HTC and Nokia working on Windows RT tablets

News has just broke (or should I say “rumor”) that HTC is working on two Windows RT tablets that should launch in 2013. A 12inch and another 7inch device powered by a Qualcomm SoC which will probably be a SnapDragon S4 Pro (Quad-Core with Adreno 320). This story follows up recent rumors that Nokia is also hard at work on a similar device with the same Qualcomm chipset.

Talk about a Nokia Windows 8 tablet surfaced last summer (and here) but the Finnish company apparently decided not to take too much risk and wait for Microsoft Surface release to see if this whole endeavor is worth it. Unfortunately all of these rumors ,which should be taken with a pinch of salt, only make my decision to get a Surface RT even harder given that they will most probably be powered my a much faster SoC.

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First Windows Phone 8 update 8.0.10211.204 OTA roll out is a go for Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 alongside PR1.1

Microsoft and Nokia have just started to roll out the first Windows Phone 8 OTA update (build 8.0.10211.204) to Nokia Lumia 920 and 820 devices in the US (AT&T) and Canada (Rogers). The OTA (Over The Air) update is currently only aimed at North American users as there’s unfortunately no date for other regions besides oOkia statement which says that the global roll out is set to February 2013 (this sounds insane and definitely wrong given that the full PR1.1 firmware has just appeared on Nokia’s Server for severs EU models and carriers). The 8.0.10211.204 OS update contains the following enhancements and fixes:

Messaging improvements. A great messaging experience is now even better. You can now add multiple recipients at the same time when you send a text message and automatically save unsent text messages as drafts. You can even edit received text messages before you forward them.

Text replies to incoming calls. Can’t take a call? Now you can send a prewritten text reply to a caller directly from the call answer screen. It’s a nice way to let people know that you’re not ignoring them.

Internet Explorer improvements. You can now change your settings to prevent pictures from downloading automatically—an easy way to help keep data usage low. You can also delete selected sites from your browsing history and leave the rest intact.

Wi-Fi connectivity. Got a favorite Wi-Fi network? Windows Phone 8 will now prioritize Wi-Fi connections based on your connection history.

Other improvements. Includes many other improvements to Windows Phone.

Nokia Lumia 920 users will also get the PR1.1 FW update alongside the OS update which will fix the camera softness issues and several other annoying bugs:

 

  • Enhancements in Messaging
  • More efficient and reliable Bluetooth connectivity
  • More efficient and reliable start-up sequence
  • Enhancements in imaging performance and battery management
  • Additional platform updates and enhancements

 

HTC users should be seeing this update really soon if they haven’t got it already.

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Nokia Maps for Windows Phone 8 updated with improved traffic layer

Nokia Maps for Windows Phone 8 has just received an update to its traffic layer display bringing it back to how it was in previous WP7.X versions and Bing Maps. The WP8 version had a new display mode which only rendered a traffic layer when there was actually something going on and leaving the maps free of anything when the road was clear (see video here). This apparently confused the majority of the users so we are now to how it was before as you can see in the screen shot above.

This newest version also has better Nokia Transit support which doesn’t seem to perfectly work right now though (it always sends me to the Marketplace to download the app even-though its already installed on my phone.

UPDATE: Nokia Transit / Transport has also been updated today to work with the updated version of Nokia Maps.

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Nokia Lumia 920 PR1.1 update to improve camera alongside first Windows Phone 8 OS update

One of the main advantage of choosing a Nokia handset over competing devices is peace of mind knowing that the company will rapidly try to fix and roll out updates to eradicate most of the issues reported on their devices (HTC is good at it too but not as reactive as NOK). The Nokia Lumia 920 isn’t immune to bugs and issue which means that Nokia’s software teams have been hard at work seen the commercial launch of the product a few weeks ago.

One of the most noticeable problem is the strangely configured camera processing software causing day-time shots to look like a layer of Vaseline has been applied to them. Given that this doesn’t affect videos or even shoots with the front facing camera it was safe to assume that Nokia would be able to correct this with a software update. The good news is that the Lumia’s first FW update unsurprisingly labeled PR1.1 (FW: 1232.5951.1249 ) will include, among several other fixes / improvements , a new image processing algorithm that should result in sharper photos as seen in the cropped image below which was supplied to Engadget by Nokia.

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Windows Phone 7.8 roll out started for Nokia Lumia 800 handsets

Nokia has apparently started to roll out Windows Phone 7.8 for the Nokia Lumia 800 in select regions today with more to come. As with all previous Windows Phone 7.X updates the update availability will depend on your region, hardware number and carrier and the full roll-out should probably take several weeks. As you can see in the pictures my Nokia Lumia 800 is already running Windows Phone 7.8 which I have manually flashed a few days ago. Those of you following on Twitter probably already know that because this particular handset tenured into a brick during the flashing process.

But a miracle happened last night when I decided to plug the charger into it one more time just in case… Boom it came back to life!. Don’t ask me how or why because I frankly can’t answer you. Suffice to say that I quite happy to have it back on its feet though.

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Nokia Drive + Beta updated with new Battery saver mode

Nokia has just issued an update to Nokia Drive + Beta for its Windows Phone 8 device today to partially fix one of the most annoying issue plaguing the app: extreme battery drain when the app is running in the back ground because the software was constantly updating it’s position via GPS even when navigation was stopped. As you can see in the screenshot above this is now a thing of the past thanks to a new Battery Saving feature.

