We reported recently that co-founder of Apple and all around cool geek Steve Wozniak was looking to purchase a Nokia Lumia 900 (WPCentral review) The info came via his Twitter feed where he posted from Foursquare. At the time, he was waiting for the AT&T store to open to check out the flagship Windows Phone.

Since then, we haven't heard much. In fact, there was no confirmation that he had even purchased the device but as it turns out, he did and what's more, he loves it. Over at  aNewDomain.net, Dan Patterson, Todd Moore and Gina Smith not only caught up with "the Woz" but got him on tape talking about his experience with Windows Phone and the Lumia 900.

The Report: Tech News and Geek Culture, EP 002 - Steve Wozniak Interview by KoPoint

As it turns out, he carries around multiple Android phones and a couple of iPhones too and while he still ultimately prefers the iPhone (due to all the apps), he had nothing but praise for the Windows Phone OS and the Lumia 900. Here are a few choice quotes:

"Just for looks and beauty I definitely favor the Windows Phone over Android"

"....I'm just shocked, I haven't seen anything yet that isn't more beautiful than the other platforms"

"Intuitive and beautiful"

"it's makes me feel 'Oh my gosh, I'm with a friend not a tool'" (In regards to the animations and graphics)

"I just really like the experience and will be carrying the Windows Phone everywhere"

He also notes how apps look just "more beautiful than on Android or iPhone"

In short, the Woz is really enamored with the esthetics of the phone, the ease of use and just how the OS pops and slides everywhere. It's a strong endorsement although he does have the usual complaints including how you can't do speech-to-text everywhere like on iPhone or Android or the lack of a Siri-like tool for asking questions (although we have AskZiggy).

The Woz also still defaults to his iPhone but as you can hear in the audio above, the Lumia 900 will be going everywhere with him, which is more than he can say for Android.

It sounds like Microsoft and Nokia may have just received their next big endorsement. While there is still much work to do for the OS and on our hardware, we may have just scored one of the most symbolic victories in quite some time.

Update: Steve Wozniak responded in comments on aNewDomain to clarify a few things. It's a little hilarious too.

"Wrong. iPhone is my favorite phone. I did give my opinion that the Windows 7 phone had superior visual appearance and operation cues that were also more attractive. In my opinion, it sets the mark for user interface. I would recommend it over my Android phones given that it doesn’t yet have the breadth of apps. I surmise that Microsoft hired someone from Apple and put money into having a role in the UI and appearance of some key apps. I also surmised that Steve Jobs might have been reincarnated at MS due to a lot of what I see and feel with this phone making me think of a lot of great Apple things."

Source: The Report at aNewDomain.net; Thanks, jedi12, for the tip and Vygantas, for the new quote

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