Nokia Lumia 520 hardware specifications and price: the cheapest Windows Phone 8 to date

Nokia has just launched the cheapest Windows Phone 8 handset to date and probably also one of the most stylish one. The Nokia Lumia 520 the company’s lowest-end WP8 device but ironically one of it’s best looking one too. It looks a hell of lot like a smaller HTC 8X… So what’s inside this neat little piece of hardware? Well it’s pretty similar to what you will have in the Lumia 620 and the newly released Lumia 720 but it lacks any NFC feature and there’s no Front Facing camera but it does feature the same super-sensitive screen that was first introduced with the Lumia 920.Head over after the break for the hardware specs:

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Nokia Lumia 720 Specifications and Price announced

Nokia has officially introduced two new Lumia devices today at MWC. The first one is the Nokia Lumia 720 which will slot directly between the Lumia 820 and 620 in terms of hardware specifications and price. The Finnish company has decided to retain its signature colorful polycarbonate body design on of its line of Lumia handsets and the 720 is no exception. The handset definitely not groundbreaking in terms of hardware or design but does have new 6.7MP camera sensor with a F/1.9 aperture which is a world’s first. Jump after the break to check out the Nokia Lumia 720 hardware specifications:

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Nokia Maps, Drive +, Transit,City Lens updated and rebranded to HERE. No longer exclusive to Nokia Lumia handsets

Today’s a big day for all Windows Phone 8 users with the start of MWC in Barcelona and Nokia’s Keynote which just ended a few minutes ago. The big news besides the introduction of the Nokia Lumia 720 and Lumia 520 is the updated and rebrand of Nokia’s mapping services which will now all sport the HERE name. This means that Nokia Maps is now Here Maps, Nokia Drive + is Here Drive + etc.

But it get’s better: they are now available to ALL Windows Phone 8 users in US, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Germany, Italy and Spain! That’s right folks, Nokia has decided to make a really bold move today to help the Windows Phone ecosystem. You no longer need to own a Nokia Lumia handset to have access to these awesome applications.

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Verizon’s Nokia Lumia 920 hits the FCC

Verizon should finally be getting it’s own variant of the Nokia Lumia 920 later this year although it’s not known if the handset’s overall design will be identical to its WCDMA/GSM cousin. Not much else is know besides its RM-860 product name which positively puts it in the CDMA part of the family given that the China Telecom version is the RM-867. The Label/ID shot you see above unfortunately hints at a more boxy hardware design compared to the original 920. More info of this particular handset alongside the Lumia 720 and Lumia 520 should be revealed next week during MWC.

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Nokia Lumia 520 and Lumia 720 to be announced at MWC next week

Nokia is going to unveil at least two new Windows Phone 8 handsets next week in Barcelona during MWC. Both devices are on the lower end- of the spectrum are far from the often rumored (and probably fake?) Nokia EOS. The first one will be the Nokia Lumia 520 pictured above which is meant to be the company’s cheapest WP8 device. Yes even cheaper than the currently universally acclaimed Lumia 620. The second one pictured below is the Nokia Lumia 720 which will slot between the Lumia 820 and Lumia 620.

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HTC ONE: An awesome but also confused smartphone ?

The new HTC ONE is here and for the most part looks like the most powerful, well build smartphone that will hit the market this year. Sure it’s an Android handset but us Windows Phone users should expect to see this same hardware later this year as long as Microsoft update’s its WP8.X chassis specs to add support for Qualcomm’s new line of Snapdragon S400 / S600 & S800 SoC and 1080P screen resolution support.

Don’t get caught by the insane PR that HTC’s been pushing because the HTC ONE is definitely not going to revolutionize anything. A closer look at the specifications and features will give you the distinct feeling the Taiwanese manufacturer has been taking a really close look at what the competition has been doing (especially Nokia) and simply implementing hardware and software scenarios already available elsewhere but with its own touch.

Much of the buzz has been about the new camera sensor packed in the HTC ONE which for better or worst has been named the “HTC UltraPixel Camera”, a branding reminiscent of Nokia’s own PureView cameras. Before taking a closer look at this fancy offering let’s just check the HTC ONE hardware specification below:

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HTC UltraPixels vs Nokia Pureview and more ramblings

Numerous leaks, rumors or simply outright totally made up story are now starting to fill up the tubes as we get closer to Mobile World Congress later this month.

Let’s start with HTC who’s been a relatively bad spot lately while bleeding money. Ok, they are not really in such a bad financial shape but their shipments / sales and margins have been down in the past 24months with no signs of uptake. To get things back in line HTC has decided to somewhat mimic Nokia’s strategy by increasing its focus on lower-end smartphones aimed at “emerging” markets like China and also differentiates it’s higher-end handsets with top-notch camera optics.

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Google Exchange ActiveSync support for Windows Phone extended until July 31st

Microsoft has announced that Google has decided to extend its support for Exchange ActiveSync (EAS) on Windows Phone until July 31 2013. As you already know Google was set to cut EAS support for it’s Gmail, Contacts and Calendar services on January 31st but Microsoft has apparently convinced the Mountain View company to give the Windows Phone developers some more time to add CardDAV and CalDAV support into Windows Phone 8.

