CES2012

A T-Mobile salesman, who is also a massive Windows Phone enthusiast, was treated by Nokia to CES 2012 in Las Vegas with VIP treatment throughout the week. These treats included helicopter and Ferrari rides, Playboy parties and more, it certainly was an eventful week.

Will this incite salestaff throughout the U.S.? We'll have to see.

Source: YouTube, via: WMPU

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Robert Scoble is at it again, name dropping on his interactions with the tech glitterati at CES. Most of his Google+ discussion can be written off as his usual "Why Windows Phone will fail" riff (answer: not enough apps), but in the garrulous post he does bring up an interesting discussion he had with Tom Conrad, the chief technology officer at Pandora.

According to Scoble:

"I walked around the show with the CTO of Pandora. He told me he still isn't willing to support Windows Phone. Why not? We were walking around the new Ford car, which has Pandora support. Pandora was ALL OVER the CES show floor. You could see that a small company still has to decide where to put its development resources. Clearly, after walking the show floor, that's Android and iOS"

It's one thing for Pandora to hold off on Windows Phone in 2010 but to say in 2012 they still have no plans to support Windows Phone is a bit unbelievable. Even more so since we do have third party clients already doing their work (e.g. MetroRadio, Radio Controlled). Of course, we can relish in the thought that developers are making money off of Pandora and they're not seeing a dime from their continued disregard for Windows Phone. Still, that's cold comfort for the platform as a whole.

Source: Google+; Thanks, Amir, for the tip!

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We've heard Nokia talk about augmented reality being a big differentiator for them in terms of Windows Phone and technology and now we're getting our first glimpse of that endevour.

City Lens seems a lot like LGs Metro Scanner and ScanSearch whereby you hold it up and it shows you things around you. In fact, City Lens even does the "hold it flat to show a map" trick that LG uses too. Still, we bet with Nokia's mapping history and deeper interest in Windows Phone, City Lens will be a much more rewarding experience.

No word on release as it is still in beta, but hopefully we'll see it with the 900's release.

Source: The Nokia Blog

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We managed to sit down with HTC to go over their new flagship Windows Phone, the TITAN II landing soon on AT&T. The 4G LTE device sure caught a lot of us off-guard specifically due to the inclusion of a massive 16MP camera. The meeting was very productive as not only did we get to play with the phone more (always an exciting "geek moment") but we found out some other relevant information that we hope you folks will find interesting:

  • The TITAN II is not replacing the TITAN. The plan is to sell both phones in the same market with the TITAN II augmenting AT&T's offerings to customers with different price points and features. In other words, the TITAN II is the high-end, premium version for customers who want that feature set. The TITAN will be a lower-priced offering for those who are okay with HSPA+, etc. It's an interesting and we think smart move for both HTC and AT&T.
  • As we mentioned in the video test, the TITAN II features a secondary processor for the camera--we're a little fuzzy on the exact details but it explains why shooting at 16MP feels no different than shooting at 8MP, with zero lag
  • We passed on the info about the SRS stutter bug as well as the microphone/sound issue that quite a few of you have reported. That info should get to their engineers for further investigation.
  • No word on those docks for the Radar and Titan, in fact, it's probably best to forget those
  • On HTC using but not always announcing Gorilla Glass--in short, they want some wiggle room in case of during production they switch to an alternative scratch-resistant screen due to cost or supply issues. What you need to know is that basically all high-end HTC phones have Gorilla Glass or its equivalent on board.
  • The HTC TITAN II is an AT&T exclusive. No word on world-wide release though we can expect some announcements at Mobile World Congress (MWC) next month in Barcelona--as HTC considers that to be one of their big events. Perhaps an international version of the TITAN II will be announced or something similar.
  • The push for 4G LTE devices is driven a lot by AT&T wanting to get people off of their overloaded 3G network, so devices like the TITAN II and Lumia 900 are highly welcomed by the carrier
  • Like Nokia, HTC doesn't seem keen on 32GB memory devices. Everyone is pushing for the cloud.
  • The HTC TITAN is selling very well world-wide and they're very happy with its performance

And what about our second experience with the TITAN II? If HTC and AT&T are aiming for this to be a premium version of the TITAN we think they did a pretty good job as the new changes really give the device a more classy feel to it. The curved glass near the bottom is a really excellent engineering feat and the Super LCD on the TITAN II is even better than the TITAN I (better contrast, brighter). We're pretty excited about getting our hands on this as our daily driver--that LTE is quite the blast to use, especially when web browsing.

More pics after the break...

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Howdy folks, as we get ready to leave CES 2012 in Vegas, we still have a few more nuggets for you. In the above video, you'll see three samples from the 16MP TITAN II camera from HTC. Shot in 720P and testing two of the filters, we were pretty happy with the results, but we'll let you decide.

Of course, this is unfinished software/hardware so there may be slight changes and optimizations before the phone is released, so don't consider this the final test of the TITAN II. We really like HTC's custom filters of which there we many to choose from (we show just two in the video).

One curious thing we found out: the TITAN II has a dedicated processor for the camera, which is why shooting a 16MP pic feels just as fast as shooting an 8MP on the original TITAN. That's some pretty cool tech, if you ask us. Make sure to also check out our 16MP photo samples from the TITIAN II right here!

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The final tally is in on Ben Rudolph's "Smoked by a Windows Phone" challenge with the Windows Phone walking away with a record of 30-3-1. With a winning percentage of 88% Ben was able to demonstrate that Windows Phones are faster than most of the smartphones on the market.

The phones that showed up to face the challenge included the iPhone 4s, Galaxy Nexus, Droid Bionic, Droid Charge, Palm Pre Plus and various Blackberry devices. The three phones that beat the Windows Phone were an iPhone 4s, Galaxy Nexus and Droid Bionic.

The good news is that even the losers walked away a winner with many receiving free Windows Phones. All in all, a good showing that demonstrate that Windows Phones connects people to the stuff they care about faster and easier than other smartphones.

source: windowsteamblog

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CES 2012 has been pretty huge for Nokia, and Windows Phone as a whole. The event saw the announcement of the Lumia 900, which will be the flagship of the U.S. push against competitor platforms. Reviews and feedback from press and attendees has been generally positive as a whole.

Not only that, but to really show off how good the device is Nokia has earned awards from multiple sources for being the best product at the event. So what has the Windows Phone won? 

  • CNet's "Best of CES" smartphone.
  • Popular Mechanics editor's choice award for CES.
  • Popular Science "Product of the Future".
  • LAPTOP magazine's "Best of CES" finalists.

Not bad, eh? The reception has built up on top of the 800, which also wasn't shy of a positive review.

Source: Nokia Conversations

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Mobile Nations editors Kevin Michaluk, Phil Nickinson, Rene Ritchie, Daniel Rubino, Derek Kessler, Simon Sage and Jared DiPane join Mickey and Joey of The Cell Phone Junkie to wrap-up the biggest events of the 2012 CES. Listen in!

Hosts

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Waiting for Sprint to introduce a new Windows Phone? I wouldn't expect anything too soon.

Sprint's Vice President of Product Realization David Owens let it be known that while the wireless carrier is bulking up its LTE lineup it will be with Android devices for now. Sprint may take another chance at Windows Phone in the August-September time frame.

"We have a Windows device in our lineup, but honestly, it hasn't done well enough for us to jump back into the fire. We told Microsoft: You guys have to go build the enthusiasm for the product."

Owens also stated the the number one reason the HTC Arrive, Sprint's only Windows Phone, was returned was the user experience. Sprint's Director of Product Development Lois Fagan added,

"We want to participate in the market, but we can't build that brand by ourself. We're cautiously optimistic, but [Windows Phone] just hasn't taken off."

The news shouldn't be much of a shocker. While the Arrive has been on Sprint for some time, Sprint has done very little to promote the Windows Phone platform.  Android devices, on the other hand seem to be centerpiece of their ad campaigns. Can anyone remember any Windows Phone commercials from Sprint?

While Microsoft and the hardware manufacturers should do their part in promoting Windows Phone devices, but Sprint needs to step up to the plate as well. 

source: pcmag; Thanks, Brianna, for the tip!

Postscript: Just received a tip from a reader suggesting we look at the HTC Arrives ratings over at Sprint.com.  It makes you wonder where Owens is seeing poor user experience?

Thanks, venom5150, for the tip!

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Yesterday we covered the $100 challenge happening here at CES 2012. Basically, you can challenge Ben "the PC Guy" Rudolph from Microsoft to a speed test with your current phone versus his HTC TITAN. The task involves any "everyday" type of action that regular users may attempt and has resulted in quite a lot of media coverage due to its ingenuity.

Now Microsoft has put up the fruit of their labor by showcasing all the challenges from yesterday in a great montage. Needless to say, it is quite inspiring and humorous to watch.

We met up with Ben yesterday and watched a few of these challenges. Everyone was certainly having fun and the fanboyism was no where to be seen--just good, honest competition with everyone being a fair sport. We asked Ben if this would be a regular event but it looks like it might not be--the longer this is out there, the more people can game the system (including potentially scripts and custom ROM advantages, which takes the "regular user" dynamic out of the equation).

Speaking of, we may send Phil over from Android Central to see if he can best Ben and his phone. So far though, the only winner has been an iPhone 4s and no Androids.

Thanks, Vernon S., for the tip!

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A lot of our readers are split on the TITAN/TITAN II's massive 4.7" screen--some think it's just too big of a device, while others are much more partial. We're in the latter camp and don't think 4.7" is too big at all. And evidently neither does Samsung, who have put out the Galaxy Note, an Android powered device with a massive 5.3" Super AMOLED HD screen.

No doubt this is a different category of device and surprisingly, feedback on the device so far as been positive. We quickly compared the size difference between it and the TITAN and it's an interesting juxtaposition, to say the least. It kind of makes us wonder: What would Windows Phone look like on such a device? People seemed enthusiastic last year about a Windows Phone tablet, so this might be your closest chance.

Would you buy one? Should Samsung even attempt it to counter the TITAN/TITAN II or should we let Android have all the fun? Lets us know in comments and check out how the Android fans are reacting at Android Central.

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We've been reporting on the LG Jil Sander "fashion phone" for sometime now, especially with the hefty price drop of recent. The phone is not a Gen2 device but more like a Gen 1.5 but it does offer 16GB of storage for a decent cost.

The phone, like others, is here on display at CES 2012 and we finally got our tired grubby hands on it. Truth be told, we're kind of glad we passed on that impulse buy a few weeks ago. While the screen is actually quite vibrant, the rest of the device is a "whole lotta plastic" and it's quite thick to boot. It's interesting to have all physical keys on the front and the blue custom Accent color is nice but we just don't think it's enough to overcome some of its other pitfalls.

Having said that, it is going for quite cheap off contract and that 16GB of storage may make it a worthwhile purchase for some.

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If there was one phone that really piqued the interest of our Western readers, it would be the Toshiba-Fujitsu IS12T. Coming in bright pink, yellow and blue, the phone is completely unique mostly due to its specs: 32GB of storage, 13MP camera, water/dust proof and a 4" screen.

So we were quite excited to see a few of them on display here at CES as it was our first and perhaps only time to be able to take it for a spin. The phone is certainly interesting but those tiny front buttons are a little difficult at times to just "look and feel", though we suppose they may be better than all-capacitive for some of you. It is very plastic-y and feels quite nice in the hand, though the screen itself is a bit under whelming (it is similar to the HTC Arrive's in terms of contrast).

Definitely a great phone for  those in Japan but we'll still take a Nokia any day if given the choice.

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2012 CES: Day Two Recap

With day one of CES 2012 packing the Windows Phone punch that we were all hoping for, with the Lumia 900 being announced, AT&T backing the platform, the HTC Titan II surprising technology minds, as well as Steve Ballmer skating around the convention to get to multiple sessions. It was an eventful day to say the least. Day two, on the other hand, was relatively laid back with WPCentral setting up some insightful interviews with the big names behind Nokia and Microsoft. We also took a look at some new Mango handsets that weren't seeing much spotlight coverage.

Interview with Belfiore and Shields: We took Microsoft's Joe Belfiore and Nokia's Kevin Shields hostage for half an hour while we interrogated them about the platform and what plans the two companies have for 2012. Check out the interview for some insightful and enlightening responses. 

Lumia 710 & 800 heading to Canada: Stephen Elop announced in an interview with Nokia Conversations that the 710 and 800 will be coming to his homeland, Canada. We've received numerous complaints from Canadians who feel left out when it comes to Windows Phones, so this is great news for those who wish to get their hands on the latest family from Nokia.

Windows Phone smoking the competition: Microsoft's Ben Rudolph (Ben the PC Guy) has been hoarding himself around CES looking for prey to humiliate. Should you have an iPhone, Android handset, or other competitor handset, you could be in with the chance of pocketing $100 by attempting to best Windows Phone in a challenge. With results so far, Windows Phone is holding its head high.

