Posts Tagged Nokia

Nokia Lumia firmware source shuttered

If you were among the hard-core Windows Phone fans that would look to get firmware updates before they were properly released, we’ve got some bad news for you. According to Slovakian website SmartMobil, Nokia is planning to restrict access to the Navifirm service that often allowed early downloads of upcoming Nokia firmwares, including those for the Finnish company’s Lumia line of Windows Phone 7 and 8 smartphones.

For now, it’s still possible to get earlier firmware in the same way – just download the NaviFirm Plus tool, connect to the server, search for your Nokia device, then download the firmware from the tool.
But at the end of the month, that’s set to change. Starting in February, you’ll need a “Nokia Online” login in order to access both application and firmware updates. The announcement made doesn’t seem to make clear whether this would be a standard aNokia account, or one that would be restricted to actual developers.
It does seem likely that you’ll have to jump through a few more hoops to get your fix of hot-off-the-press Nokia firmwares, though.  While I’m sure at least one developer with access will leak the firmware, it does open the system up to potential problems – a hostile developer might release malware in the guise of the latest system update as a trap for those who go looking for it early, for example. We’ll have to hope that Nokia choose a reasonable process for allowing access to the firmware, as it’s a great resource as present to get timely updates from a trusted source.
This article is brought to you by Will of Mobile Fun – the UK’s leader in Nokia Lumia 920 accessories, which will doubtful prove useful in the face of this sudden dearth of virtual Lumia upgrades!

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Motorola, Nokia try to win back market

In the smartphone market, Apple and Samsung have become the two giants. Is there room for a third?

Motorola Mobility and Nokia, two laggards in the mobile race, better hope so.

Both companies held events on Wednesday in New York to unveil their latest smartphones, just one week before Apple is scheduled to introduce its next iPhone. Much depends on the success of those phones, as Nokia and Motorola’s shares of the phone market continue to slide while sales of Apple and Samsung devices soar.

Combined, Samsung and Apple account for about 50 percent of the global smartphone market, with Samsung in the lead, according to estimates by Gartner, the research firm. Other phone-makers are so far behind that there is essentially no relevant third player. Research In Motion, a potential contender for that spot, has said its new line of BlackBerry devices will not be ready until next year.

Samsung and Apple are the only companies shipping lots of phones to retailers and making money, said Jan Dawson, a mobile analyst at Ovum, a research firm. “Nobody is really No. 3 because nobody else is shipping and profitable.”

At its event, Motorola unveiled three smartphones under its Razr brand that will be sold to Verizon customers. It said the focus of the phones was speed, because they connected to Verizon’s faster fourth-generation network. And they have larger screens than their primary rival, the iPhone.

These were the first new phones that Motorola has introduced since it was bought by Google, which announced the acquisition last year and closed the transaction in May. The companies remained mum about their plans until last month, when Motorola announced that it was laying off 4,000 employees, the start of a revamping under its new owner.

A Google executive, Dennis Woodside, is Motorola’s new leader. In an interview on Tuesday, Woodside said that the union of the two companies would spur mobile innovation. But Woodside, sharp and energetic, was careful not to overstate his goal for Motorola. He does not expect it to become a giant overnight.

“We want to be pushing the limits of what Android can do,” he said, referring to Google’s popular operating software for phones. He said that the plan for Motorola was to build excellent products that took advantage of its engineering heritage. “It doesn’t need to be the biggest player, but it can be one that’s truly leading in leaps and bounds in generations and generations of devices,” he said.

The new phones – the Droid Razr HD, Droid Razr M and Droid Razr Maxx HD – have a crucial component that reflects Motorola’s legacy as a radio company: the Motorola-made cellular modems inside them, which connect with newer, faster fourth-generation LTE networks.

And because Motorola helped develop this radio technology, the company knows how to design 4G LTE phones with long battery life, said Rick Osterloh, senior vice president for product management at Motorola, in an interview. The Droid Razr HD, for example, has a 4.7-inch screen with 16 hours of talk time, twice as long as many similar phones, according to Motorola.

The phones all use Android, raising questions about whether Motorola will become a legal target for Apple, which recently won a court victory against Samsung in one of many patent disputes related to smartphones. Apple accused Samsung of copying several aspects of the iPhone with its Android phones.

Woodside said he was confident that Motorola would not face similar problems. “We’ve always been pushing the envelope of technology,” he said. “It’s not a culture that copies things.”