Windows 8 and Windows RT users using the default mail application will unfortunately still be affected by the January 31st cut unless they have already setup the application to sync with their Gmail account prior to this deadline. The easiest way would be to migrate your Gmail account to Outlook.com if you don’t really use Gmail for anything else other than YouTube.

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Windows Phone 7.8 update rollout started for Nokia handsets but others can also update now manually

Nokia has just started its Windows Phone 7.8 update roll out today for the Lumia 900, Lumia 800, 710, 610 and 510. Other manufacturers have yet to announced any date but as it’s usually the case you can already update your trusty Samsung, HTC, LG E900 or even Dell Venue Pro right now if you aren’t afraid to do it all by yourself. To do so simply follow the instructions below and grab the correct packages after the break:

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Kindle app for Windows Phone 8 released

Amazon has just released the Windows Phone 8 version of its Kindle application today with support for realizable Live Tiles and most importantly improved performance when turning pages. As you can see above the new app also feature Kindle’s new logo which looks really nice on the start screen. Beware that you will have to uninstall your previous version of the application before installing the WP8 release if you want to get the software to load (a simple update won’t be enough).

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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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Sprint finally announces its first Windows Phone 8 phones from HTC and Samsung coming this summer

Sprint has finally jumped into the Windows Phone 8 bandwagon today with the announcement two unnamed Windows Phone 8 handsets (one from HTC and one from Samsung) coming the yellow carrier this summer. This may sound a bit vague given that summer is still 5+ months away but don’t be surprised if these two handsets are “updated” version of the 8X and ATIV S. Mobile Word Congress is probably when we are going to learn more of the hardware so I’ll just leave you with the press release in hopes that this whole endeavor fares better than the poor fate of the HTC Arrive..

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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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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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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

Windows Phone 7.8 to finally be released in Early 2013

Microsoft has finally decided to communicate around Windows Phone 7.8 today and officially announced that the much anticipated update to Windows Phone 7.5 will be pushed out to existing devices in early 2013. This is obviously a bit of a downer given that everybody was expecting WP7.8 to come out before the end of the year mainly because the official wording during the June announcement was that it would simply be released after Windows Phone 8 (so we all assumed that it would be a matter of weeks not months).

As previously discussed the Windows Phone 7.8 update will include the WP8 start screen with resizable Live Tiles, updated icons, more market and language support,double the number of accent color themes, the option to automatically display the Bing Picture of the Day plus the ‘A1B2C3’ PIN/password challenge to prevent accidental device wipes on phones connected to Exchange accounts and minor bug fixes.

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NVIDIA Tegra 3 still not fully compatible with Windows RT

Here’s a non Windows Phone 8 related piece of news I came across a few days ago when looking around for real performance benchmarks and impression on the Microsoft Surface RT. As most of you have heard the Surface suffered/suffers from some performance issues according to most of the early rushed out reviews posted on the web. My own impression based on real users feedback/experience posted on forums and especially YouTube videos seems to indicate the opposite. Not really surprising to say the least but given that I have never touched a Surface in my life I can’t really judge one way or another. Anyway, I surprisingly found out that NVIDIA’s Tegra 3 SoC which powers the Surface and Asus Vivo Tab apparently doesn’t fully support Windows RT yet according to the company’s own product page. For those of you who aren’t aware; the Tegra 3 SoC packs 4 CortexA9 cores plus a 5th ARM core meant to take over all the low-power tasks like video,music, active standby. Turn’s out that the 5th core simply isn’t recognized by Windows RT yet and that one of the 4 CortexA9 cores is probably being tasked with all the low power workload.

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Windows Phone 8 SDK released: Direct 3D features detailled

I just finished watching the BUILD Keynotes after coming back home from work and came to the conclusion that Steve Ballmer has become the best demo guy for Microsoft. I highly suggest you take the time to watch his keynote to because I think that it’s the best one he has ever done so far. Anyway, let’s talk about Windows Phone 8. Microsoft has finally released the final public version of the WP8 SDK today which you can download from the source link below and start using to develop Windows Phone 7.X and Windows Phone 8 applications (no surprises here, it’s quite similar to the Leaked version I showed you this summer). Microsoft has also announced that developer registration to submit apps to the Windows Store will only cost $8 instead of $99 for the next 8 Days. So hurry up and start building amazing stuff.

As an added incentive, for the next 8 days individual developers can register for a Dev Center account for just $8 (a 92 percent savings). Please note because this is a very limited time offer. You’ll be charged $99 USD or equivalent in your local currency, and we’ll refund the difference in the next 30 to 45 days. Watch for more details on Dev Center soon.

Those of you who are still wondering what is the exact Direct3D feature set supported by Windows Phone 8 should take look after the break as MS’s Shawn Hargreaves has posted an great deal of info today about this:

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HTC Windows Phone 8X hands on

The relatively good surprise of last night’s Windows Phone 8 launch event was my hands on experience with HTC’s new flagship handset the Windows Phone 8X. Contrary to what most people assumed the devices’ build quality is nearly perfect and on par with Nokia’s Lumias. But the most striking feature is in my opinion the handset’s weight (130g) and overall in hand feeling. Like I said earlier the Nokia Lumia 920 is heavy, especially when you compare it to the 8X and ATIV S.

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