Posts Tagged ‘Nokia’

Microsoft is scheduled to conclude its acquisition of Nokia’s mobile handset unit at the end of this week, the company said.

“Today we are excited to share that we have completed the steps necessary to finalise Microsoft’s acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services business,” announced Microsoft’s Brad Smith, general counsel and executive vice president of the software giant’s Legal and Corporate Affairs department in a 21 April statement. Microsoft first announced that it was acquiring Nokia’s smartphone manufacturing operations on 2 September, 2013.

Windows Phone competition

“The transaction will be completed this Friday, 25 April, when we’ll officially welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business as part of the Microsoft family,” added Smith.

Nokia is Microsoft’s premier Windows Phone producer. In a bid to catch up to Apple and Google in the hotly contested smartphone market, the companies formed an alliance in 2011. As part of the partnership, Nokia replaced the Symbian smartphone operating system with Microsoft’s mobile Windows Phone OS.

Addressing the massive deal, funded by Microsoft’s overseas holdings, then-chief executive Steve Ballmer described the transaction in an email to staffers as “a smart acquisition for Microsoft, and a good deal for both companies”.

The acquisition, originally expected to close during the first quarter of this year, hit some speed bumps. “As with any multinational agreement of this size, scale and complexity, our two companies have made adjustments to the original deal throughout the close preparation process,” revealed Smith. The alterations, he explained, entailed “numerous agreements to address items ranging from manufacturing to IT”.

Antitrust concerns

In December, China’s Ministry of Commerce subjected the deal to an antitrust investigation over concerns that Microsoft would hike patent fees for the country’s smartphone makers, namely Lenovo, Xiaomi and ZTE, once the tech titan took ownership of Nokia’s IP. China granted final approval earlier this month.

“The original deal had all employees in Nokia’s Chief Technology Office continuing with Nokia,” said Smith. The terms were changed “so the 21 employees in China working on mobile phones will join Microsoft and continue their work”.

Smith explained that the companies also ran into complications in South Korea. Originally, Microsoft was to acquire Nokia’s manufacturing plant in that country. “The agreement was adjusted and Microsoft will not acquire the facility,” said Smith.

Finally, Microsoft is taking over Nokia.com and related social media accounts “for the benefit of both companies and our customers for up to a year”, said Smith.

Meanwhile, Microsoft is reportedly mulling a name change once the acquisition is completed. Nokia Power User posted a leaked email to Nokia’s business suppliers that indicated that the brand will be renamed Microsoft Mobile.

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Microsoft Corp is conceiving the idea to allow Android apps on Windows given that the Android has become such a success in a short span of time. The company is split in taking the step, though. One segment of Microsoft anticipates that the company should allow Android apps to run inside its platforms to fill the app deficit. The other segment thinks that it will not be a wise choice for the company and will lead to the end of Windows.

As per reports from The Verge, running Android apps on Windows means that Microsoft will allow Android apps on Windows and Windows Phone platforms. The negotiations are still on over the topic and are said to be in their early stages at Microsoft Corp. The Windows maker’s new CEO Satya Nadella is likely to take a call over the matter soon.

If Microsoft heads with this idea, the company may use a virtualisation layer like Bluestacks’ solution to run Android applications on Windows and will provide the apps through its own customised store. Apps like Temple Run in Android version run on Windows 8 using BlueStacks.

No details are available as of now, since Microsoft is yet to make a choice. Microsoft is reportedly keeping a close eye on the performance of Nokia’s new Android smartphone that may be launched at the Mobile World Congress, this month. The performance of the new smartphone is likely to be a deciding factor for Microsoft to take this call.

The judging is finished and the scores are in, we now have the winners of this year’s Ubuntu App Showdown! Over the course of six weeks, and using a beta release of the new Ubuntu SDK, our community of app developers were able to put together a number of stunningly beautiful, useful, and often highly entertaining apps.

We had everything from games to productivity tools submitted to the competition, written in QML, C++ and HTML5. Some were ports of apps that already existed on other platforms, but the vast majority were original apps created specifically for the Ubuntu platform. Best of all, these apps are all available to download and install from the new Click store on Ubuntu phones and tablets, so if you have a Nexus device or one with a community image of Ubuntu, you can try these and many more for yourself. Now, on to the winners!

Karma Machine (Original Apps)

Machine is wonderful app for browsing Reddit, and what geek wouldn’t want a good Reddit app? Developed by Brian Robles, Karma Machine has nearly everything you could want in a Reddit app, and takes advantage of touch gestures to make it easy to upvote and downvote both articles and comments. It even supports user accounts so you can see your favorite subreddits easily. On top of it’s functionality, Karma Machine is also visually appealing, with a good mix of animations, overlays and overall use of colors and layouts. It is simply one of the best Reddit clients on any platform (having written my own Reddit client, that’s saying something!), and having it as an original Ubuntu app makes it a valuable addition to our ecosystem. With all that, it’s little wonder that Karma Machine was tied for the top spot on the judges list!

Saucy Bacon (Original Apps)

Something for the foodies among us, Saucy Bacon is a great way to find and manage recipes for your favorite dish. Backed by food2fork.com, this app lets you search for recipes from all over the web. You can save them for future reference, and mark your favorites for easy access over and over again. And since any serious cook is going to modify a recipe to their own tastes, Saucy Bacon even lets you edit recipes downloaded from somewhere else. You can of course add your own unique recipe to the database as well. It even lets you add photos to the recipe card directly from the camera, showing off some nice integration with the Ubuntu SDK’s sensor APIs and hardware capabilities. All of this mouth-watering goodness secured developer Giulio Collura’s Saucy Bacon app a tie for the #1 stop for original Ubuntu apps in our contest.

Snake (Ported Apps)

The game Snake has taken many forms on many platforms throughout the years. It’s combination of simple rules and every-increasing difficulty has made it a popular way to kill time for decades. Developer Brad Wells has taken this classic game from Nokia’s discontinued Meego/Harmattan mobile OS, which used a slightly older version of Qt for app development, and updated it to work on Ubuntu using the Ubuntu SDK components. Meego had a large number of high quality apps written for it back in it’s day, and this game proves that Ubuntu for phones and tablets can give those apps a new lease on life.

Go and get them all!

The 2013 Ubuntu App Showdown was an opportunity for us to put the new Ubuntu SDK beta through some real-world testing, and kick off a new app ecosystem for Ubuntu. During the course of these six weeks we’ve received great feedback from our developer community, worked out a large number of bugs in the SDK, and added or plan to add many new features to our platform.

In addition to being some of the first users of the Ubuntu SDK, the app developers were also among the first to use the new Click packaging format and tools as well as the new app upload process that we’ve been working on to reduce review times and ease the process of publishing apps. The fact that all of the submitted apps have already been published in the new app store is a huge testament to the success of that work, and to the engineers involved in designing and delivering it.Once again congratulations to Brian Robles, Giulio Collura and Brad Wells, and a big thank you to everybody who participated or helped those who participated, and all of the engineers who have worked on building the Ubuntu SDK, Click tools and app store. And if you have a supported device, you should try out the latest Ubuntu images, and try these and the many other apps already available for it. And if you’re an app developer, or want to become an app developer, now is your time to get started with the Ubuntu SDK!

Finnish manufacturer Nokia today entered two new segments, unveiling its first tablet and phablets. The new products, showcased at an event in Abu Dhabi, will help the company make its presence felt in the two booming markets.

Nokia Lumia 2520 is a Windows RT-based tablet with a 10-inch 1080p HD display with Gorilla Glass 2 protection. It has a 6.7MP rear camera with Zeiss lens and 2MP front unit. It runs on the 2.2GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor and has 2GB RAM and 32GB internal storage; it also supports microSD cards up to 32GB.

Other key features of the device include 4G LTE connectivity, 8,000mAh battery and free SkyDrive storage. It comes preloaded with free appsNokia’s Storyteller and Video Director as well Microsoft Office. The tablet will come in red, white, cyan and black colours. Similar to Microsoft Surface, Lumia 2520 pairs with a Nokia Power Keyboard. The keyboard with a touchpad also contains an extra battery for up to five hours extra use, plus two USB ports.

The Windows RT 8.1 device priced at $499 will ship later this year. The tablet will first launch in the US, UK, and Finland, followed by other countries shortly after.

Nokia Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1320 are its first phablets, with screens measuring 6-inch. Both devices run on Microsoft Windows Phone 8 operating system with the recently unveiled GDR3 update. Lumia 1520 has been priced at $749, while Lumia 1320 will cost $339, excluding taxes.

The new Lumia 1520 has a Full HD (1920x1080p resolution) display and is powered by a 2.2GHz quad-core Snapdragon 800 chipset. It sports a 20MP PureView camera with OIS and has 2GB RAM, 32GB expandable storage, 3,400mAh battery and NFC. It will compete against the likes of Samsung Galaxy Note 3, HTC One Max and Sony Xperia Z Ultra. Apple is also said to be testing a handset with 6- inch display.

Lumia 1320, on the other hand, is an affordable phablet with a 720p display. It runs on a dual-core Krait processor unlike Lumia 1520’s quad-core chip and has 1GB RAM, 8GB internal storage and supports microSD cards up to 64GB. The 4G LTE-enabled phablet has a 5MP rear camera and a VGA front-facing unit.

Powered by a 3,400mAh battery, this device will be available in orange, yellow, black and white colours. Nokia Lumia 1320 will launch early next year in China and Vietnam, followed by more Asian and European countries. It will take on rival productsSamsung Galaxy Mega 5.8 and Huawei Ascend Mate.

Nokia also announced that popular imaging app Instagram is coming to Windows Phone platform in coming weeks.

The event also saw the new range of Asha smart feature phones being introduced, namely Asha 500, Asha 502 and Asha 503.

Nokia Asha 500 comes both in single and dual-sim variants and sports a 2.8-inch screen. It has a 2MP rear camera and is powered by a 1,200mAh battery. The phone will ship for $69 in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and Middle East.

Nokia Asha 502 is a dual-sim handset with a 3-inch screen and 5MP rear camera with LED flash. Powered by a 1,010mAh battery, this device will ship for $89 in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe and Middle East.

Both these Asha phones have Wi-Fi and 2G connectivity and can support up to 32GB microSD card.

The third entrant to the range Asha 503 has both single and dual-sim variants. It sports a 3-inch display with Corning Gorilla Glass 2 and a 5MP camera with LED flash. It is the only Asha handset to have 3G connectivity, along with 2G and Wi-Fi. Other features include support for microSD cards up to 32GB and 1,200mAh battery. The phone will ship for $99 in Africa, Asia-Pacific, Europe, Latin America and the Middle East.

All three devices will come in bright red, bright green, yellow, cyan, white and black colours. The company also announced that Asha 500, 501, 505 and 520 will get the popular messaging platform WhatsApp.After the Microsoft deal, which is due to close in the first quarter of next year, the new products will still carry the Nokia brand but become part of Microsoft’s drive to become a major player in global consumer devices.

LG launched its G2 smartphone in India today, bringing yet another powerful handset to the already burgeoning Indian smartphone market. This device is a powerful competitor to the Samsung Galaxy S4, Sony Xperia Z1, HTC One and Nokia Lumia 925.

It has all the makings of a champion, from a powerful chipset, gorgeous screen, unique software, and a great camera. No doubt, LG G2 has us intrigued, especially when it comes to design. The company has done away with hardware keys altogether, placing the power and volume keys at the back instead of left or right side as it happens in conventional design.

We were not sure if this new positioning for the keys will make smartphone usage easier, or if it will make it much too difficult to hold the phone, let alone operate it with one hand. We played with the device for some time at the launch event to see what the LG G2 is all about. Here is what we experienced ..

LG G2 looks much too similar to the Samsung Galaxy S4 despite a minor difference between screen size (5.2-inch for G2 vs 5-inch for S4). However, a closer look reveals that the new LG phone bears some differences compared to the now six-months-old S4, such as on-screen keys, no hardware buttons on the sides and overall a bigger device.

The screen of LG G2 is as good as it gets, with beautiful and vibrant colours and crisp text and videos. Around the screen are very thin bezels, helping the phone keep dimensions to a minimum.

Coming to the buttons on the back. Below the camera you will find here keys – Volume Up, Power/Lock and Volume Down, in that order. After using the phone for about 15 minutes straight, it stopped feeling outlandish as we could get a hang of the keys and using them to do common tasks. More on what these keys do below.

Overall, we like the design and look of the G2. The only grouse? Plastic does not feel fantastic, especially after having used the glass-bodied Optimus G earlier.

While you can press the power key on the back to turn on the phone, another option is to tap on the touchscreen twice quickly. This is same as the functionality we have seen in some of the newer Nokia and Samsung phones.

Inside, the software is similar to the Optimus UI we have seen in previous LG phones. However, this time it looks a little less childish, which is the only issue we had with the Android skin.

The phone seems extremely fast, a result of the combination of the light Optimus UI and powerful Snapdragon 800 chipset. All tasks we performed in quick succession went off without a hitch, showing exactly how powerful the chipset is.

We checked out some of the software features of LG G2. Many we had seen in previous phones (placing phone next to the ear to answer calls without pressing any keys in Samsung Galaxy S3 and supersensitive touchscreen in Nokia Lumia 920).

One feature that caught our eye was Slide Aside, where you can use a three-finger swipe from right to left to push a running app to the sidelines. This feature allows users to move or retrieve a maximum of three running apps from the sides. Though not as good as Samsung’s multi app view, it is still worth checking out.

Using G2 for a little more time gave us an idea of how to use its rear-positioned keys for doing more. While the volume and power/lock functions were quite expected, we also used it to access QuickMemo app and turn on the camera when the phone’s screen was turned off. However, you cannot take screenshots with the handset without using both your hands, something we can easily do with a single hand in other Android phones. During our short time with the G2, we found it to be a very capable smartphone that can stand neck-and-neck with any top-end smartphone in the market. Its unconventional design is quite good and does not hinder functionality, even though it does not add much value to the usage.