Nokia has chosen a different and perhaps riskier route than the makers of Android phones, forming a close partnership with Microsoft and building that company’s Windows Phone software into its smartphones. The partners have not gotten much traction in the market lately, but they are hoping for another chance.

On Wednesday the two companies showed the Lumia 920, a smartphone that includes Nokia’s PureView camera technology and the ability to charge the phone by placing it on a special mat. Nokia also briefly introduced the Lumia 820, a midprice smartphone with exchangeable covers. The phones run Windows Phone 8, the latest version of the software.

“This is the most innovative smartphone in the world,” said Jo Harlow, Nokia’s executive vice president. She said the Lumia 920 took better pictures and video, especially in low light, than any other phone camera, and that it would offer access to Nokia’s mapping database, which provides maps for 200 countries.

Nokia, which is based in Finland, has been trying hard to gain a foothold in the smartphone market with its Windows-powered Lumia line. It sought to make a splash this year with the Lumia 900 on AT&T, aggressively priced at $100 and backed with an enormous promotional campaign, but sales were lackluster.

Investors seemed unhappy with the announcements. Nokia’s American shares dropped 16 percent. But some analysts were optimistic that the Lumia 920 would grab the attention of phone buyers.

Charles Golvin, an analyst at Forrester Research, said offering features like the ability to wirelessly charge the device would only help Nokia, as long as the phone is cleverly marketed and priced competitively enough. But Nokia did not say how much the phones would cost or when and where they would be available.

“The most pressing question is whether Nokia can get its magic back, whether it can be a viable third leg in the smartphone world and it remains to be seen,” Golvin said.

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Driven by India, Nimbuzz eyes 400 mn users by ’14

NEW DELHI: Instant messaging platform Nimbuzz expects the Indian market to be one of the main drivers in touching the 400-million userbase mark in the next two years.

The company had recently announced crossing the 100 million user mark across 80 countries, entering the league of top 20 most-used internet platforms in mobile and Web communications space.

“With a 100 million strong userbase, the target now is to double userbase each year in the next two years to reach 400 million by 2014-end,” Nimbuzz CEO Vikas Saxena told PTI.

He added that about 25 per cent of the targetted number is expected to come from India.

Of the 100 million users, the company claims that India has 17 million users; followed by the US at 6.5 million users, Middle East (30 million); South Asia (14 million); Africa (13 million) and Europe (10 million).

“India has been a strong market for us and we have seen strong adoption across platforms, especially Android. While in earlier days, the numbers were coming from the application being pre-bundled, the additions are now coming from people downloading the application on their smartphones,” Saxena said.

He added that the company is working on a slew of new products to engage users and drive the userbase.

Saxena said the additions were pan-India but increasing traction is being seen in regions like Delhi, Maharashtra, Karnataka, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh.

Nimbuzz counts What’s App, Blackberry messenger, Skype, WeChat and Yahoo messenger as rival platforms across the world.

It has received USD 25 million in venture capital and strategic funding from Mangrove Capital Partners (investors in Skype) and Naspers/MIH (investors in Tencent and Mail.ru).

Founded in 2006 in the Netherlands, Nimbuzz moved its global headquarters to Gurgaon earlier this year.

The company has a delivery and development centre in Gurgaon. While half of its 160 employees are based in India, the remaining 80 are spread across Argentina and the Netherlands.

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Nokia scraps software project meant to rival Google Android phones: Report

Struggling Finnish cellphone maker Nokia has scrapped a software project which it had hoped would compete with mass-market Google Android phones, three sources with direct knowledge of the company’s plans said.

Nokia was hoping the Linux-based software platform, code-named Meltemi, would replace its ageing Series 40 software in more advanced feature phones, but has killed the project as part of its massive cost-cutting drive.

Scrapping the platform means loss-making Nokia will risk losing its strong position in the mass-market — where phones are priced at $100-$200. Nokia controlled more than 20 percent of this market in the first quarter, according to research firm IDC.

Nokia’s Chief Executive Stephen Elop flagged Meltemi in a leaked video in mid-2011, but Nokia has never officially confirmed Meltemi existed. It declined to comment on Thursday.

In June, Nokia said it would cut 10,000 jobs – one in five staff in its phone business – as it aims to pull the company out of the red. Talks over job cuts are scheduled to end this week in Finland.

One of the sources, who works at a supplier, said the original plan was for the first feature phones using Meltemi should to be on the market by now.

Smartphones such as Apple’s iPhone which offer a platform for third-party application developers, is where the industry’s strongest growth is. But simpler feature phones, with limited support for third-party software, still account for most units sold.

