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  • Microsoft tests its own smartphone
    Posted on November 5, 2012 by ewilkinson

    There's no telling how a Microsoft-made smartphone would affect the company's dealings with hardware partners

     


    Right on the tails of a major week for Microsoft's Windows Phone 8, the Wall Street Journal (WSJ) reported that Microsoft may be developing a smartphone of its own to go with its new OS.


    The November 2 article, which cites "officials at some of Microsoft's parts suppliers, who declined to be named," says the company is running tests in Asia on their own smartphone, a device measuring between 4 and 5 inches.


    However, the article's sources say the company is still undecided as to whether the device in question will ever go into mass production. And, when asked about the phone by the WSJ last week, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer declined to comment.


    Still, the possibility is intriguing. Should Microsoft come out with their own handset to accompany Windows Phone 8, it's anybody's guess how that would affect its partnership with hardware partners, like Samsung, HTC, and Nokia. After all, Apple certainly doesn't let competitors use its smartphone OS.


    And, if Microsoft really is planning to launch its own mobile device, it would be a complete 180 for them, after years of developing the software and leaving the design up to others.


    Even so, as Gizmodo points out, a Microsoft-made smartphone could be a thing of beauty:


    "Microsoft’s eye for design is keener than ever, and while WinPho is great, it’s yet to make the impressions it could. Or even should. A Microsoft phone could change that."


    But don't get carried away. Quoting an older article on its own site, Gizmodo cautioned:


    "Even if these reports turn out to be totally accurate — and that’s far from certain — this does not mean that Microsoft is close to actually making a phone you can buy. It doesn’t even mean it ever will. Just that it’s developing the hardware, and testing it. That’s it."




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  • By Aldo Panessidi


    Microsoft’s new Window Phone 8 OS won’t get installed on any of the current Windows Phone devices because they are based on a different core- Windows CE (Windows Phone 7) versus Windows NT (Windows Phone 8). Windows Phone 8 will support significant improvements including multiple CPU cores and better graphics.


    Current Windows Phone owners excluded from Windows Phone 8


    Microsoft’s senior marketing manager for Windows Phone Greg Sullivan stated that, while it can be done, porting WP8 on older devices would be very expensive. He also stated that the WP8 requires functions like multi-core support, higher resolution screens, NFC and microSD card support. The legacy device hardware can’t make use of Windows Phone 8 upgrades.


    Microsoft is attempting to make it up to current Windows Phone users with a Windows Phone 7 update (WP 7.8). It’s most noticeable change is a more user-friendly Start screen.


    Users who buy Windows Phone 8-compatible devices, will be able to migrate their Windows Phone 7 apps. There's no backwards compatibility for the newly developed WP8 apps though and there's nothing that can be done about it.


    This could mean a big loss of momentum for Microsoft’s mobile OS. They’re still the new kid on the block trying to establish a reputation. This isn’t helping.




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  • By Aldo Panessidi


    Nokia CEO Stephen Elop has stated for the record that the company plans to ramp up its efforts in the affordable phone market in a big way by expanding its line of low-price Windows Phones like the Nokia Lumia 900. With the help of Microsoft pricing, Nokia plans to focus its efforts on producing cheap handsets in its Lumia line with a wide range of price points and features. The exact words were that the company "needs to compete with Android aggressively".


    Microsoft helping Nokia produce more affordable devices


    Currently the only entry-level phone in the Windows 7 line is the Nokia Lumia 610. Elop noted that there will be more of these devices to come with even lower pricing. The company will be achieving that goal with the help of Microsoft’s "specific support" to get to lower prices than Nokia "had a sight to."


    Nokia has to do everything it can to compete on cost in the very competitive low-end Android smartphone markets like China. The battle will be all about price. The company also plans to save costs by refocusing their launches with more ambitious plans in just a few key countries.


    Nokia's entry level phones have been its bread and butter for a long time. No wonder it is trying to replicate the same strategy with the Windows Phone OS.


    Elop wouldn’t say when we can expect the new line of low-end Lumia’s to hit the market.




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  • By Aldo Panessidi


    Mobile phone maker Nokia announced this week that it plans to restructure. Nokia is trying to stay in business with job cuts, sale of its Vertu luxury product line and reorganization at the top of the company. With $1.7 billion lost in the first three months of this year and a $1.2 billion in 4Q 2011, the company is on a sad slide.


    Nokia loses $3 billion in last 6 months, cuts 10,000 more jobs, sells Vertu


    The 10,000 job cuts add to last year’s workforce reduction of 14,000 employees. This year Nokia will shut down research and development facilities in Ulm, Germany, and Burnaby, Canada, and a manufacturing facility in Salo, Finland. It also plans to shuffle senior leadership and acquire Swedish software firm Scalado AB.


    Nokia’s latest strategy shows an increasing reliance on the potential for success with Windows Phone. The Scalado AB is a mobile image company. Its acquisition should strengthen Nokia’s Windows Phone service portfolio for the Nokia Lumia 900, and the remaining Lumia line of busienss.  In the press release announcing the restructuring, Nokia said it acquired Scalado AB to beef up its "imaging experience" for its line of Lumia devices.


    Nokia said making the cuts and the restructuring will cost it about $1.2 billion but will reduce costs by about $2 billion by next year. It also lowered second-quarter earnings expectations.




