Nokia Drive + now available to all Windows Phone 8 devices for US UK and Canada users

As I previously hinted at in my Nokia Lumia 920 software video tour (and by Nokia a few months ago); Nokia and Microsoft have just announced that Nokia Drive + Beta is now available for free for all windows Phone 8 devices from HTC, Samsung in addition to Nokia’s handset. This is really a big plus for the platform given that Nokia Drive is in my opinion the best navigation software on any platform thanks to it’s offline maps and its price it’s totally free!

Head over here to grab it and check out my handset on video on the Nokia Lumia 920 after the break:

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LG working on Windows Phone 8 handsets

LG is apparently back in the mix after calling it quits 9 months ago. The Korean manufacturer who finally having some relative success with its latest line of Android Optimus handsets and the Nexus 4 is currently working on several Windows Phone 8 devices according to a senior executive from one of LG’s local partners. As you may recall the LG Fantasy E740 never saw the light of the day as a commercial device and LG essentially stopped to support its Windows Phone 7 handset just a few months after the OS’s launch in 2010 even-though the company was the premier OEM partner for Windows Phone 7 during OS’s development.

Having LG back on board can only be seen a a good thing for the platform but won’t fix the may problem which is Microsoft’s current attitude towards its on product.

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Living with Windows Phone 8 and the Nokia Lumia 920: the good and the ugly

It has been nearly two months since I’ve been using Windows Phone 8 with a Nokia Lumia 920 phone as my daily driver so I thought that now should be a good time to share my thoughts and experience about the platform and the hardware powering it. Is it good, is it bad, how does it compare to the competition? I’ll try to answer all of these questions and hopefully give you a good idea of Microsoft’s (and Nokia) uphill battle to get a nice share of the mobile industry. Follow me after the break.

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Windows Phone 8 Samsung ATIV Odyssey for Verizon announced

Verizon just followed Sprint today with the announcement of a new mid-range Windows Phone 8 from Samsung. The Samsung ATIV Odyssey appears to be nearly identical to the Nokia Lumia 822 (it has the same SoC, same WVGA S-AMOLED panel, Micro-SD expansion slot etc..) so if you are still found of the 1st generation Samsung Focus design this one might be for you. The ATIV Odyssey will be Verizon’s third WP8 offering next to the HTC Windows Phone 8X & Nokia Lumia 822 and should be released in the coming weeks. This will also be Samsung’s first WP8 handset in the US (the ATIV S isn’t available on any carrier and can only be bought unlocked).

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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.

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

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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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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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

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

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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4 times more Windows Phones being sold this year compared to last one

Microsoft’s CEO Steve Ballmer announced today during the annual Share Holder meeting that Windows Phone sales are 4 times more than at this time last year. Now, given that we don’t know exactly how many Windows Phones were being sold exactly one year ago this doesn’t really mean much for the time being. The only real number we have was that Nokia sold around 1 Million Lumia handsets in November and December (US not included because they were only available principally in EU) so don’t expect this year’s number to be extraordinary.

Microsoft finds cause of Windows Phone 8 rebooting issue. OTA fix to be pushed out next month

Many users have been reporting strange phone reboots with their new HTC or Nokia Windows Phone 8 handsets ever since they got them a few weeks ago. The good news is that Microsoft has apparently found the cause of the problem and is going to push an OTA (Over The Air) fix/update next month to all Windows Phone 8 devices. The cause of the problem has not been made public yet but from what I have seen reported on forums it may partially be Bluetooth related (this may be why I have never encountered it because I never have BT on on my devices). Anyway here’s the official word from Redmond:

“We’re continuing to investigate some reports of phones rebooting and have identified a cause with our partners,” Microsoft said in a statement on Tuesday. “We are working to get an over-the-air update out in December.”

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Windows Phone 8 Apollo Plus update to be released early next year. Windows Phone 7.8 coming real soon

Microsoft’s first update to Windows Phone 8 aka Apollo is apparently codenamed Apollo Plus (or Apollo +) as set to be unveiled / released OTA during Mobile World Congress at the end of February 2012. This definitely isn’t a shocker given that windows Phone 8 still has some rough edges and that Microsoft will have to announce/show at least something slightly new in Barcelona (alongside brand new hardware from Nokia?). This Apollo Plus update will finally ad VPN support to Windows Phone (missing since Windows Mobile 6.X has been ditched) and several other fixes and additional tweaks. If all goes as planned I should be present in Barcelona this year to over MWC.