There’s also a new new back to my position feature which is really handy and a welcome UX change. Check out my hands on video with the previous version after the break:

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Nokia Lumia 920 hands on videos: Hardware and Software tour

Better late than never right? Here are my first videos of my Nokia Lumia 920 in action that I shot a week ago (sorry didn’t have much time to post them earlier). The first one is a simple hardware tour of the device followed by a software tour with a short performance comparison against the Nokia Lumia 800. Finally, the third video is a demo showing Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive and Nokia Transit / Transport integration in the Windows Phone 8. Hit the break to watch them:

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Vimeo app updated for Windows Phone 8

The official Vimeo application has finally updated to fix several major bugs and add new features alongside Windows Phone 8 support. This new iteration of the video streaming service now sports a slightly redesign UI to match the website, NFC sharing functionality for WP8 handsets, HD video support a more:

• Watch and manage all your existing Vimeo videos
• Watch videos from your Vimeo inbox, Watch Later queue, or videos you have liked
• Use NFC Tap-to-Share to share Vimeo videos between phones
• Create live tiles from your videos or featured channels
• Easily like, comment on, and add videos to your Watch Later queue
• Discover new and fascinating featured videos
• Quickly search for videos on Vimeo
• Easily upload your footage in HD
• Pause and resume uploads
• Replace existing videos
• Share via Facebook, Twitter, email, or SMS
• Add videos to your Groups, Channels, and Albums

You can grab it directly from here

Nokia Lumia 920T for China Mobile and Nokia Lumia 620 Windows Phone 8 phones announced

Nokia has just announced two new Windows Phone 8 handsets today. The first one was expected to arrive sooner rather than later but the second one comes as a really surprise. The China Mobile bound Nokia Lumia 920T is the Chinese variant of the 920 but incorporates a TD-SCDMA radio and powered by the recently announced MSM8226 / MSM8626 which incorporate an Adreno 305 GPU.

The surprise Windows Phone 8 handsets is the Nokia Lumia 620 which is the company’s new low-end WP8 device feature a 3.8 inch WVGA LCD screen, a 1Ghz Dual Core Snapdragon S4 Plus SoC, 512MB of Ram, 8GB of storage extendable with the Micro-SD slot, 5Mpix camera, interchangeable back-cover with NFC all for the super low price of $249 / €199 (available in Q1 2013).

Nokia Lumia 620 Specifications:

  • Networks: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100
    GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
  • Display: 3.8” TFT WVGA 800×480, ClearBlack
  • Memory: 512MB RAM (8GB internal memory, Micro SD support up to 64GB)
  • Camera: 5Mpix autofocus, LED flash; Video capture: HD 720p@30fps; VGA front camera
  • Size & weight: 115.4 x 61.1 x 11.02 mm; 127g (including battery)
  • Connectivity: NFC, WLAN 802.11 a/b/g/n 2.4Ghz + 5Ghz, Bluetooth 3.0, GPS/A-GPS, Glonass, micro-USB, 3.5mm audio connector (AHJ + WP Controls)
  • Processor: 1 GHz Dual Core Snapdragon (TM) S4
  • Battery Talk time: (GSM/WCDMA) Up to 14.6 h/ up to 9.9 h; Standby time: Up to 330 h

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Nokia Ringtone marker for Windows Phone 8 released

Nokia has recently released a Ringtone Maker application for its Windows Phone 8 devices (Lumia 920 and 82X) finally enabling Windows Phone user to create their ringtone with their own music directly on their phones. No need for some outside cloud-service or mp3 database or gigantic app which contains tons of music files to choose from. The Nokia Ringtone maker application will directly access the phone’s music library on the go. There are reports of crash on Lumia 920 handsets but your mileage may vary (I’ve yet to see the app crash on me). You can download the app directly from the Nokia Collection in the Windows Phone Store.

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Nokia City Lens updated with Sightline feature but only for Windows Phone 7

Nokia has released the newest Beta version of Nokia City Lens which adds the Sightline building occlusion feature that was announced a few months ago during the Nokia Lumia 920 launch event but had yet to see the light of the day. Surprisingly this newest iteration of the augmented reality browser is only available for Nokia’s Windows Phone 7.5 handsets and doesn’t work on Windows Phone 8 yet (see screenshot below).

  • See just what’s in front of you. Normally, City Lens shows you all the places nearby—even around the corner or a block away. In crowded areas, that can be a lot to take in. Our new Sightline features lets you switch your view to only what’s in your direct line of sight, making it easier to spot great places that are right in front of you.
  • Quick info– Get information while you look. Now you can quickly view a place’s address without leaving your camera view. Just tap to view the information overlaid on your display while you keep scanning. When you’re ready to learn more about the place, another tap pulls up its complete information.
  • Pause your view. When scanning your surroundings in camera view, you can now freeze your view and study your options without having to keep your phone pointed at the target.
  • Pin categories to start– Your most common searches with a tap. City Lens now lets you pin favorite categories to your home screen. Now wherever you are, you can find something you love nearby with just a tap.
  • Create Live Tiles– What you want at a glance. City Lens lets you search for your favorite things whether it’s books or sushi and lets you pin your favorite searches to your home screen.

You can download it directly by scanning the QRCode below:

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