Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview now

It’s finally here! The Windows 8 Consumer Preview is now available for download in English, French German Chinese and Japanese. The whole thing weights less that 4Gb for the ISO and around 1.9GB if you use the installer so hit the break and start downloading it and have some fun. Wanted to also let you know that I going to post more about it in the coming hours and days as I now own a Samsung Slate on which I’m installing the Consumer preview right now.

Continue reading Download the Windows 8 Consumer Preview now →

Microsoft certifying Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC for Windows Phone 8

Let’s not act surprised here folks. It was no secret that Qualcomm would still be the preferred SoC provider for Windows Phone 8 so the latest rumors that Microsoft is currently testing Qualcomm’s Snapdragon S4 aka the MSM8960 SoC for a future Windows Phone 8 Apollo handset isn’t the least surprising. The MSM8960 is the Dual-Core Krait beast featuring the Adreno 225 GPU which will be shipping in the LTE version of the HTC One X Android handset and from the looks of it Microsoft my have rightfully decided to skip the S3 generation in favor of the S4 for WP8 in part because the later has built-in LTE radios and because this particular SoC will also be Qualcomm’s first Windows 8 certified platform (even though the Windows 8 version may be the Snapdragon S4 Pro with the Adreno 320 GPU).

Now this may sound worrying to current Windows Phone owners who have only Snapdragon S1 ans S2 powered devices but as far as we know those handset shouldn’t have any problem running Windows Phone 8 later this year.

Continue reading Microsoft certifying Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 SoC for Windows Phone 8 →

Unified Bing Maps and Nokia Maps design launched

Microsoft and Nokia have just announced the unification of the their mapping services design. This one of the first result of the partnership signed last year between both companies that outlined the integration of Nokia’s Navteq assets into Microsoft’s Bing Maps service. As of today, Bing Maps and Nokia Maps have a unified map elements and color palette and the same Nokia Pure font. Frankly you won’t really notice much of a difference in Bing Maps but Nokia Maps unfortunately looks a bit washed out now. You can compare both offerings directly on you windows phone if you have a Nokia handset via the OS’s Maps application and the Nokia Maps app. Nokia Drive will get the same color treatment in the upcoming 3.0 update coming out in the coming weeks.

Continue reading Unified Bing Maps and Nokia Maps design launched →

New version of Nokia Drive for Windows Phone announced: Offline mode, traffic and re-route support

 

Nokia has just announced a new version of Nokia Drive for Windows Phone (and Meego too I guess) which will finally fix most of the issue that many like me have complained about with the first iteration of the software released back in November. Offline support is finally in with some other changes:

Now Nokia Drive on Lumia gets full offline support, with offline search and routing from calculating a route, to navigation and re-routing. A newly designed dashboard now shows speed limit alerts, as well as the speed you’re travelling at, as well as estimated time or arrival, time to destination and distance to destination. You can also access a list of recently saved destinations through a single tap, and then start turn-by-turn navigation..

No availability date has bee given but I’m sure that we can expect it to see it pop up in marketplace in the coming weeks.

Update: Nokia Public transport will be made available in the coming days while the newly announced Nokia Reading hub will materialize in April (UK, France, Germany, Italy, Spain and Russia)

Using Nokia Reading you can choose your own favourite authors, or select from bestselling novels and an extensive selection of top local books in your own language. The service integrates beautifully with the Lumia in the same “hub” and panorama experience we’ve seen working so fluidly with other services.

Once you have chosen a book, large, clear, smartphone screens like those on the Nokia Lumia make reading an enjoyable experience. It’s great for reading on an underground train or plane, as you can read everything offline after downloading beforehand.

In coming months you’ll also be able to create a personalised magazine page called “my stream” that automatically updates content across the most popular categories, and adds web content from your chosen sites.

