hardware

Love it or hate it, Windows 8 is an operating system that is trying to break new ground. Microsoft’s move to rethink their world famous platform is the grandest risk and endeavor that the company has ever taken. For those of us on Facebook, think of when an update is released and brings minor changes, but a major user backlash. The idea that people don’t enjoy change is just one of the battles the Redmond company faces as it climbs the hill to a new beginning.

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Last week, Microsoft introduced their new web series, “On the Whiteboard”, to take you behind the scenes at the company and see how our favorite devices and services are brought to life. The first episode had us learn where our favorite Windows sounds come from; this week, we go to a place where silence is king.

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It's common knowledge that the Microsoft Kin family of handsets suffered from a short life and quick death, with the hardware only being available for a matter of weeks. The poor devices never really saw the light of day when Microsoft's somewhat 'hip' mobile phones launched back in 2010.

Issues ranged from the hardware being too expensive to having too few apps and being slow and sluggish. Internal videos have now been published that show focus groups testing the Kin (using pre-production units that reportedly changed very little from the shipping product). It doesn't look good at all for the ill-fated devices.

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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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New Windows Phone 8 handset from Huawei?

Well, well, well. Look what we have here, a mysterious handset that's reportedly manufactured by Hawaei. The manufacturer has yet to fully open up into the Windows Phone market, though a number of leaks have been previously covered by the news, including ourselves. So, what are we looking at in the alleged photos?

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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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Rogers has published a blog post detailing what hardware the carrier will be sporting from Microsoft for both Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8, as well as any exclusivities Rogers will hold on said devices. We're already aware of which Windows Phones the carrier will be taking, but the blog post also touches on carrier apps that will be pre-loaded.

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ZTE confirms Windows Phone 8 handset in Q1 2013

Remember the alledged ZTE Windows Phone 8 hardware we took a look at last month? In that article we also looked at some colourful devices that sported a centralised USB port, which is the norm with latest Windows Phone hardware. Could they have been the real deal? We're still not entirely sure which way to lean, but what we do now know is ZTE has confirmed at a conference that they'll be supporting Windows Phone 8.

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Microsoft has unleashed its Windows 8 hardware on Twitter by opening up the @Surface account. Surface Windows 8 tablets from the software giant will be its first major leap into hardware for its Windows operating system, excluding mice, keyboards and other peripherals, of course.

So far the account has published two tweets, one linking followers to a playlist of Surface videos, which contains only one thus far - it's the original video we all witnessed earlier in the year showing off what appeared to be a unique Windows 8 tablet of some sort - while the other promotes the music used in the Surface video. 

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Nokia's Windows Phone 8 line-up

We've seen Nokia poke fun at Samsung in the past by welcoming the company back to Windows Phone, as well as attacking its Galaxy S3 vs iPhone 5 marketing campaign. Nokia has failed to show signs of ceasing, and now the Finnish manufacturer has taken to Twitter in Italy to slam competing manufacturers and boast the specifications of the Lumia 920. The flagship Windows Phone is the company's bottled hopes and dreams running Microsoft's next generation mobile operating system.

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Today marks the start of the 2012 China International Exhibition, and ZTE has arrived guns blazing with the company's mobile phone market strategy director Dennis Lui sharing a very interesting photo with the world. Analysing the capture above, we can see what appears to be one or two ZTE Windows Phone 8 handsets. The device on the right looks almost identical to the ZTE Tania, which runs Windows Phone 7.5.

Unfortunately due to the blur effect added into the mix, it's near impossible to tell what's what within. As well as the similarities to a legacy handset, we can only spot a USB port in the centre on the device in the middle, which appears to be the standard for Windows Phone 8 hardware. If that wasn't enough, we could well be looking at Windows Phone 7.8 here on the Tania. As for the two devices to the left, we're not entirely sure but they almost look HTC - though we could be (and probably are) mistaken.

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My next Windows Phone - Rich Edmonds

I'll be after the successor to the HTC TITAN

It’s a difficult question to answer, “Which Windows Phone would you buy next?” It's especially difficult when we only have three announced Windows Phones for Apollo. We’ve seen what both Samsung and Nokia have to offer in terms of hardware for the next version of Microsoft’s mobile operating system, but there’s one major partner that has still to take the floor. Yes, I’m talking about HTC. I would very much like to purchase the upcoming HTC 8X.

I hear the shouts and screams. "Why?!" Well, the Taiwanese manufacturer has supported Windows Phone since the beginning (as well as Windows Mobile) with a number of devices. I've always liked their first generation Windows Phones. I’ve made my opinions clear in the past how the company could have taken the platform by storm through actively promoting their hardware. HTC then brought us the Radar and my favourite Windows Phone – the massive TITAN. Sporting a thin design, comfortable body and being fairly light-weight made it a no brainer for me.

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Santa's here - free gifts for everyone

Microsoft has announced at an internal event held in Seattle that employees at the company will be receiving a hardware package which includes a PC refresh, Surface tablet and Windows Phone. GeekWire reports the company is looking to accelerate the refresh cycle for Employee workstations to take full advantage of Windows 8. 

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How would you like one of these running Apollo?

My Nokia Blog have received a photo collection of an N9 successor, codenamed 'Lauta'. If it were released, it's reported to have been the immediate successor to the N9 and would have been launched soon after, but was subsequently scrapped due to Nokia's decision to support Windows Phone and drop MeeGo.

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The Lumia 610 low-end Nokia Windows Phone

As we closely approach Nokia's rave party, which is to be held this coming Wednesday in New York, reports of potential Nokia Windows Phones are surely to be coming in hot for the next few days. The Verge has learned from a source familiar with Nokia's Windows Phone plans that the manufacturer plans to release a Lumia 610 successor, powered by Windows Phone 7.8, codenamed "Glory".

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Russian mobile website NOMOBILE.RU managed to get some hands-on action with the Samsung ATIV S, which was announced at IFA 2012 in Berlin this week. The Windows Phone was presented in its glory, and looked surprisingly elegant when put against its Android counterpart in the video.

What's interesting about this hands-on coverage was the few seconds the reviewer took to bend the plastic backplate. Now, if you saw the image above before reading the title, you'd immediately assume it's on the verge of snapping, but it seems the Samsung ATIV S (much like the Galaxy S III) can actually bend it like Beckham - refers to David Beckham curling the football around a defensive wall from set pieces.

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Nokia has humorously welcomed Samsung back to Windows Phone, thanks to a photo published to Twitter by Doug Dawson, Media Relations Head for Nokia. In the image, one can see a banner being held that reads "Samsung: Nokia welcomes you back to Windows Phone...". Samsung announced its ATIV S smartphone running Windows Phone 8 yesterday at IFA 2012, in Berlin.

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