What a long, strange trip it’s been, and now it’s almost over. Nokia may not be done building and selling Symbian smartphones, but at least now it can wipe its hands of Symbian development as of October 2011. Nokia and Accenture on Wednesday announced that their deal to outsource Symbian software development and support is now finalized. About 2,800 Nokia employees will move to Accenture in October when the new arrangement takes effect. “Our collaboration with Accenture allows us to meet our ongoing commitment to support our Symbian smartphone customers and continue to leverage the talent that has the deepest experience on the platform,” said Nokia’s EVP of smartphones, Jo Harlow, in a statement. “As we move our primary smartphone platform to Windows Phone, we will look to explore potential opportunities to tap this talent pool as they develop and expand their knowledge and capabilities beyond Symbian.” Nokia’s full press release can be found after the break. More →
Microsoft is currently offering Windows Phone handsets from three major U.S. carriers for just a penny each. Through the company’s online Microsoft Store, users can now purchase either Verizon Wireless’ HTC Trophy, Sprint’s HTC Arrive or T-Mobile’s HTC HD7 for just $0.01 alongside a 2-year contract with a smartphone data plan. While the HD7 is the oldest of the bunch, it’s still a wonderfully capable supersized smartphone that we enjoyed very much when we reviewed it last November. The Trophy is Verizon’s first Windows Phone, featuring HD video capture and SRS WOW HD sound, and the HTC Arrive is easily our favorite Windows Phone to date. Microsoft’s penny offers are only good through July 2nd, 2011. More →
Bloomberg’s new cover story, titled “Stephen Elop’s Nokia Adventure,” takes an in depth look at Nokia, its CEO and its “epic fail.” Peppered with great moments, one in particular caught our attention: following the elimination of Symbian, Nokia was left with MeeGo as its smartphone platform of the future. Chief Development Officer Kai Oistämö had concerns about the platform, and after voicing them to Elop, the pair decided to reevaluate the company’s path. Elop mapped out several things on a whiteboard — products in development, projected launch dates, OS bugs and so on. After stepping back and realizing that the company might only launch three new MeeGo devices before 2014, Elop and Oistämö had the chat that would change Nokia forever. “It was truly an oh-s–t moment—and really, really painful to realize where we were,” Oistämö told Bloomberg. “MeeGo had been the collective hope of the company, and we’d come to the conclusion that the emperor had no clothes. It’s not a nice thing.” More →
Apple, a company many said had repeatedly delayed the development and launch of the iPhone for fear that it might cannibalize its iPod business, is now a “mobile devices company” with a smartphone that is undoubtedly its flagship device. Chief Executive Steve Jobs and Chief Operating Officer Tim Cook have both publicly acknowledged this major transition on several occasions, including on stage while unveiling the iPad and on earnings calls while speaking with analysts. Apple is growing at an unheard of pace and stockpiling mountains of cash, all thanks to its mobile business. Personal Computers, Apple’s core business for nearly 30 years, now play second fiddle to the company’s mobile devices in terms of both revenue and mind share. On the other side of the table, old rival Microsoft is doing all it can to regain its footing in the mobile space after letting its Windows Mobile platform grow stale and moldy. Windows Mobile’s replacement, Windows Phone, is still in its infancy but early reports have suggested adoption has been slow at best. So where does Microsoft go from here? More →
Bernstein Research analyst Pierre Ferragu didn’t say that Nokia should go back to making boots in his note to investors on Wednesday, but he came pretty close. Citing Nokia’s inability to adapt in a fast-changing market, Ferragu cut his rating on Nokia stock to under-perform and dropped his price target from $7.33 to $4. “In a fast changing market, Nokia is losing ground very rapidly,” the analyst writes. “The profit warning for the second quarter provided evidence that the next couple of years will prove very challenging, with the gross margin and market share trends of the last 4 quarters continuing, if not accelerating even more. The collaboration with Microsoft now appears to us unlikely to be successful, as Nokia’s brand is losing ground too fast and the window of opportunity for an alternative ecosystem is vanishing rapidly. Even modeling a scenario in which Nokia stabilizes next year leads us to believe that the stock will under-perform over the next twelve months.” Ferragu believes Nokia’s smartphone market share will be cut in half in the second quarter of 2011 compared to the same quarter a year earlier, dropping from 38% to just 19%, and he expects Nokia’s overall cell phone market share to slide from 35% to 30%.
When Nokia reintroduces itself to the world as a Windows Phone maker later this year, many anticipate that the company will instantly steal the limelight from other Microsoft partners. If HTC has anything to say about it, however, that won’t be the case. HTC looks primed to take a giant leap forward in the megapixel race with a 12-megapixel Windows Phone that can shoot RAW images. Industry insider Eldar Murtazin on Sunday posted an image and preliminary impressions of the unreleased Windows Phone being readied by HTC. The smartphone resembles the HTC Trophy just launched by Verizon Wireless, but the addition of a 12-megapixel camera supplies a point of differentiation that could have photogs drooling in anticipation. HTC has never been known to equip its smartphones with good image sensors and Murtazin says the quality of images taken with the upcoming 12-megapixel offering is just “not bad at all,” but he’s working with pre-release software so let’s hope HTC has some tweaks in store ahead of launch. More →
Microsoft’s senior director of the Windows Phone Marketplace, Todd Brix, has announced that Microsoft will launch a new web-based Windows Phone Marketplace for Mango phones. Brix explained that customers will be able to read reviews, view screen shots, and even promote applications on social networks. Purchases can be made with any credit card associated with your Windows Live ID, and you can choose to download the applications over-the-air to your phone. We’ve seen similar interfaces before: Google’s http://market.android.com website already allows Android users to install apps over the air, search for new apps, and more. The Windows Phone Marketplace web store is expected to launch in tandem with Mango, which Microsoft has confirmed will happen this fall. More →
We’ve just seen a test handset running Windows Phone OS codenamed Mango, and even though the update won’t be available until the Fall, it brings some much needed improvements and enhancements to Microsoft’s mobile platform. OS 7.1 will also be the OS that Nokia devices running Windows Phone will launch with. Looking forward to 4G support, threads, deep social integration, voice dictation, multitasking with app resume, and much more? Check out our hands on photos in our gallery.
We’re here live from Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7 event in New York City where the company is set to detail the next major OS upgrade to the Windows Phone platform. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer hinted we could see over 500 new features, let’s hope we get some big enhancements in addition to the practically confirmed multitasking, Twitter integration, remote email search stuff. Live coverage is after the break! More →
Windows Phone 7 junkie? Waiting for more information on the next OS update to Windows Phone? Maybe you’re just interested in up to 10 new devices being announced, as rumored? In any case, we’ll be at the Microsoft event tomorrow rockin’ live at 10AM ET. Check back a little before then for all of our live coverage, and in the meantime, try to think tropical fruit dreams.
Microsoft will reveal nine new Windows Phone handsets during its Windows Phone “Mango” press conference on Tuesday morning, according to WMPoweruser. Samsung is expected to have the lion’s share of devices with four new models, HTC and Acer are both expected to launch two, and Dell will supposedly reveal one. Reportedly, Samsung’s Windows Phones will bear some resemblance to its Galaxy S II device, and we’re hoping the phones are equipped with Samsung’s stunning Super AMOLED Plus displays, too. The new devices will hit the market in time for the holiday season according to the report, but no launch details are expected during the announcements. We’ll be reporting live from the press conference tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m., so stay tuned for more. More →
Speaking at the Japanese Microsoft Developers Forum, Microsoft’s CEO confirmed that the next Windows Phone update, codenamed Mango, will add “over 500 new features” to the mobile operating system. The Redmond based company has an event scheduled for Tuesday, May 24th in New York City, during which it will unveil the new update (again) and discuss its features in greater detail. Earlier this month we heard rumors that the update will deliver Bing Audio, Bing Vision, turn-by-turn navigation in Bing Maps, a new native podcast player, speech recognition, and more. We’ll be reporting live on the update tomorrow morning at 10:00 a.m. Eastern Time. Hit the jump for a quick video clip of Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer discussing Mango.
Nokia will launch 12 Windows Phone devices in 2012 — and a few of them will offer dual-core processors. Speaking to Forbes during STMicroelectronics’ analyst day, STMicroelectronics’ CEO Carlo Bozotti confirmed that his company still has “very close relations” with Nokia and that it will be “an important supplier” in Nokia’s future Windows Phone products. A few of Nokia’s phones will be powered by ST-Ericsson’s U8500 system-on-a-chip (SoC) package, which offers support ARM Cortex-A9 dual-core processors. Nokia is said to already have a Windows Phone in the works, and while the company has set a 2012 target date for its debut, Nokia’s CEO Stephen Elop has expressed interest in shipping it before the end of 2011. More →