Nokia Maps is also getting a update with a new modified layout in the coming days.
Continue reading New version of Nokia Drive for Windows Phone announced: Offline mode, traffic and re-route support →

Windows Phone Tango platform announced alongside new SDK for minimal fragmentation

Photo courtesy of MJ Foley

Microsoft has just made Tango official today with the launch of an update to the current Windows Phone 7.1.1 SDK to add support to this new platform. Don’t expect anything ground breaking though as Tango is simply here to enable support for lower-end device packing only 256MB of ram like the recently announced Nokia Lumia 610. Microsoft’s Joe Belfiore was also keen to point out that most of the 65000 apps available on the marketplace are compatible with such handsets but that approximately 5% are still not functional. The Redmond software giant is now trying to contact those application developers to get them to update/cod the software so it can run on the new mass market device. The Marketplace has now also open in 23 more countries including; Bahrain, Bulgaria, China, Costa Rica, Croatia, Estonia, Iceland, Iraq, Israel, Kazakhstan, Latvia, Lithuania, Qatar, Romania, Saudi Arabia, Slovakia, Slovenia, Thailand, Turkey, UAE, Ukraine, Venezuela and Vietnam.

In addition to the engineering work we’ve done in the OS to optimize for lower cost devices and the release of a new SDK with emulator, we have identified a small number (around 5%) of current applications that will not run properly on the new lower cost devices. We’re contacting the developers of these apps directly to advise them of steps they can take to make their app compatible with lower cost phones. In most cases the guidance is simply to use less memory.

Ultimately, whether your app should be available to these phones or not is your call. We’ve enabled you to update the app manifest file in order to state whether your app does or does not work on lower memory devices. We’ll honor whatever value you choose. If you say no, your app will not be installable on these phones. Those we’ve automatically opted out already have this value set appropriately. If you disagree with us or alter your app to perform adequately on these devices, you can change the value in your application’s manifest file and resubmit your app. Details on this process will be available on App Hub.

The goal here is to have the less amount of fragmentation as possible so Microsoft is currently doing everything possible to get the platform to scale down to cheaper hardware while maintaining compatibility with the ecosystem. This is obviously in stark contrast with what is happening on the Android side of the market where some really super high speced devices are being unveiled for Ice Cream Sandwich. Fear not though, if you are a hardware nut you can expect such Dual-Core Krait or more (Quad-Core) monsters with HD displays to come alongside Windows Phone 8 Apollo later this year.

Continue reading Windows Phone Tango platform announced alongside new SDK for minimal fragmentation →

Global Nokia Lumia 900 announced launching in Q2 2012

As we where all expecting Nokia has just announced the Global non-US version of the Nokia Lumia 900 handset earlier today. So what does it really mean ? Well nothing earth shattering. Simply put: everybody’s getting the handset with Dual HSPA support if your country doesn’t have LTE coverage yet or an LTE version for Canada which will be similar to the US variant. From the looks of it all variant are essentially the same powered by the same SoC (APQ8055 + MDM9200) so you will by an LTE handset anywhere but only be able to use it in HSPA mode for now until your region gets LTE coverage.

- Networks: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100, GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
- Speed: HSDPA+ Dual Carrier cat 24 (42 Mbps), HSUPA cat 6: 5.8 Mbps
- Display: 4.3” WVGA (800×480) AMOLED capacitive touch ClearBlack display
- Memory: 512MB RAM, 16GB storage
- Camera: 8Mpix auto-focus with f2.2, LED flash
- Size/Weight: 127.8mm x 68.5mm x 11.5mm / 160g
- Processor: 1.4 GHz Single Core/Snapdragon APQ8055 + MDM9200
- Battery: 1830mAh
- Operating times – Talk time: (GSM/WCDMA) up to 7 hours. Standby time: (GSM/WCDMA) up to 300 hours.

It will be available in Q2 2012.

