Holly molly who saw this one coming ? Microsoft has just announced the acquisition of Nokia‘s Devices & Services business alongside licensing it’s mapping an patents portfolio for €5.4Billion in cash today. Many like me have guessed that this may have been the big plan all along since the day Stephen Elop was appointed CEO of the troubled phone maker exactly 3 years ago in one week. After the successful launch of several Nokia Windows Phone devices in the past couple of months and the continued growth of Windows Phone’s market share todays seems to be the right time for Microsoft to start a new chapter by acquiring the best Phone maker in the world and securing the biggest patent portfolio in smart device patents.
Here’s are the principal terms of today’s acquisition deal:
Microsoft is spending about EUR 3.79 billion to acquire Nokia’s core cellphone business. Of that EUR 1.65 billion is for Nokia’s devices business
Microsoft will pay $2.18 billion to license Nokia’s intellectual property
Nokia’s patent portfolio includes some 8,500 design patents ranging from mapping to network/cell technologies with approximately 30,000 utility patents and patent applications, ownership of the Lumia & Asha brands and a ten year license to you the Nokia brand on feature phones. (this means that Microsoft’s Windows Phones will only be branded Lumia and not Nokia..strange I know..)
About 32,000 Nokia employees are expected to transfer to Microsoft as part of the deal. Off those 18,300 are “directly involved in manufacturing”
56,000 Nokia employees will remain at the company once the deal has closed
Microsoft acquires rights equivalent to ownership for the HERE Mapping apps
Nokia will continue to improve these apps for other platforms
4 year- agreement for mapping data and services: Nokia will provide MS with mapping data and services in exchange of annual payments Microsoft will combine Nokia map data with other sources and also make it available to Windows AZURE users with an additional fee.?
Microsoft’s gross margin on sales of Nokia’s Windows Phone handsets before the deal: less than $10. Expected to grow to $40 after the deal.
Microsoft will build a $250M data center in Finland for consumer purposes (AZURE too?)
Finland will become a core base of Microsoft in Europe and also the center of it’s mobile hardware R&D and manufacturing.
Stephen Elop will step down and CEO of Nokia and head back to Microsoft as the EVP of Devices a job title that was just recently awarded to Julie Larsson Green which will now basically only handle the upcoming fall hardware launches (XBOX One, Surfaces) and report directly to Elop and Ballmer.
Stephen Elop just went from being and external to an internal candidate for the CEO job that Steve Ballmer will leave in the next 12 Months.
Nokia’s top designer Marko Ahtisaari will leave the company in November to “pursue entrepreneurial opportunities,”
Nokia has finally announced the start of the AMBER update roll out for the following Windows Phone 8 handsets and markets:
The rollout starts now first for the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 in selected countries as well as the Lumia 521, Lumia 810, and Lumia 928 in the US. Exact delivery timings will vary by region, phone and operator, but we expect the update to reach your Lumia 520, Lumia 620, Lumia 720, Lumia 820 or Lumia 920 by the end of September.
The Nokia Lumia Amber Update includes the Windows Phone 8 GDR2 update alongside a torrent of Nokia updtes like improved image processing, Glance Screen, support for Nokia Smart Cam, Nokia Pro Cam, Storage Check, Flip to silence etc… Make sure to check your device’s update menu several times a day to see if AMBER is currently being pushed out by your carrier.
Nokia has just pushed out a new Calls + SMS filtering feature to its Lumia line of Windows Phone 8 devices in the latest version of Extras+Info setting application. Once the updated app is installed a new ssetting entry will show up in the Windows Phone 8 setting section. Tapping on it will open the Calls + SMS filtering app wchi will allow users to setup their handset to block incoming calls or text messages from any phone number added to the black list via the phone’s calling history.
Microsoft’s Bing apps for Windows 8 have been highly praised since their release over a year ago and are favorites of mine especially the Bing Weather and Bing Finance app which are packed with useful information and features. The most logical thing would have been for Microsoft to port them to Windows Phone 8 as soon as possible so user of Windows 8 and WP8 can have a consistent user experience at home and on the go. Unfortunately Microsoft isn’t known for doing things in a logical way but this time common sense prevailed (although nearly 12months too late) and those amazing apps have now finally landed on your beloved smartphone platform.
Since the launch of the Nokia Lumia 920 in November 2012 the Finnish manufacturer has released no less than 4 other Windows Phone 8 devices encompassing the whole price range from the low end to the high end. The Nokia Lumia 620 and 520 have been best sellers thanks to great feature sets and most importantly low prices without a contract. Unfortunately people lusting for a high-end Windows Phone 8 device only had one choice; the Lumia 920.
