OEM

Back in late February Microsoft announced that nine new OEMs would be joining the Windows Phone ecosystem. It also announced a new site, oem.windowsphone.com, for OEMs to get information and learn how to bring Windows Phone devices to market quickly. Companies like HTC and Samsung won’t really need this portal. That site is now live and potential OEMs can get the help they need to build and ship a new Windows Phone.

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According to a report by Times of India, India’s handset players LAVA and Karbonn will launch their Windows Phone devices in coming months.

At the Mobile World Congress last month, Microsoft had announced nine new OEMs as Windows Phone partners. Out of these nine - Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, LAVA, Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, and ZTE – Karbonn and LAVA are two Indian handset brands which have managed to capture significant market share in the Android smartphones category.

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A few months ago, Lenovo announced their new Flex series of touch screen machines, the Flex 14 and Flex 15. While the line does offer up to the latest generation Intel Core i7 processor, 8 GB of RAM, and a 256 GB SSD, the Flex machines were not designed to be the hottest machines on the block – they were designed to fit a budget and came in at a starting price of $429. Now, Lenovo is back with another Flex model unit, the Flex 10.

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Dell released the Latitude 6430u Ultrabook as a notebook as an affordable light and portable machine for the business professional. We have been quite happy with the new direction of design Dell has been headed in, but there is one problem – one of their laptops “smell of cat urine”.

According to reports from the BBC, “a number of users” have been complaining that some of their Latitude Ultrabooks “smell of cat urine”. While not a very appealing scent, Dell engineers have assured that the machines have not been biologically contaminated and there is no health hazard.

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India is an interesting market for smartphones. The country is growing quickly with low-end, affordable smartphones from multiple vendors pushing through hardware and upgrading consumers. Now the co-founder of Micromax (www.micromaxinfo.com), an India handset maker, Rahul Sharma has revealed the company will be looking to release a Windows Phone next year. 

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Dell has really been stepping up the design of their machines, which has certainly brightened our view of the company’s future, along with the future appeal of Windows. Today, Dell has announced a brand new Prevision workstation – and wow, it is beautiful.

The new Dell Precision M3800 is a 15-inch workstation with an ultra-high 3200 x 1800 multitouch display and a thin 0.7 Inch form factor. The unit is composed of an aluminum frame, carbon fiber chassis, and topped off with a Gorilla Glass display.

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Lenovo's IdeaPad YOGA 2 Pro is on sale now

Lenovo’s IdeaPad YOGA 2 Pro is officially on sale and starting at $1,049. When the original YOGA was released, we considered it close to perfection; the new Lenovo YOGA 2 Pro brings that dream one step closer to reality.

The YOGA 2 Pro sports a 3200 x 1800 10-point multi-touch display and is backed up by IPS support. Additional improvements include a new Lenovo Transition system, which automatically locks the keyboard in place when the hinge is flipped 360 degrees into tablet mode. The keyboard has also been upgraded and includes a backlit keyboard for easy use in low light situations.

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Just in time for the holiday season, Dell has announced a few new additions to its line of PCs. Typically Inspiron has served as the company’s budget line of machines, but with these latest editions, Dell is going above and beyond to make budget seem premium for Windows 8.

The first introduction is a selection of new Inspiron 7000 series laptops. Typically, Inspiron units have been made from plastic, but not this time; this time, the 7000 series is made of “forged aluminum” and features “diamond-cut beveled edges”. According to Dell, the 14-inch model that measures in at .6 inches is 27% than its predecessor. The 15 inch and 17 inch models are just as impressive, coming in at .9 inches and 1.1 inches respectively (Remember, these are budget machines).

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Microsoft really wants consumers to put down their iPads and pick up its own ARM based Windows RT devices. So far, we have seen aggressive campaigning against Apple’s portable computing tablet. Now, Microsoft plans to cut the cost of Windows RT licenses and make tablets running the operating system even cheaper; this intel comes from anonymous sources, as the exact pricing for Microsoft’s Windows RT operating system is confidential.

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If you're not already aware of the online Windows Phone store, which is available over on the official Windows Phone website (www.windowsphone.com), it's useful way of checking out Windows Phone content when at a computer. As well as browsing apps from developers, consumers are also able to look through and install OEM apps that are listed in the Nokia Collection, Samsung Zone and HTC Apps.

Prior to this feature it was only possible to check out the latest content from each manufacturer on a device.

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LG has informed CNET the company has no immediate plans to support Windows Phone 8 with new hardware. While the company remains open to using Microsoft's platform in the future, it doesn't see high enough demand for another smartphone to be released. This sounds odd since Samsung (also arguably a rather conservative OEM partner) is pushing its ATIV S and Odyssey Windows Phones.

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HTC continues on its downward spiral

HTC has published its financial results for Q3 2012, showing a continuous fall in revenues that we've witnessed through previous reports. The company braced itself for a tough Q3 and revenues were expected to be in the region of NT$70-80 billion for this quarter. Hitting the nail on the head in the estimation, HTC's net revenue was $2.397 (NT$70.2 billion) for the months July through September, down from $3 billion (NT$91.04 billion) in Q2.

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Guess who's back, back again? It's not Eminem.

Viber has had an interesting time on Windows Phone since it launched itself onto the platform. The app is presently available for all Windows Phones but is limited to messaging and sports no voice capabilities. This was to change for Lumia owners with the release of Viber HD in the Nokia Collection of OEM apps last month, which boasted VoIP functionality.

Unfortunately, due to bugs and performance issues, Viber HD was subsequently pulled from the Windows Phone Store and those who wished to download the communication solution for their Lumia Windows Phone were unable to do so. We expected an update to be released for those who already have Viber installed, as well as the app being made available to download once again after all issues were ironed out.

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Looks like Microsoft might be trying its hand at a viral advertising campaign in the lead up to the release of its Surface tablet.  The advertising, in the form of hipster compatible urban art has been spotted in a couple of locations such as the one above in Brooklyn. The pseudo graffiti seems to continue with the imagery we first saw at the Surface reveal.  The theme is of an elegant two-part diagram, depicting tablet with detachable keyboard.

The Surface device is going to be big news for Microsoft on a number of levels. Surface is not only going to be the first Microsoft designed computer, it will be the poster child for Windows 8. When we see the new OS advertised and demoed, we can be pretty certain it will be on a Surface tablet. We’re expecting a marketing tsunami with the combined Windows 8 and Surface product launches. 

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An update has been released for Nokia's Weather Windows Phone app, which is available in the OEM collection on the Marketplace. The app is a "suped-up" version of The Weather Channel app that is available for all Windows Phone owners to use, and sports some interesting functionality and features. The manufacturer launched their own version of the app back in July and already they've released an update.

It was previously limited in availability but this update brings with it new region support. While no changelog is presently available, we expect backend changes and improvements to be bundled with the release. 

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According to WPDang sources, Chinese handset maker Oppo is set to build Windows Phone 8 hardware. Founded in 2004, Oppo is a relatively new player to the mobile phone industry with a history of different electronic products, including media players. WPDang reports that the Chinese manufacturer could begin releasing new Windows Phones in 2013. Being less internationally known than both Huawei and ZTE, Oppo certainly can produce aesthetically pleasing hardware.

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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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