Nokia Lumia 610 low cost Windows Phone announced

The first truly low-cost Windows Phone 7 (Tango) handset has just been announced by Nokia today in the form of the Lumia 610. This new handset is the first Windows Phone device to be powered by a Qualcomm MSM7X30 SoC clocked at 800Mhz (with an Adreno 205 GPU) and only 256MB ram. The specification are in line with the Chassis specification announced last year at MIX11 and what we came to expect after hearing about the Tango leaks. The specs are the following:

- Networks: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100, GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
- Speed: HSDPA cat 7: 7.2Mbps,
- Display: 3.7” WVGA (800×480) TFT capacitive touch LCD display with pinch zoom
- Memory: 256MB RAM, 8GB storage
- Camera: 5 megapixels, auto-focus, LED flash.
- Size/Weight: 119.24mm x 62.18mm x 11.95mm / 131.5g
- Processor: 800 Mhz Single Core/Qualcomm Snapdragon S1
- Battery: 1300 mAh
- Talk time: GSM : 10.5 h, WCDMA : 9.5h. Standby time: GSM : 670 h, WCDMA :720 h

The Nokia Lumia 610 will launch in Q2 2012 with the price of 189€

Source: Nokia

Skype Beta app for Windows Phone 7 launched: Get it now!

It is finally here folks! Skype for Windows Phone 7 has now reached the marketplace in its beta form and can be downloaded for free as I’m typing this. The beta version will require that you have a handset running Windows Phone 7.5 Mango or up but has officially been certified to be compatible with the following handsets:

• Nokia Lumia 710
• Nokia Lumia 800
• HTC Titan
• HTC Radar
• Samsung Focus S
• Samsung Focus Flash

I’v just did a quick test and video chat also works on devices without a front facing camera (it uses the main camera on the back instead). Check it out in action in the video after the break:

Continue reading Skype Beta app for Windows Phone 7 launched: Get it now! →

Watch the Nokia MWC live event

If you aren’t afraid of waking up early (or not going to bed at all if you are in the US then just hit the source link after the break to watch Nokia’s Mobile World Congress live event starting 08:30 AM GMT today. We are obviously all expecting the Finnish company to announce the Global version of the Lumia 900 alongside a lower-end handset rumored to be the Lumia 610. Set up your alarms and don’t miss it out.

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Nokia quickly becomes number one Windows Phone OEM

Unsurprisingly Nokia has apparently become the number one windows phone OEM in less than a quarter. According to Strategy Analytics Nokia own 33.1% of the Windows Phone marketshare wile HTC Samsung and others the rest 66.9%. With only 2.7M units ship in Q4 Windows Phone is still far behind its many rivals but this just goes to show that good marketing and brand awareness is part of the key to success in this business. I have yet to see any HTC of Samsung advertising for their Windows Phone 7.5 here…

Continue reading Nokia quickly becomes number one Windows Phone OEM →

Official CNN app for Windows Phone 7 released: Hands on video

The official CNN application for Windows Phone 7 has finally been released today and is exclusive to Nokia handsets for the next 90 days (Lumia 710, Lumia 800 and Lumia 900). As of right now the app seems to be relatively good with a great use of the Metro UI but suffers from a small bug/glitch; the videos feed isn’t loading at all (could be a simple server side problem). Other than that you get basically everything that you can except from such a news app and also access to CNN’s iReport functionality that lest you submit you iReports on the go directly from your handset. Check out my short hands-on video of it running on on of my Lumia 800s after the break:

Continue reading Official CNN app for Windows Phone 7 released: Hands on video →

Bing Vision going worldwide with news Newspaper match feature in March

In case you missed this little piece of news from late last week, the Bing team has announced that Bing Vision in Windows Phone 7 Mango is now available outside of the US (this has been the case since early February in some European countries like France) and also announced a new feature called Image Matching for Newspapers:

Enabling people to quickly find the digital version of a print magazine or newspaper article, Bing Image Matching for Newspapers allows users to take a photo of an article using their Windows Phone camera and link directly to a digital version of the article online.

Offering global access, consumers will have access to content from over 3,000 publications worldwide.