Nokia’s first handset featuring Optical Image Stabilization is a great phone but its sheer size and weight can be and has been a turn off for many potential adopters. I’m the first to admit that this phone isn’t for everyone. Sure, it’s top notch but the Lumia 920 is heavier than a more powerful, feature rich and bigger Samsung Galaxy Note II. Want a handset with OIS? Well your only Windows Phone choice would be the Lumia 920 (or 928 on Verizon) or the HTC One on Android (with a frankly subpar implementation of it).
Nokia is soon going to announce (tomorrow) a new addition to the Lumia Windows Phone 8 family in hopes to sell more than the 7+Milion smartphones that have been sold in the past quarter. The Nokia Lumia 625 is a refresh fo the best selling Nokia Lumia 620. Similar to the Lumia 925 the new 625 updates on it’s predecessor with slightly modified specifications. As a matter of the fact the Nokia Lumia 625 will sport the largest screen of the entire Lumia family with its 4.7″ diagonal. Unfortunately given that this is a low-end handset the screen will only be an IPS WVGA (800×480) panel.
You can check out the rest of the Lumia 625 specifications in the sheet below (click on it):
As I tweeted a last month Nokia is set to finally get the Here Drive + app out of Beta with the inclusion of Life Traffic support and the My Commute feature. The company has also officially announced today a major update to the Here Transit application with a modified /improved UI and the availability of Here Drive + to all Windows Phone 8 handsets (HTC, Samsung etc..).
Nokia has pushed out a global update to it’s HERE Maps for all Windows Phone today adding tons of new data including better maps for Tunisia, Senegal and Cyprus, building outlines in Croatia, Public transit in Hong Kong, Macau and Taiwan and more Truck Attributes worldwide. It should also be noted that devices running Windows Phone 8 GDR2 (which means only the Nokia Lumia 925 right now) will only be prompted to download the updated data of the maps currently installed and not the whole maps dataset as it’s has been the case on Windows Phone 8.
Just head over to your phone’s Settings -> Maps and download the updates.
EA Games has just made available 4 of their mobile games which were previously released on Windows Phone 7.5 and Windows Phone 8 exclusively on Nokia Lumia handsets: Parking Mania, Trivial Pursuit, The Game Of Life & SPY Mouse. But today’s bigger news is that 4 new Nokia Lumia “timed” exclusive EA titles have also been released: Mass Effect: Infiltrator, Tiger Woods 12, Real Racing 2 and NBA: Jam.
Only Mass Effect: Infiltrator is Windows Phone 8 only and that shows because Real Racing 2 and Tiger Woods which are WP7.5 compatible aren’t really super optimized (not running native code) and are rendered at a lower screen resolution and then upscaled to 720/768P. Mass Effect on the other hand is perfectly smooth and seems to be rendered at a fairly good resolution. Even the game tiles of the Windows Phone 7.5 compatible games are super low-res as you can see in the screen shot above. Simply scan or hit the links below to at least try them all out before shelling out the cash.
Nokia has just unveiled the Nokia Lumia 925 Windows Phone 8 handset today. Before going further I will just make it clear from the get go and tell you right now that the Nokia Lumia 925 is just a small update to the Lumia 920 similar to the Lumia 928. The only real significant update is the material of the body and a 6th glass element to the lens in the camera assembly to improve sharpness of the pictures (finally!).
The Nokia Lumia 925 has basically the same internal specifications as the Nokia Lumia 920 and 928: It has the same Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Dual Core SoC, 1GB of RAM 16GB of internal memory (32GB version is exclusive to Vodafone), only two HAAC mics like the 920 (the 928 has three of them), the same 4.5 AMOLED WXGA screen as on the 928 etc. Here are the full specs:
The time has come for Verizon to have its own variant of the Nokia Lumia 920 and May 16th is the date. The Nokia Lumia 928 is everything you can expect from a 920 but in a much lighter redesigned package (162g vs 185g). We all have different tastes but I have to say that the Lumia 928 looks quite a bit better than the 920 to me.
In addition to the Xenon Flash the 928 also surprisingly features an AMOLED screen instead of the IPS LCD found on the 920. I say “surprisingly” because one has to wonder why Nokia invested so much in the PureMotion HD+ tech if the plan was to only use it in one product and move to an AMOLED panel which totally negates the use of said tech (OLED’s have 0ms of response time..). The AMOLED screen should also fix my main gripe with the Lumia 920: crappy viewing angles because of the huge air gap between the glass and the LCD panel.
