It happened again — a handset sales injunction resulting from a patent infringement ruling has been overturned. This time the drama played out in the UK, where Nokia’s attack on HTC led to the sales injunction of the HTC One mini handset. And like clockwork, the sales ban was stayed by the Court of Appeals, allowing HTC to continue One mini sales. Such as they are. We have seen the same minuet danced across various continents, perhaps most visibly in the U.S. market, where Samsung and Apple are locked in an eternal and pointless battle. Samsung is trying to get ITC to slap sales injunctions on various iPhone models and Apple is doing the same to Samsung’s Galaxy range. More →
Earlier this week we brought you the harrowing tale of a man who tried to get his burnt Galaxy S4 replaced but was told by Samsung that he needed to keep quiet about it before they’d send him a new device. wp-Hub points out that Nokia has now graciously/opportunistically offered to fill the hole left by the man’s scorched Galaxy S4 smartphone by offering him a free Lumia device with no strings attached, which is probably the strategy that Samsung should have used instead of sending him a letter asking him to take down his YouTube video of the burnt Galaxy S4. Nokia says it wants to send the man a Lumia so he can “experience how customer service should really work.”
As was reaffirmed in a report on Tuesday night, Nokia has been prepping a low-end Android phone that is close to being ready for commercial release. The handset, code-named Normandy, is an entry-level device resembling some of the recent Asha budget phones that were successful enough to halt Nokia’s feature phone unit volume and average sales price erosion in the autumn quarter. More →
Nokia may have a couple of new Lumia devices in testing, if an Indian logistics website is to be believed, including an 8.3-inch Lumia tablet and a 4.5-inch dual SIM smartphone. The two devices have been seen in shipping manifests on website Zauba, and while the site doesn’t list them specifically as Nokia products, the two unknown devices have model numbers similar to what’s currently available from Nokia. More →
There never was any real doubt about European Union officials signing off on Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia’s handset unit. But suddenly, the European Commission’s Vice President in charge of competition policy has issued a surprisingly harsh warning about the transaction. It seems that it is beginning to dawn on the EC that the sale of its phone division frees Nokia to pursue its patent claims more aggressively than ever. Since Nokia no longer needs to make peace with other handset vendors to create cross-licensing agreements, it could in theory unleash its patent lawyers to harry a host of major and minor handset vendors. More →
Things just get worse and worse for HTC. Bloomberg reports that London Judge Richard Arnold has issued a sales ban against the HTC One mini smartphone in the United Kingdom for infringing upon Nokia-owned patents. Even more ominously, Arnold ruled that a similar sales ban could soon take effect for the flagship HTC One smartphone, although he’s holding off on issuing an injunction so that HTC has time to appeal a ruling that will deal it “considerable” harm. Getting its top-selling phones banned in major markets is just about the last thing that HTC needs right now since it’s already dealing with quarterly losses of $100 million and employees who have allegedly been stealing its trade secrets and selling them to a municipal government in China.
The most important smartphone that most vendors release every year is usually their high-end flagship model such as the iPhone 5s or the Galaxy S4. In Nokia’s case, however, its most important device released this year was the Lumia 520, a low-cost smartphone that has helped both it and Windows Phone make some serious inroads in emerging markets. Nokia announced on Wednesday that it will launch its new Lumia 525 smartphone starting in Singapore on December 14th before expanding it out in launches throughout Africa, Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. The Lumia 525 features a 4-inch display with a resolution of 800 x 480 pixels, a dual-core 1GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 processor, a 5-megapixel camera, a 1430 mAh battery, 1GB of RAM, 8GB of storage, and Windows Phone 8. The Lumia 525 will sell for around $200 off-contract.
Every third commercial that airs on TV right now is for holiday deals on tablets, which are expected to be huge sellers this holiday season. But what about smartphones? Global smartphone shipments still outnumber tablets by more than five to one and smartphone penetration in America is at an all-time high. After this holiday season, it’s likely to be even higher. There are sales on smartphones at every carrier and big box retailer across the country right now, not to mention discounts that are often even deeper online. But price is only one part of the equation. More →
In addition to its anti-Google Scroogled campaign, Microsoft has an anti-iPad ad propaganda in place as well, with a couple of new ads highlighting the benefits of using a Surface 2 tablet instead of an Apple tablet. In similar fashion, Nokia has released its own TV ad in which it mocks Apple’s iPad Air while comparing it to its Lumia 2520 Windows 8 tablet. More →
Nokia is turning over its handset business to Microsoft, but that doesn’t necessarily mean the company is giving up on building new devices all together. According to The Economist, Nokia will now shift its focus to its three other business arms: Nokia Solutions and Networks (NSN), HERE Navigation Apps, and Advanced Technologies. NSN is by far the largest of Nokia’s secondary businesses, and “accounts for about 90% of the new Nokia’s revenue.” NSN CEO Rajeev Suri sees only “flat to modest growth” for the future of the networks industry, and has subsequently made mobile broadband the linchpin of his group. More →
It looks like Apple isn’t the only vendor suffering from a supply shortage this holiday season. According to WPCentral, the inventory of the AT&T Nokia Lumia 1520 is much smaller than expected, and many customers who had previously been assured that their orders would arrive on Friday are now receiving emails that say the Lumia 1520 is now experiencing shipping delays. WPCentral called several AT&T and Microsoft Stores to gauge whether this problem was more widespread than its readers who first reported the delays, and found many locations had only acquired a few 1520s for launch. More →
Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia’s handset business is nearly settled, but an international deal this large requires approval from several groups. Reuters reports that “Microsoft is set to secure unconditional EU regulatory approval” for the deal. Consent from the European Union would follow that of Russia, India, Turkey and Israel, as well as Nokia’s biggest shareholders. The European Commission, which serves as the competition watchdog in Europe, is set to make its decision regarding the legality of the deal by December 4th, although one of the sources said that the Commission “is expected to clear the deal without conditions.” This would put Microsoft one step closer to taking control of Nokia’s phone business.
It’s been a rough few years for Finnish phone fans who have had to watch in agony as the once-mighty Nokia lost its dominant market share before selling off its handset division to American tech behemoth Microsoft. And now Finland’s YLE News reports that Nokia “has vacated its long-time headquarters in Keilaniemi Espoo” and that Microsoft has moved in, a symbolic transfer of power that shows the diminished status of the company that was once Finland’s corporate crown jewel. The good news for forlorn Finns is that even if their days as a handset manufacturing power are over, they are positively ruling the mobile app market with mobile gaming powerhouses such as Rovio and Supercell.