Image matching fro Newspaper ill only launch in March so don’t go around trying to scan every newspaper in sight yet (also note that Bing vision won’t be available everywhere either so just set your search region to US to try it out). Now where’s my local traffic data in Bing Maps please?

Continue reading Bing Vision going worldwide with news Newspaper match feature in March →

Windows Phone 7.7 aka Tango?

This month’s MWC in Barcelona will probably see the official unveiling and launch of the Tango update/build of Windows Phone 7. As things are getting closer to release we are stating to discover more info about this update’s features and today we may have stumble upon it’s official naming which is Windows Phone 7.7. Nothing really surprising here given that Mango is Windows Phone 7.5 (but is really only Windows Phone 7.1). The hackaton event will take place tomorrow in Greece so we may hear more about this in the coming hours.

Continue reading Windows Phone 7.7 aka Tango? →

Windows Phone 7.7 Tango features revealed

A handful of screenshot of the upcoming Windows Phone 7.7 Build named Tango have recently appeared on a Russian site. As we have previously heard Tango will be mainly aimed at enabling lower-end handset to run Windows Phone 7 with lower ram requirements (even though 256MB has always been the minimum req for WP7), lower MP cameras,making some sensors optional and adding more language and region support. As you can see in the screenshot above this will obviously introduce a form of fragmentation in the ecosystem because some application will require more than 256Mb to run and thus not be compatible with some of the low end device running Tango. This is in someday reminiscent to the way the iOS platform works in terms of application compatibly across the iPhone models (but still far from the mess that is Android).

In addition to this Tango will also finally introduce video, audio sharing and multiple-attachments via MMS. Exporting contacts to the SIM card and more Data roaming option:

Continue reading Windows Phone 7.7 Tango features revealed →

LG Fantasy E740 aka LG Miracle out in the wild: First Windows Phone with NFC support

LG which was one of the most active launch partner of Windows Phone 7 in the fall of 2010 with the LG Optimus 7 and LG Quatum has been oddly missing from the WP7.5 Mango festivities a few months ago. The mysterious LG Fantasy that has emerged on the web several times in the past 6 months is back again flaunting in the wild and nearing it’s official unveiling later this month during MWC. So what can we expect from this devices? Well not much in terms of over all design compared to HTC and Nokia’s offerings and the SoC is apparently an MSM8255 clocked at only 1Ghz. The device also on packs 8GB of internal storage, a front facing VGA camera and a 5MP main camera with no flash on the back. The 4″ screen is a LCD TFT Nova panel. The most interesting part though is the inclusion of an NFC chip which as far as we knew won’t be supported until Windows Phone 8 Apollo launches later this year but seems to be functional under windows Phone 7.5 thanks to an native debug app developed by LG. Anyway, hit the break to watch the device in blurry action and more blurry pictures.

Continue reading LG Fantasy E740 aka LG Miracle out in the wild: First Windows Phone with NFC support →

Microsoft details Windows 8 on ARM: Shows Kernel running on years old Windows Phone

If you still had any doubt that Windows Phone 8 would be based on the Windows 8 kernel Microsoft just detailed the new desktop OS support for the ARM architecture in a lengthy posted today courtesy of the company’s Windows President Steven Sinofsky. Besides all the in-depth info provided in today post which I highly recommend you to read Steven also posted pictures of a rather old Asus Galaxy Windows Mobile 6.5 smartphone running a very early build of the ARM version of Windows 8 back when Microsoft didn’t have access to ARM based prototype tablets.

Other info included in today’s blog post is the claim that Windows 8 ARM tablets are still scheduled to start shipping during the same time frame as the first X86 tablets later this year. Windows 8 on ARM will also feature the desktop view contrary to what some rumors have claimed in the past few weeks and also offer regular Office software support. More importantly Windows on ARM aka WOA will not support any type of virtualization or emulation approach, and will not enable existing x86/64 applications to be ported or run. So if you want the best of both world and X86 based tablet will be your best option this fall. Anyway, head over past the break to see WOA in action and to the source link to read all about about it. If you are the proud owner of a Samsung Slate 7 BUILD Edition (the developer version) and want to sell it please contact me here as I’m really interested in getting one ASAP.

