Microsoft on Tuesday announced on its Windows Phone Blog two changes regarding its Windows Phone Marketplace that will “help pave the way for new store features and new apps in the months ahead.” The Redmond-based company will be removing the option to shop for Windows Phone apps from the Zune Desktop software and will now require handsets to be running Windows Phone 7.5 to buy and download new apps, or update existing ones. The Zune Music Marketplace will remain open, and the software will be used to back up music and photos, and to install updates on the Zune HD. More →
Trend Micro on Wednesday named Research In Motion’s BlackBerry 7 OS as the most secure mobile operating system in a new report titled “Enterprise Readiness of Consumer Mobile Platforms.” The security firm compared four of the top mobile operating systems — Android 2.3, iOS 5, Windows Phone 7.5 and BlackBerry 7 — and found the Waterloo-based company’s platform best met the demands of enterprise users. BlackBerry 7 scored a 2.89 rating, which was based on a number of factors including built-in security, application security, authentication, device wipe, device firewall and virtualization. RIM was followed by Apple’s iOS 5 with a 1.7 rating, Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5 with a 1.61 rating and Google’s Android 2.3 operating system with a 1.37 rating. Researchers from Trend Micro, Altimeter Group and Bloor Research praised the Blackberry 7 operating system for its corporate grade security and manageability, while the iPhone’s lack of removable storage and Windows Phone 7.5’s for overall performance were applauded. Google’s Android platform received negative comments, however, with researchers claiming the platform’s fragmentation has proven to be a barrier for enterprises. More →
Nokia launched a viral advertising campaign this past weekend to support the launch of its upcoming Lumia 900 smartphone. A website called Smartphone Beta Test targets Apple’s iPhone through a series of videos that remind users of “antennagate,” the device’s fragile design and the trouble of using the handset in direct sunlight. The website features Saturday Night Live alumnus Chris Parnell impatiently waiting for a countdown to expire, which is scheduled to run out on April 6th. While there is no mention of Nokia or the Lumia 900, WPCentral discovered a single Java script link-back to Nokia.com in the website’s source code, more or less confirming the company’s involvement. The Nokia Lumia 900 is scheduled to launch on April 8th on AT&T’s 4G LTE network for $99.99, though new subscribers can pre-order the sleek smartphone for free. The Smartphone Beta Test videos can be found after the break. More →
The Nokia Lumia 900 is now available for pre-order. The handset features a 4.3-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, a 1.4GHz single-core processor, 4G LTE, an 8-megapixel rear camera with Carl Zeiss optics and the Windows Phone 7.5 operating system. When the Lumia 900 launches on April 8th for $99.99, it will be one of the most affordable flagship devices AT&T has ever offered. To make this sleek smartphone even harder to resist for current AT&T customers, Walmart is already offering the device for half off — $49.99 with a new two-year agreement. For new customers, order through AT&T’s website and you’ll get your new Lumia 900 for free. More →
Nokia on Wednesday unveiled its first Windows Phone for the Chinese market, the Lumia 800C. The handset is slated to launch in April exclusively on China Telecom. “We’re excited to introduce our first Lumia smartphone, the Nokia 800C, to this important market with our exclusive launch partner, China Telecom. Working closely together, we’ve created a compelling, locally relevant experience on the Nokia 800C especially tailored for people in China,” Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said. The Lumia 800c features a 3.7-inch AMOLED ClearBlack curved display, with a 1.4 GHz single-core processor, hardware acceleration and a separate processor for graphics. The device is also equipped with an 8-megapixel Carl Zeiss camera and 16GB of internal storage, and it will be available in cyan or black. The Lumia 800C will be offered without a contract for 3599 Chinese yuan, equal to roughly $570. Nokia’s press release can be found after the break. More →
AT&T on Monday announced that Nokia’s latest flagship smartphone, the Lumia 900 Windows Phone, will launch on April 8th for just $99.99 on contract. The handset will be one of the most affordable flagship devices AT&T has ever launched thanks to what is reportedly a huge investment from Nokia and Microsoft, and the device will launch alongside a massive marketing and advertising campaign as well. BGR exclusively reported in January that the Lumia 900 would launch in March at just $99.99 on contract, but we said at the time that issues discovered during testing were preventing the handset from gaining technical acceptance. The phone’s launch target was later pushed back to late April before the release date finally settled on April 8th. We took a hands on look at the Lumia 900 when it was unveiled during the annual Consumer Electronics Show, and we called it a gorgeous smartphone that we couldn’t wait to see hit store shelves. The handset features a 4.3-inch ClearBlack AMOLED display, a 1.4GHz processor, 4G LTE and the Windows Phone 7.5 operating system. AT&T’s full press release follows below. More →
Microsoft on Wednesday began sending out invitations to the press for the company’s Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh launch event in China. According to Liveside, the event will be held in Beijing on March 21st. While the invitation doesn’t mention any specific handsets, HTC recently launched the Titan — becoming the first manufacturer to release a Window Phone device in China. Nokia CEO and president Stephen Elop will also reportedly host a separate event on March 28th. The company is expected to launch three Lumia devices, most likely running the refreshed Windows Phone 7.5 operating system. As of the fourth quarter of 2011, Nokia controls 16.1% of the Chinese mobile market, second only to Samsung. More →
Nokia proved it was back in the smartphone game when it launched the Lumia 800 last year. But can its Lumia 710 gain the attention of U.S. consumers? Many would argue that Nokia should have decided to launch the Lumia 800 to make a bigger splash in a market that has long forgotten the Finnish smartphone maker. But the Lumia 710 is affordable — it only costs $50 with a new two-year contract — and it’s also powerful. It’s not as feature-rich as the Lumia 800, but can it still compete with other smartphones in its price range? My full review follows after the break.