Nokia’s Series 40 platform are in around 2 billion cellphones, making it the most ubiquitous software in the market. But it lacks the smartphone-like experience Meltemi could have offered.

Google’s Android platform has stormed the smartphone market in its first few years. Last quarter it was used in roughly 60 percent of all smartphones sold.

Nokia last year dumped its own smartphone software platforms in favour of Microsoft’s Windows Phone, which has so far had a limited impact, in part due to the high prices of phones using it.

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Nokia-born startup to launch MeeGo smartphone

HELSINKI: A Finnish startup, formed by former Nokia employees and using technology ditched by the handset maker, plans to launch its first smartphone later this year, entering an already crowded market.

The startup, Jolla Ltd, will use MeeGo software, created by Nokia and Intel in 2010-2011, for its products.

Linux-based MeeGo has found use in netbooks and car infotainment systems, but so far has been deployed in just one smartphone model, the Nokia N9.

Finland’s Nokia last year swapped its own software platforms, MeeGo and Symbian, for Microsoft’s untried Windows Phone – a move that has hit its sales and sent its share price crashing. It has yet to disclose N9 sales figures.

“The Jolla team is formed by directors and core professionals from Nokia’s MeeGo N9 organisation, together with some of the best minds working on MeeGo in the communities,” the startup said in a statement.

Jolla said it would focus on designing, developing and selling new MeeGo-based smartphones and unveil the first model later this year, together with international private investors and partners.

Analysts said the new company would struggle to break into the highly competitive smartphone market, which is dominated by Google and Apple.

“The art is not to create one cool phone, the challenge is to create a sustainable business. And when you have got all that in place you have to bring your product to the market,” said John Strand, founder of Danish telecoms consultancy Strand Consult.

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Best music phones: iPhone 4S, Samsung Galaxy S3, HTC One X, Nokia Lumia 800

With the coming of Sony’s Walkman, music became an extremely personal experience. The iPod and the iPhone allowed listeners to store gigabytes of music on the go. Mobile phones caught on to the idea. Here we look at some of the best music phones in the market.

iPhone 4S

The iPhone 4S comes with solid music pedigree from the iPod. The speakers are excellent, the kind that you want to keep the volume a bit low and not max it out. Full volume on the iPhone is really an ear drum-tearing experience.

Music of all ranges can be explored at a comfortable level and the phone has excellent bass and treble. With 64GB of space, your playlist won’t end anytime soon.

With the app store you can explore a plethora of music apps like Spotify. Another nice feature is that you have a music player even on screen lock, allowing you to skip tracks, pause and play, and adjust the volume.

Samsung Galaxy S3

Samsung is really trying hard to catch up with Apple on the music front. The high-end phone does have excellent speakers and a good music player. A new addition to the phone is the Music Square.

The player analyses the intensity of and mood of a song. You can tap on the Music Square on what kind of music you want depending on your mood and the phone generates a playlist for you. Although it might not be too accurate if your playlist is dominated by a certain kind of music.

Even though the phone has 16GB of space it can be expanded with an external card. The notifications pane shows your music apps and options as soon as you plug in your earphones, which is a nice touch. Also worth a mention is Samsung’s new music store which is trying to take on the iTunes store.

 

Sony Ericsson W8 Walkman

Sony Ericsson sometime back had made their mark for music phones with their Walkman series. Here is the Android iteration of the same.

Although it runs on a slightly outdated Android 2.1, it is still a fully functioning smartphone. The phone does disappoint with storage space and can be expanded to only 16GB with a memory card.

The phone carries the Walkman tag but all it has is an updated UI and there aren’t even customizable equalizer controls in the default player. But it is a decent music player and is smaller than the giant smartphones coming out these days and fits in the palm of your hand, giving it a more MP3 player feel.

The phone comes with speakers with a 3.5 mm jack which is nice for your mobile parties.

HTC One X

If you’re interested in checking out new sound technology in phones, try the HTC. The phone comes with Beats Audio enhancements and a set of sweet earphones.

It should be a hip hop music aficionado’s delight, considering they were designed by Dr. Dre himself. The player is friendly and there are a myriad number of apps to be downloaded from the Google Play strore. A good music app for the Android is Winamp. But on the downside, the HTC has only 32GB of space and is not expandable.

Nokia Lumia 800

Nokia and Microsoft’s marriage comes alive with their often sidelined Zune player. True, it is a pain to sync with your PC to transfer songs, but you have to do the same with the iPhone and iTunes and no one complains when Apple does it.