Last but not least; the Nokia Lumia 928 now feature three HAAC microphones (instead of 2 in the Lumia 920) and a new more powerful speaker. Unfortunately the device still records in mono unlike the Nokia 808 (or most of HTC’s latest handsets).
Everything else is identical to the Lumia 920 (same camera, same SoC but with WCDMA radio, same amount of RAM, Storage etc.). The most important change is IMO the AMOLED screen which should come in handy with the new lock screen that Nokia is going to implement in the GDR2 Windows Phone 8. I’m personally eager to see the sub-pixel arrangement which is hopefully RGB (wishful thinking) but most probably a form of Pen-tile close to the one found in the Samsung Galaxy Note II (and not the Galaxy S4 knowing that Samsung keeps exclusivity of its latest panel technology for 12 months).
Nokia is having a press event next Tuesday May 14th to unveiled “what’s next” in the Lumia story. It has now been all but confirmed that the Finnish company is going to announce what looks like a new flagship Lumia product thanks to Vodafone UK who just posted on its blog the following:
There’s something big, bold and beautiful coming just around the corner. Nokia has invited the tech press to a gathering in London on May 14th to ‘see what’s next’ from Lumia, acting as the stage for the unveiling of a brand new Lumia product. The Vodafone team will be there in attendance, which can only mean one thing… Yep, that’s right: we’re proud to be able to say that (even though our lips are firmly sealed ahead of the launch) Vodafone UK will be stocking the next chapter in the Lumia story.
Now unless Nokia decides to surprise us all and announce a Lumia branded Windows 8 / RT tablet there’s a relatively big chance that the product in question is going to be a smartphone. Most probably the recently leaked Nokia Catwalk aluminum device which frankly doesn’t really look that nice in the early pictures we saw. My main beef though, is that I’m really questioning if Nokia should release a new flagship Windows Phone 8 handset this soon when there’s frankly no real need to do so especially if the device packs nearly the same hardware specifications as the Nokia Lumia 920 or even the soon to be released Nokia Lumia 928.
Nokia’s Verizon bound Lumia 928 has just popped up on the company’s website at the following url http://www.nokia.com/lumia928 . The same add also appears in the latest issue of Vanity Fair as seen in the picture below. The main difference being that the Verizon logo doesn’t show up in the web adverts which could be a hint that the Nokia Lumia 928 may be available carrier free in other regions of the word.
As you have probably already heard Nokia is apparently working on a new Windows phone handset featuring an aluminum body set to be released later this year. The Nokia Catwalk device (this is what it is being called right now) just showed up in 2 pictures originating from China. As you can see the handset has been slapped with the ugly stick and looks like a step back in terms of overall design compared to Nokia current range of Lumia handsets. Let’s hope that this is simply an early prototype and not the final design. Don’t you love the ugly back cover apparently made of plastic and the oddly placed micro-usb port on the top of the device?
Anyway, check out another shot of it after the break:
Verizon’s variant of the Nokia Lumia 920 which has yet to be announced has just showed up earlier today in the form of PR image. The Nokia Lumia 928 seems to sport a polycarbonate body similar to the 920 and not an aluminum one like some of the rumors where claiming. The back features the same 8.7Mp PureView camera but this time coupled with a single LED flash for the Auto-Focus Assist and a Xenon Flash right next to it.
Nokia has just released the first beta of Place Tag for its Windows Phone 8 Lumia phones. So what is Place Tag? It is a camera Lens app that allows you to take pictures with POIs integrated in them. Think of City Lens but with ability to snap a shot.
Nokia Place Tag takes more than a photo. It reveals info about the places within your photo, such as museums and famous buildings, which you can then share as a digital postcard with your friends.
Wish you were here?
You can also use Place Tag to get interesting background info about the places tagged in the photo. And if you need directions, that’s also easily available too.
I personally don’t find the whole thing really that useful especially as a separate application. Adding a camera feature to City Lens would have been more logical IMO… You can download Place Tag by scanning the QR code below.
Those of you following me on Twitter must be aware that a new Nokia Lumia 920 firmware 1232.5957.1308.0004 popped up on Nokia’s server last night. I quickly grabbed it and flashed my handset late last night so I didn’t have much time to take a deep dive in it to see if there was anything new in there.
My first target today was to check out the camera to see if Nokia made any improvements in this sector. I personally can’t see much difference here besides better noise-reduction and sharpening in some select cases (the camera is already awesome but the algorithms can still some tweaks).
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: