consumers

UK telecommunications regulator, Ofcom has sealed a victory for mobile customers regarding contracts and price hikes. The new guidelines, which take effect from tomorrow, will enable customers (consumers and small businesses) who take out new landline, broadband or mobile contracts to terminate immediately without penalty, should the service provider increase the monthly subscription fee.

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The War

There was once a time when being a heavy Google services user and a Microsoft fan was the easiest choice on the block. The boys in Redmond could provide a robust and productive operating system platform while the Mountain View search cowboys could back you up with web services. Now, the two companies are going head to head and it might just be causing a hellish nightmare for consumers.

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That's right, folks. We're firing up an article on user review etiquette. Why, you ask? We've had numerous developers complain that consumers simply don't pay attention to information provided on the Windows Phone Store. This is prior to downloading trials or purchasing apps and they then leave negative feedback, which is viewable by the general public. We've noted this ourselves when browsing the catalogue.

Our own Jay Bennett has had this issue with the official Windows Phone Central app, so we figured we'd talk about how you can help make the review system less skewed for others to rely on, as well as improving the overall store experience for everyone (including developers). If you're one to quickly jump the gun and add a one-star review on apps and games then this resource is for you.

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It's been a rather good start of the year for Nokia. The company has made actual profit, thanks to intense cost reduction and growing business, as well as its Lumia family of Windows Phones performing rather well in a number of markets. The company is pushing hard and not only is it attracting new customers, but existing consumers with Nokia hardware are behind the company and products they own, thanks to great support and software offerings.

Now a report has come in that Nokia is the most trusted brand in India, beating Samsung and Sony to the punch. India, along with Asia and Russia have been targeted for Lumia Windows Phones and progress is being made, slowly but surely. Both high-end and low-end devices have been launched in said markets to take full advantage of consumer groups.

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She's not wanting your features, gosh darn it.

News of Microsoft backtracking on offering consumers the opportunity to provide requests for features in Windows Phone 7.8 has been circling multiple sources today. This is due to a reply to a User Voice thread that apologises for misleading consumers through a previous reply, which turned out to be badly worded. 

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Our online poll suggests Samsung has done well but still has to win over many

Yesterday during the IFA trade show in Berlin, Samsung surprisingly unveiled the first Windows Phone 8 device for 2012—the ATIV S—to mostly cheers and approvals from current and prospective Windows Phone users.

In an online 24-hour poll conducted yesterday here at Windows Phone Central, nearly 4,000 respondents (cookie and IP locked) responded to Samsung’s announcement of the Galaxy S3 clone for Microsoft's upcoming Windows Phone 8 OS.

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Nielsen has announced that half of all mobile subscribers in the U.S. now own a smartphone. Comparing February 2012, where the lines for both feature phones and smartphones meet in the above graph, with February last year we can clearly see a massive jump from just 38%. That's an average increase of smartphone owners by 1% per-month.

With low-end, affordable Android and Windows Phones, consumers are now able to hop onto the smartphone train without breaking the bank balance. As technology continuously evolves and social networking becomes more prominent in our lives, more mobile phone owners are looking at ways to stay in touch with friends and family that doesn't require either texting or calling.

"More than two-thirds of those who acquired a new mobile device in the last three months chose a smartphone over a feature phone."

According to Nielsen's marketshare data (for the U.S.), Android still runs the show with a 48% hold of the market. iOS is at a comfortable 32%, RIM struggles on with 12%, and Windows Phone is lost somewhere among the "other" 8%. While many could look at this negatively, this data is prior to Nokia and AT&T's upcoming marketing blitz for the Lumia 900, which is set to available on April 8th.

With the steady rate of consumers acquiring smartphones, now is the time for Nokia to push through the Lumia family of handsets to capture the market, and Microsoft needs to be behind them throwing surplus dosh away at every opportunity.

Via: BGR

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There are those of us who believe 4.3" screens are too big, but it seems as though there are more who believe they're just the right size (or not big enough). According to a survey by Strategic Analytics, almost 90% of existing smartphone owners look at prototype / newer devices that sport larger screens, specifically 4.0" - 4.5" being the 'sweet spot'.

Kevin Nolan, Vice-President for the User Experience Practice at Strategy Analytics, added to the report:

"In order for smartphone owners to adopt larger devices, it is important for handset manufacturers to ensure that mobile devices are not too heavy and that the devices remain thin enough for purses and pockets."

Windows Phone has been keeping up with this new like for big things with the HTC TITAN and Samsung Focus S, as well as the Lumia 800 and 900 from Nokia. What size screen do you believe is the perfect size for a smartphone? Should we be hitting 5"?

Source: Strategic Analytics, via: BGR

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We've seen the headlines, we've heard the pundits (looking at you, Scoble) that tout apps as the "big" thing on smartphones. And while initially this may hold true for new users, the novelty wears off, or so suggests a new study by the Pew Research Center's Internet & American Life Project.

In that study, 68% of users only use five or fewer apps at least once a week. Furthermore, 17% don't use any apps on a regular basis while only 42% of respondents even have apps on their phones. Those are certainly interesting numbers and what it suggests is people are downloading lots of apps but rarely use them on a regular basis. In fact, we hear this often from developers who don't get many ad-hits in their apps after a few weeks despite seemingly large numbers of downloads. Speaking of, the study also points out that judging an app's popularity by number of downloads alone is probably not a good metric (though app reviews and number of them may be).

In other interesting stats from Nielsen, Android users spend about 90 minutes a day on their phones, two-thirds of that time in apps (probably customizing their UI, just kidding). That suggest that even though few use many apps, the ones they do use, they use often and on a regular basis.

While no numbers are revealed for Windows Phone users, it will be even more interesting for our users since things like Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are baked into the OS, reducing the number of popular services that people need to download separate apps for. That will only increase if Microsoft continues, as expected, to bake in other services as the OS grows and updates roll out. This of course makes us ask the question: Do you fit this model or are you folks app-fiends? (We're also pretty sure games don't count as apps for the purposes of this study).

Let us know in comments....

via USA Today; Thanks Mark W. and ZX9, for the tips

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Nokia is reported to be looking to change the strategy used when marketing upcoming Windows Phones to include the youth of today and get more 'young people' on board. The manufacturer is set to increase social media usage and presence with a more direct connection to consumers. It may be no coincidence that the winning ring tone from the contest is dub step.

John Nichols, Nokia’s head of marketing for the UK and Ireland, had the following to say about their vision of a younger Nokia:

"This isn’t a standing start, we already have a huge youth market but for teenagers we need to ensure that we create the content and partnerships that matter. As a teenager, the brands I loved had an opinion and told me whether to engage with them or not. The trick is to remember to not just wade in; otherwise our personality could look like the drunken uncle dancing at the wedding."

Nokia is also set to spend a reported £80 million on advertising in the UK and Ireland, so the Finnish handset maker is pulling out the big guns.

Source: MarketingWeek

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First we saw the big MIX11 stuff for developers, promising new tools, experiences, options and APIs for them. Now it's our turn, the consumers. This is more a refresh/warm up to tomorrow's big 'VIP Preview' of Windows Phone 7.5 (we'll be there). There we're expecting to see all below confirmed (and demoed) as well as even more features that we haven't learned about yet.

The list is long and growing and though Microsoft has been criticized for its updates in the past, this looks to be much more than what Apple or Google include in there single big updates. In fact, Ballmer said there would be more than 500 new features in Mango, which undoubtedly contains all the APIs too. So take a gander and hunker down as the next six-months will be a long wait for this Mango goodness.

Anyways, hit the break for the big list.

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