Continue reading Microsoft details Windows 8 on ARM: Shows Kernel running on years old Windows Phone →

BulletAsylum for Windows Phone 7 released

The much anticipated shooter which was announced more than a year ago has finally landed in the Xbox Live section of the marketplace today for the price of $2.99. The games performance is top notch on my Nokia Lumia 800 handset but didn’t have time to check it out on my Omnia 7 yet so go grb the trial version now to check it out for yourself especially if you have a 1st gen Windows Phone 7 handset. I personally found the Lumia’s 3.7″ screen to be a tad too small for this game though. Here’s what’s included:

- Multiple unique game modes, including Arcade, Survival, and Architect.
- Dozens of upgrades; because bigger guns are better guns.
- Several game modifiers; change the rules – change the game.
- Leaderboards; Show your friends just how much better than them you are.
- Achievements; 200 Gamerscore up for grabs.

Continue reading BulletAsylum for Windows Phone 7 released →

White Nokia Lumia 800 announced: launching later this month

The white Nokia Lumia 800 has just been made official by Nokia today with n estimated launch date of late February in the following countries: UK, Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Netherlands, Scandinavia, Finland, Poland and Switzerland. Besides the new color there’s nothing new about it compared to the previous black, cyan and fuchsia version of the handset. For more info and my latest hands on experience with the Lumia 800 please see here.

Continue reading White Nokia Lumia 800 announced: launching later this month →

Nokia Lumia 800 issues continued: looking better

As you all already know my Nokia Lumia 800 user experience has been plagued with some serious issues that I didn’t hesitate to publicly report here in the past few weeks. Poor battery performance, disappearing battery status, poorly grounded screen digitizer, audio and camera issues, etc. The list isn’t short and many early Lumia 800 owners have suffered the same fate. My latest post made enough noise for Nokia to notice that something wrong was going on  and made them gracefully replace both my handsets with brand new ones coming straight from the factory.

So here are my recommendations based on my experience with the brand new phones:

1) If your device suffers from the missing battery bug: Get it replaced by your Operator/Carrier or Nokia Care

2) If your phone suffers from a really badly grounded digitizer (screen jitters even when the device is not being charged: Get it replaced. All Lumia 800 I have seen have a jittery screen when charged but it shouldn’t happen when the device is unplugged.

3) Battery Life: Seems to be fine on both new handsets but I need to test it further in the coming days. Don’t pay attention to the readings in the diagnostic app because they are all wrong (charge capacity etc..). Make sure to disable the OS Update notification via cell network in the settings to save some standby battery life and remember that setting the screen brightness to high will nuke your battery really fast (It would be really great if the medium settings was as bright as the one on the Omnia 7…).

UPDATE FEB 10: Battery went south today. Before going to sleep the phone reported 40% left, unfortunately 5 hours later when I woke up the phone was dead. I charged it but the thing seems to be permanently busted for now: Max battery capacity is now stuck between 800mAh and 950mAh which is below 1000mAh so Nokia says that it’s a hardware defect (my other phone experienced the weird fast battery rain earlier this week for no apparent reason either..). Everything is working fine on the device but the battery reading is totally wrong. The company is sending me to new phones which I should receive early next week (they also may be loaded with a beta FW so I can test if things are still running wild or not). I’m betting on a Radio or Qualcomm PM8058 Power Management IC driver issue. But in either cases this shouldn’t turn the device’s battery into a lemon…

4) Audio and Camera issues will be addressed in upcoming updates. One of my handsets doesn’t suffer from the pink/purple spot as much as the other so your mileage may vary

5) Screen viewing angles and color seems to be random depending on the device: as with my previous devices one of them is yellowish while the other is perfectly fine. As if the polarizing process wasn’t perfectly done on one of the two.

Continue reading Nokia Lumia 800 issues continued: looking better →