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.
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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.

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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:

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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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