And the Lumia 710 shall lead them. T-Mobile and Nokia today announced the first Nokia Windows Phone in the U.S.: not the flashy Lumia 800, but its lower-cost sibling, the Lumia 710. I got some time with it and spoke to Nokia and T-Mobile execs about the companies' strategy.
First, the phone: the Lumia 710 is a medium-sized, slab-style cell phone with cropped corners and a curved back. It isn't really a rectangle, but it also isn't as radically shaped as the Lumia 800. Below the 3.7-inch, 800-by-480 LCD screen there's a large physical button, and there's a 5-megapixel camera that records 720p video on the soft-touch back. The phone comes in black and white.
Nokia used pretty classy materials for a $49-with-contract phone, although the 710 doesn't measure up to the Lumia 800's polycarbonate body. The bright, sharp screen is Corning Gorilla Glass, and the phone feels solidly built. Turned off, the black model has the usual problem where it will blend in with a line of other black slab phones, though.
The Lumia 710 runs Microsoft's Windows Phone Mango OS with a few exclusive additions. Nokia's Drive GPS software offers free driving directions, both on and offline, in 2D and 3D. App Highlights helps point out useful apps among the 40,000-plus in Microsoft's store, and T-Mobile TV offers several dozen streaming TV channels.
"Lumia is the first real Windows Phone," Nokia CEO Stephen Elop said. "We are signaling our intent right now to be today's leaders in smartphone design and craftmanship, no question about it."
And while the 800 may not make it to the U.S., "We will be introducing a portfolio of products into the United States in early 2012," Elop said.
Those U.S. phones may include "LTE and CDMA products" as well as "WCDMA and HSPA" phones, Elop said. That means every U.S. carrier is on the table, including Verizon and Sprint. Nokia hasn't made a phone compatible with either of those carriers' networks since 2005.
I was just wondering what Google was going to do to prevent getting shut out of the mobile phone business. It was as if Google was down 1-0 in the bottom of the ninth. With two outs, Google stepped up to the plate and hits a walk-off home run, with its purchase of Motorola Mobility.
This scenario is fascinating for a number of reasons. First of all, somewhere along the line, both Apple and Microsoft took a terrible dislike to this Android nonsense. First, Microsoft cozies up to Nokia to subvert Android (to no avail). Then Microsoft, Apple, and others pulled a trick play to get the Nortel patent assets in an effort to develop a patent portfolio to screw Google.
So Google knows it’s toast if it doesn't do anything. But what would it do? Did anyone call this one? Certainly, not me.
Let's face it, when it comes to mobile phone patents, Motorola easily has as many or more than Nortel, which is more into fiber and other comm patents. Google is now one up on the rest of these folks.
Are almost 50 percent of the world's smartphones running Google's Android? According to Monday data from Canalys, Android ended the second quarter with 48 percent of the market, with Asia Pacific leading the charge.
Globally, the smartphone market is up 73 percent from last year, with 107.7 million devices shipped in the last quarter. Of the 56 countries tracked by Canalys, Android topped 35 of them, with 51.9 million shipments overall.
Why the boost? Canalys pointed to strong Android support from major handset makers like Samsung, HTC, LG, Motorola, Sony Ericsson, ZTE, and Huawei. Android holds 85 percent of the market in South Korea and 71 percent in Taiwan alone.
Apple came in second place with 20.3 million iPhones sold and 19 percent of the market, which was enough to overtake Nokia's Symbian platform and make Apple the world's top smartphone vendor.
Nokia's Windows Phones will start coming out at a relatively rapid clip after the first one appears later this year, Nokia's executive vice president of smart devices, Jo Harlow said today.
"We should be launching new devices in a rhythm that might be every couple of months, every three months, something like that," she said.
The first Windows Phones came out in October, and we haven't seen many devices since then. According to recent sales figures from Gartner, the phones haven't sold very well, although our Reader's Choice survey shows that the relatively few people who own Windows Phone devices love them.
The slow pace of Windows Phone hardware may be due to Windows Phone 7 being a "secondary platform" for manufacturers like HTC and Samsung, Harlow said. But as Windows will be Nokia's primary platform, Nokia will focus more heavily on Windows Phones, she said.
"We're going to keep coming with new devices in order to have something to talk about," she said.
"Apple denies that, based on their common meaning, the words 'app store' together denote a store for apps," Apple said in a Thursday filing with a California district court.
Apple has been fighting several tech giants on this point lately. In March, Apple sued Amazon over its Amazon Appstore, arguing that Apple has the exclusive rights to the phrase because of its iTunes App Store. Apple has targeted Microsoft on similar grounds.
Last month, Amazon responded to the suit, arguing that the term "app store" is generic and that Apple should not be allowed to use it exclusively. Amazon cited the American Dialect Society, which recently voted "app" as the Word of the Year for 2010, noting "that although the word 'has been around for ages,' it 'really exploded in the last 12 months,' with the arrival of 'app stores' for a wide spectrum of operating systems for phones and computers.' Indeed the words 'app store' are commonly used among many businesses in the app store market," Amazon argued.
Apple is not buying it, at least not publicly. "Apple denies that the words 'app store' are commonly used among many businesses to describe mobile software download services and further denies that the term 'app store market' is used to describe the market for mobile software download services," the company reiterated in response to Amazon's filing.
On Friday, Nokia and Microsoft held a press conference to announce a new partnership. It's well known that while Nokia is still the top handset maker worldwide, their main business is at the low and medium end. Their high-end smartphones have had a difficult road lately, especially in the US. Both Android and the iPhone are eating their lunch. After following a failing strategy with Symbian and MeeGo, now Nokia has decided to partner with Microsoft for their upcoming phones. In the announcement, they revealed that this is a broad strategic initiative to make Windows Phone 7 the main smartphone platform for Nokia. They also said a new leadership team would be leading this at the company. It's clear that both companies will benefit from this partnership, but it remains to be seen if it will be enough to compete with the two current market leaders.
The Facebook iPhone and Android apps have been highly developed and kept up to date with the latest features that the social networking site offers. However, most people around the world are not using smartphones. That's why Facebook launched a new app designed for feature phones, supporting more than 2,500 devices from LG, Nokia, Sony Ericsson, and more. The new app provides a better experience than using the mobile site, while still being viable for a lower powered device. Facebook worked with 14 carriers to offer free data usage for this app, with more coming. There's no doubt that this will bring more people to the site, especially from developing countries.
Read More | Facebook blog
The Deal of the Day today offers you the lowest price we've seen on the Nokia N8 smartphone. You get the unlocked N8 GSM device (which has GPS and a 12 megapixel camera) for $100 less than retail, saving you 18% off the total price using the Dell promo code:
Don’t forget, if you’re looking for other deals, be sure to check out our Newegg Promo Code thread.
The N8 has seen the largest amount of pre-orders in Nokia‘s history, and those customers who pre-ordered the Nokia N8 smartphone will soon be getting their Symbian^3 OS upgrade.
“To appeal to today’s high-end buyers, smartphones have to be enjoyable, useful and beautiful. Ease of use, excellent multimedia performance and elegant design are all essential elements of the package,” says John Delaney, Research Director, IDC.
And without a doubt there are many features to love about the N8, such as the 12 megapixel camera with Carl Zeiss lens and an HDMI out. As well as WebTV apps allow the N8 to stream channels such as CNN to an entertainment center via HDMI to be watched on the big screen in glorious HD and Dolby Digital Plus Surround Sound.
The next few weeks will see the N8 arriving into the hands of anxious customers around the world.
Read More | Nokia
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