Sound quality is crisp and clear. A nice music feature on the Lumia is the Mix Radio which one can explore if making a playlist is tedious.

But what sets apart the Lumia is again the really aesthetic UI of the Windows Phone 7.5 and it is a joy to see album art on the tiles. Music can be bought from the Marketplace.

Though a feature found lacking was audiobooks, but not too much of a loss (honestly just pick up a book and read will you?).
 

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Nokia sells luxury brand Vertu to EQT VI

HELSINKI/NEW DELHI: Mobile handset firm Nokia today said it will sell its luxury mobile brand Vertu to private equity firm EQT VI for an undisclosed amount.

The move is a part of Nokia’s strategy to dispose of its non-core assets.

“Nokia has agreed terms for EQT VI, part of the leading private equity group in Northern Europe, to acquire Vertu, the global leader in luxury mobile phones from Nokia,” the company said in a statement.

Nokia said it would retain a minority shareholding of 10 per cent in Vertu.

However, the company has not disclosed financial details of the transaction but according to media reports the deal size could be around USD 250 million.

“This is a logical next step in the evolution of Vertu as the world leader in luxury mobile products,” Vertu President Perry Oosting said.

“Since Vertu began in 1998, our business has grown every year, due to the efforts of our talented workforce and the unique products and services we offer to our customers. We believe that EQT VI will position Vertu to continue to grow and lead in our marketplace,” Oosting added.

Finnish mobile maker, which has been witnessing a tough competition from rivals Samsung and Apple Inc in the smartphone category, said the deal is expected to close during the second half of the year.

EQT VI said Vertu fits well the firms investment strategy and plans to develop the brand as a standalone company.

“With its strong brand, undisputed category leadership and attractive growth outlook, Vertu fits well with EQT VI’s investment strategy.

“EQT VI is excited about the opportunity to develop Vertu as a standalone company and plans to drive the development of the luxury mobile phone category through significant investments in retail expansion, marketing and product development,” Investment Advisor to EQT VI Jan Stahlberg said.

In a separate announcement, Nokia today announced slashing of 10,000 jobs worldwide by end of 2013. Besides, it also made changes in senior management following the resignation of three officials including Chief Marketing Officer Jerri DeVard.

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Nokia launches 808 Pureview @ Rs 33,000

NEW DELHI: Nokia on Wednesday launched its much-awaited cameraphone 808 Pureview in India. It will be sold at a ‘Best Buy price’ of Rs 33,000.

The smartphone has a four-inch wide screen and runs on Symbian Belle. It boasts of 41 MP sensor and the most advanced imaging innovation featuring Nokia’s award-winning PureView technology and Carl Zeiss optics.

Nokia has a tie-up with Dolby Laboratories that has helped it introduce a rich cinematic sound output in 808 PureView which features both Dolby Digital Plus and Dolby Headphones technology. In addition, Nokia is bundling a Dolby Headphone with PureView 808.

Besides, Pureview has two microphones that capture a near perfect sound recording to make the videos with rich CD-like audio recording enabled by Nokia Rich Recording, earlier only possible with external microphones.

Above all, its new pixel oversampling technology, superior low-light performance and the ability to save in compact file sizes for sharing in email, MMS, and on social networks, the Nokia 808 PureView promises the users to capture high-quality images in any conditions. PureView also has full HD 1080p video recording and playback with 4X lossless zoom.

Significantly, a software upgrade promised by Nokia with the latest Belle feature pack software upgrade for its other smartphones will add cinematic 5.1 Dolby surround sound for better music and movies experience to handsets like Nokia 700, 701 and Nokia 603.

With Dolby technologies in its smartphones, Nokia claims to turn them into devices which can deliver high-definition (HD) content with Dolby Digital Plus 5.1-channel surround sound to HDTVs, audio/video receivers, and home theater systems.

PureView 808 comes in only black and white colours and will be available across Nokia retail outlets starting Thursday with an MRP of Rs 33,899. It is powered by a single core 1.3Ghz microprocessor which seems inadequate but according to Nokia, the phone has another processor dedicated to the camera function, thus ensuring a reasonably good performance. It has a 16GB internal storage, expendable up to 32GB with a microSD card. The RAM seems rather low at 512MB.

Speaking at the launch, Vipul Mehrotra, director and head of smart devices, Nokia India said, “Nokia has always been known for its imaging legacy. What started off with a simple objective to create the most advanced imaging device, the Nokia 808 PureView has evolved into something extremely revolutionary.”

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Nokia unveils cheap touch screen models

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