The Z1 handset with the QX100 lens attached weighs 349g (12.3oz)

Sony has confirmed plans to sell two stand-alone lenses that connect to smartphones by wi-fi, allowing them to take higher-quality photos.

The devices are compatible with Android and iOS handsets and mark the creation of a new product category.

The Japanese company announced the products alongside a new smartphone which features a 20.7 megapixel camera and a larger-than-normal image sensor.

The launches should help the firm challenge Nokia’s top-end handset.

The Finnish company – which is in the process of being taken over by Microsoft – unveiled the Lumia 1020 in July. Reviews have suggested that it has the best smartphone camera on the market, but were critical of its price,

Sony told the BBC it would target its Z1 handset at a wider audience than what it called the Lumia 1020’s “super-premium category”.

It confirmed details of the devices at the Ifa consumer tech show in Berlin – much of the information had already leaked via tech news sites.

One analyst suggested the lenses in particular would struggle to find buyers.

“The concept is interesting, but when you think about using it, will users want to carry them around?” asked Francisco Jeronimo, mobile devices research manager at tech consultancy IDC.

“The problem is that for those wanting top-quality photographs, the experience of having a DSLR [digital single lens reflex] offers a better experience than a phone with an add-on camera.

“Meanwhile having the lens attached to a phone makes it feel quite bulky compared to a compact camera or stand-alone handset.

“If the lenses were priced under £100, then I could see photography geeks buying it, or operators bundling it with the phone, but these lenses will be quite expensive.”

Sony itself acknowledged that it did not know how strong demand would be.

“Always we’re discussing: ‘How many pieces should we prepare,'” Yosuke Aoki, a digital imaging spokesman for the firm, told the BBC.

“We’re waiting for after the Ifa announcement to see what the feedback will be to the models.”

Making a statement

Sony is bundling movies and games with the Z1 to help it compete

The QX10 lens offers a 10x optical zoom and 18.2MP resolution which Sony says makes it ideal for taking shots of distant landmarks or close-ups of people. It will cost about £170,

The QX100 features a smaller 3.6x zoom but a bigger sensor with a resolution of 20.2MP. Its aperture goes as wide as f1.8 – allowing more light in – meaning it should be more adept at taking photos in low light or with a very shallow focus. It also offers manual focus as an option which is not possible on the other lens. It will cost about £380.

Once fitted with a battery and memory stick, the QX10 weighs 105g (3.7oz) and the QX100 179g (6.3oz).

Both devices:

  • include technology that compensates for shaky hands
  • activate a link-up to a phone or tablet if it has an NFC (near field communication) chip
  • can attach to different-sized handsets via an extendable clip, or – in the case of the Z1 – using a special case
  • can be operated while a short distance away from the smart device

Neither:

  • has a built-in screen.

Sony Mobile’s head of sales and marketing said they were intended to send a message to consumers, including those who would never buy them.

“It’s a statement as one piece of many things that are starting to come together under the umbrella of Sony,” said Dennis van Schie.

“The PlayStation 4 is coming out. In 4K [ultra-high resolution] TVs, we’re the leader – from the formats to the cameras to recording capabilities [that will appear] quite soon in mobile.

“Now we’re the first ones to dare to create a lens-type camera with a new kind of user interface. It contributes to what Sony is standing for.”

Sony posted a 3.5bn yen ($35m, £23m) profit in the April-to-June quarter, reversing a 24.6bn yen loss the previous year.

Stronger sales of smartphones helped achieve the turnaround.

However, IDC says the firm still only had a 4.1% share of global smartphone shipments over the three months, putting it behind Samsung, Apple, LG, Lenovo, Huawei and ZTE.

Additional value

Nokia has boasted that its Lumia 1020 with a 41MP sensor is the best smartphone camera on the market

Sony is hoping the new water-resistant Z1 handset will help it boost that figure.

It says the device features an exclusive sensor which is the same size as that found in its Cybershot cameras.

It also features new software including the ability to provide live video streams to Facebook, and Info-eye – an app that provides information about books, wine and landmarks among other objects the phone is pointed at.

The company is also taking advantage of its other assets to help the device stand out from the Android crowd. UK shoppers are promised five Sony movie downloads and a selection of free PlayStation mobile games.

“They’ve done quite a good job of differentiating the phone,” said Mr Jeronimo.

“That’s what operators want – to be able to provide additional value from what Sony offers.”That’s why they are looking at Sony as a better prospect for the future than other vendors like Blackberry and HTC.”