Microsoft has reportedly pushed the launch of its Windows Phone operating system in China to the first half of 2012. Microsoft’s China communications director Yang Tanyang had originally said the Redmond-based company’s vendor partners planned to deploy handsets in the country before the end of the year, IDG News explained Monday. The most recent reports suggested Microsoft gave Chinese retailer Suning an exclusive offer to sell Windows Phone and Windows 8 devices in more than 700 of its retail stores. China’s Windows Phone launch will be key for Microsoft’s goals to boost its mobile operating system’s global market share. IDC and Gartner both predict Windows Phone will have the second largest operating system share in the world by 2015. More →
Nokia once had a big stake in the U.S. smartphone market. I remember being jealous in high school that I couldn’t tell anyone my Snake high score because I carried a Motorola phone. I seemed to be the only kid without a Nokia device so, when I went to college, I picked up the Nokia 6010. I was drawn to the color screen and interchangeable face plates, and I carried it through all four years of college, preferring its durability to the Motorola RAZR that all of my friends had bought. The iPhone was announced in 2007 and, seemingly almost overnight, Nokia was completely gone from the hands of U.S. wireless subscribers. Sure, there were a few flip phones from Verizon Wireless over the years and a handful of Symbian devices from AT&T and T-Mobile, but none of those phones had the power to bring Nokia back into the spotlight. The Lumia 800 does. It isn’t just a phone, it symbolizes Nokia’s efforts to re-enter the global wireless market with a unique point of view and a fresh portfolio. It’s not available here in the U.S. yet, but a variant almost certainly will be early next year. Does the Lumia 800 push boundaries? Is it the best Windows Phone out there? Are the hardware and software married so perfectly that the competition might be looking on with envy? My full review follows below.
AT&T may announce a Nokia Windows Phone during the 2012 Consumer Electronics Show, WinRumors said on Thursday. Here is where it gets more interesting, though: The Verge said Nokia is supposedly in discussions with AT&T to make a big splash in the U.S. by launching a Lumia-branded Windows Phone with 4G LTE connectivity. If Nokia really wants to turn heads, we expect that it will launch either a tweaked version of its higher-end Lumia 800 device, instead of the watered-down Lumia 710, or a new flagship phone with entirely new hardware. It is possible that Verizon Wireless could get into bed with Nokia for an LTE device as well, but Verizon hasn’t appeared to be a big Windows Phone partner so far. The carrier has launched a single device, the HTC Trophy, while AT&T has launched more than a half-dozen. Windows Phone Tango, the release between Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) and the more significant Apollo update, is also expected to launch in early 2012 with support for LTE, WinRumors said. More →
Tango, the popular cross-platform video calling application for PC, Android and iPhone, launched on Wednesday as the first video-chat application for Windows Phone 7.5 devices. You will need a front-facing camera to take advantage of the face-to-face chat feature, which means you’ll also need to own one of the newer Windows Phone 7.5 devices such as the Samsung Focus S, Samsung Focus Flash or HTC Titan. We installed the application this morning and gave it a quick test over a 3G network. The video quality was poor, but we were alerted that this was because of a weak 3G signal. Still, we loved the user interface on Windows Phone 7.5 and found it much cleaner than the Tango application for Android. In addition, it automatically filters out your address book to show only contacts that have Tango installed, which was a nice touch. The application is free and is available in the Windows Phone Marketplace now. A video of the application follows after the break. More →
During an event in New York City on Monday, Microsoft announced that the popular music service Spotify will launch for Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) devices sometime during the day. Spotify allows users to stream free ad-supported music from a computer, but access to the service from mobile devices requires a $9.99 monthly subscription option. The monthly fee also gets rid of ads and allows users to store playlists on a mobile device for offline playback. Spotify is already available on Android and iOS, and the service has been very successful in the U.S. since launching this past July.