Acer Allegro: We take a look at the Acer Allegro (finally). The low-spec'd handset is destined for new smartphone owners and the developing markets, but don't let that fool you. Acer's Windows Phone is actually not a bad device overall, and it's good to have the choice available.

ZTE Tania: If you thought 8GB and 16GB wasn't enough for your music collection and apps, try 4GB for size. The Tania from ZTE is a low budget handset and the specs reflect this, but the Tania really took us by surprise by how good the handset looks/feels. If only ZTE would up the specifications on another model and ship to Europe and the U.S.... we can only dream.

Be sure to check out our first day recap, should you have been asleep throughout the day and missed the big announcements.

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WPCentral was lucky enough today to sit down with Nokia's senior vice president, Windows Phone program management Kevin Shields and Joe Belfiore, Microsoft's Corporate Vice President, Windows Phone program management.

Perhaps not surprisingly, the focus was on Nokia, the Lumia 900, re-entering the US market and anything else would could think to ask. Having said that, sorry folks, no new feature announcements were revealed about the Windows Phone OS as both gentlemen outsmarted our attempts. (We're betting on Mobile World Congress next month for more info on "Tango").

The interview, all 25 minutes of it, can be seen above and we think it is quite interesting, especially as we ask about what are Microsoft's and Nokia's biggest challenges in the US, how did the Lumia 900 come to be (including the design process), what should we expect from the LTE experience and more.  Clearly Microsoft is expecting Windows 8 to add another "jolt" to Windows Phone in 2012 and we couldn't agree more.

In addition, we had some more hands-on time with the Lumia 900 and folks, we're really excited about this beauty as it is quite the Windows Phone. More on that later this week in our podcast.

A big thanks to Microsoft and Nokia for extending the opportunity for this interview and iMore's Rene Ritchie for assistance.

Edit: The last few minutes got cut off, so we have a new version coming up in a little bit.

Edit 2: New version uploaded with last 5 minutes.

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The ZTE Tania is an interesting Windows Phone. It only features 4GB of storage (the lowest of any with only 2.9GB available), a 5MP camera and yet has a really decent 4.3" screen. To top it off, we really like the design of it, especially with the chrome accent. Of all the entry-level Windows Phones we played with today, the ZTE Tania kind of surprised us.

Even the back had a nice, designer look to it, which makes us wish ZTE would just step up the specs here for the States and Europe. Throw in 16GB storage, an 8MP camera with a front-facing counterpart and ZTE could be making some waves here. Make it 32GB, AMOLED and 4G and we're talking head turner. Let us just say, we're interested in this phone and company.

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Acer Allegro shows up at CES 2012

Look at that, the Acer Allegro, an admittedly low-spec'd device is here at CES 2012 in Las Vegas. Microsoft is showing off the phone with numerous laptops on the show floor.

While the 1GHz device with a 3.6" screen doesn't inspire "oohs and aahs" it ain't half bad either for developing markets. With a 5MP camera and 8GB of storage, it should satisfy a lot of new users to the smartphone world. Either way, it was finally nice to see one in person.

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Microsoft is giving a preview of five new Xbox Live games today at the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show. No specifics on pricing or in which order these games will be released and some of these titles we've heard mention of before.  They all look really nice and as we learn more about these titles we'll definitely pass it along.

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Remember Brandon Watson's charitable challenge to known technology enthusiasts last year to see if they'd like Windows Phone? We're back with a similar offer, but this time it's aimed at the general public and $100 is on the table. Should you be using an iPhone, Android handset, Blackberry, etc. then you're eligible for the speed test against a Windows Phone. Ben Rudolph (Ben the PC Guy) is at CES 2012, and is on the hunt for challengers who believe their smartphone can best Microsoft's platform.

Should he be beaten, the victor will pocket $100. Should Rudolph reign champion, all you need to do is admit that your phone was smoked by a Windows Phone.  There also may be a nice consolation prize in the mix as well.  Be sure to follow Rudolph on Twitter and keep an eye on Microsoft/Windows Phone Facebook pages to see where he'll be hosting the challenges. Oh, and be sure to follow the hashtag #smokedbywindowsphone on Twitter too.

Source: Windows Phone Blog, thanks to everyone who tipped us!

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