After months of silence on the subject Microsoft has finally stated that news about Windows Phone 7.8 should be coming in the coming weeks. There’s obviously still no official datefor the roll out but devices in China are already sporting the latest OS update. From the looks of it (see video below) the overall appearance has been made has closely similar to WP8 as possible (Office Tile, Windows Phone boot screen) with some minor WP8 features ported back to the CE version (like using the Bing daily image as a lock-screen background)

Continue reading Windows Phone 8 Apollo Plus update to be released early next year. Windows Phone 7.8 coming real soon →

Nokia Lumia 920 FREE on contract with AT&T


Just a friendly heads up if you are in the market for a Nokia Lumia 920 in the US. Amazon is still taking orders for the Nokia Lumia 920 at exactly $0.01 with a 2y AT&T contract. (in Black cause all other colors are out of stock). The Lumia 920 is either selling like hot cakes or in extremely short supply given that it’s seems to be out of stocks nearly every where right now (same as the HTC 8X and Lumia 820 in the US). Just hit the Amazon link below to grab yours.

Nokia’s imaging Guru, Damian Dinning leaves the company (UPDATED)

This ones should definitely comes as a surprise to everybody who hasn’t seen Damian’s last mysterious tweet a few days ago. Word is that he is now effectively leaving the Finnish mobile giant on November 30th to pursue other responsibilities somewhere else. This obviously should be seen as a disappointment to all Nokia/Windows phone or even the company’ itself given Damian big role in the development of Nokia’s latest imaging technology found in the PureView 808 or the new Lumia 920.

Continue reading Nokia’s imaging Guru, Damian Dinning leaves the company (UPDATED) →

Nokia Lumia 920 mostly sold out everywhere

UPDATE: The remaining stock of Nokia Lumia 920 (only in Black) at Amazon is now being sold at 19.99 with an AT&T contract so hurry up and hit the Lumia 920 link below (all other WP8 devices are now out of stock)!

If you are in the market to buy a new Nokia Lumia 920 you better hurry up because the Finnish’s flagship device is mostly sold out everywhere and is on back-order (1 or 2 weeks delivery) even in Europe. Tomorrow’s black Friday rush won’t help the situation in the US but you probably will be able to order one at a fairly good price. It’s currently at 69.99 on AT&T via Amazon and the Lumia 820 is Free with a 2 year contract. Nokia has recently reported that the 920 has sold-out in Germany but it remains to be seen if this is because it’s hugely popular or because the stock was low to begin with. As far I know there’s still some stock in France and in the UK but your mileage may vary. The same inventory issues also apply to HTC’s Windows Phone 8X which is also on back-order right now.

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Nokia Lumia 920 first impressions

Better late than never, right? Well, I finally received a Yellow Nokia Lumia 920 on Monday and started using it as my main phone since then so I’ve had a bit more than 24 hours to handle the beast so far which is enough hands-on time to give you my first impressions about the device (but keep in mind that my device isn’t brand new).

As previously reported the Lumia 920 isn’t for the faint hearted; it’s thicker and heavier than the competition. Thankfully this doesn’t seem to be much of an issue for me as the 185g really don’t feel like a lot when pocketed all day. One handed usage is equivalent to most other 4.5″+ devices on the market so you will see yourself using it with both hands most of the time.

Build quality is great but unfortunately not perfect on my particular device. The whole polycarbonate body is apparently thinner than the previous Lumia 800 and 900 bodies and can creak when pressure is applied in certain areas. There’s also a relatively big air gap between the screen and the actual LCD panel (I can see light bleeding underneath the black bezel when I tilt my handset at extreme angles) this directly impacts the quality of the viewing angles as there’s a significant drop in brightness (but colors stay intact).

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Windows Phone 8 phones now available on all major carriers world wide: But are they selling?

For those of you who have been living under a rock or simply on vacation just like me here a small reminder: Windows Phone 8 has really launched and most of the major carriers in the world are selling WP8 handsets from HTC or Nokia. What I would like to know though is if any of you have seen TV ads, Street ads, magazine ads etc in your respective countries or if Microsoft is still failing to promote its mobile platform just like it has ever done?

Several TV ads are apparently currently being aired across the world since last week so did you actually see them (note that each region/country has its on version with its local celebrity)? Verizon has also started to sell the Nokia Lumia 822 and HTC Windows Phone 8X yesterday which is kind of a big news in the US. From what I have seen pricing and availability has been a bit spotty throughout the world especially on carriers which is really disappointing as this seems to always be the case with Windows Phone devices compared to the iPhone which is always available everywhere on the same day with enough stock or even flagship Android handsets like Samsung’s.

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