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  • By Aldo Panessidi


    Like Skype, Line provides free calls and messages all over the world, regardless of mobile network provider. Line is already being used in over 230 countries by 40 million people (18 million of these are in Japan).


    NHN Japan Releases New Windows (R) Phone Version of LINE, Free-Calling and Free-Messaging App


    This new version makes use of the unique Windows (R) Phone user-interface system, Metro UI, which increases user friendliness and promotes stress-free communication by arranging text for increased clarit.  It further introduces sideways menu scrolling for ease of access, a distinctive characteristic of Windows (R) Phone. Although the release of this version will feature the all-important messaging function, it will not include the free-calling function. NHN Japan plans to add this function in the near future.


    The Windows (R) Phone version is seen as a welcome addition to the current versions of LINE which are available on iPhone, Android, feature-phones and PCs as well as a browser version for smart-tablets. NHN Japan hopes to increase the strength of its mobile messenger service by making it available across all platforms and devices.


    Line is downloadable, but currently the app has the free calling capability disabled. The company is working on fixing the call problem, but the service can be used for texting.


    Download the Line app here




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  • By Aldo Panessidi


    A new report suggests that the popularity of Google’s Android OS is due to peak in 2012. The market will begin a major shift towards a strong Microsoft Windows platform.


    Microsoft Windows predicted to take a big bite out of Google’s Android starting in 2013


    The market research firm IDC just released the details of its latest Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker report. The firm predicts that, while cell phone shipments will reach 1.8 billion units this year (compared to 1.7 billion in 2011), the numbers reflect stalled growth when compared to previous years. The major cause seems to be the beginning of a rapid decline in sales for feature phones. The IDC forecasts the lowest annual growth rate in their sales since 2009.


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    Samsung Galaxy S 3Galaxy S 2, Galaxy S2 X, Galaxy S 2 LTE, Galaxy Tab


    HTC One SHTC One X, HTC One V, HTC EVO 3D, HTC Flyer and HTC Jetstream


    Nokia Lumia 900 and Nokia Lumia 800


    Motorola Droid RAZR, Motorola Defy, Motoluxe, Motorola Xoom


    Sony Xperia U, Sony Xperia ION, Sony Xperia Play


    LG Optimus L7, LG Optimus 4G LTE and the Optimus Pad


    IDC analyst Kevin Restivo was quoted as saying, “The smartphone parade won’t be as lively this year as it has been in past. The mobile phone user-transition from feature phones to smartphones will continue in a gradual but unabated fashion. Smartphone growth, however, will increasingly be driven by a triumvirate of smartphone operating systems, namely Android, iOS and Windows Phone 7.”


    Microsoft Windows predicted to take a big bite out of Google’s Android starting in 2013


    The smartphone market is expected to continue growing over the next five years, but IDC sees 2012 as the start of a major shift. Android has a big lead in the number of devices sporting its popular OS – predicted to be a 61% share by year-end. Apple’s iOS takes second place with 20.5%, one-third the size of Google’s market. The upstart Microsoft Windows/Windows Mobile will probably end 2012 with a 5.2% share of the market, less than one-tenth the size of Android. By 2016, the IDC says the numbers will look significantly different.


    They predict that smartphone shipments will continue to grow through 2016, but this timeframe will see a big decline in Android OS use. It will probably peak in 2012 and then begin to lose significant market share to the Windows Phone platform. Apple’s iOS will probably see some decline as well.


    Enhance your mobility and turn your device into a power tool!  Discover select accessories such as; stylus & pens, micro SD memory cards, batteries, docking stations, Bluetooth headsets, data cables, HTC Media Link and XMI Speakers all specifically designed to make your devices functionally efficient and performance rich.


    Here are the IDC’s predictions. Between 2012 and 2016, Android’s share of the global market will decline more than 7% - from 61% to 52.9%. Apple’s iOS will become slightly less popular, going from 20.5% to 19%. Microsoft will be the big winner, with a quadrupling of its market share from 2012’s measly 5.2% to 19.2% in 2016. This obviously surpasses iOS as the No.2 smartphone platform in the world, not to mention ought to cause Google execs some sleepless nights.


    “Underpinning the smartphone market is the constantly shifting OS landscape,” IDC analyst Ramon Llamas said. “Android will maintain leadership throughout our forecast, while others will gain more mobile operator partnerships (Apple) or currently find themselves in the midst of a major transition (BlackBerry and Windows Phone/Windows Mobile). What remains to be seen is how these different operating systems – as well as others – will define and shape the user experience beyond what we see today in order to attract new customers and encourage replacements.”


    IDC expects RIM’s smartphone market share to stay relatively flat for the next few years. It will probably hold steady at around 6%. Other smartphone platforms can only expect a mere 3% of the market by 2016, down from 7.2% in 2012. Samsung’s Tizen platform makes up the majority of that 3%. Sorry Samsung. Maybe you should concentrate on Galaxy S IV and beyond.




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  • By Aldo Panessidi


    ASUS unveiled its ASUS Transformer AiO at this year’s Computex trade show in Taiwan. The Transformer AiO is a tablet with a touchscreen display that’s also an all-in-one computer. It’s a dual- boot device that runs both the Windows 8 OS and Google’s Android 4.0.


    ASUS Transformer AiO – a Windows 8 pc that’s also an enormous Android tablet


    Leaving your valuable tablet devices unprotected is risky!  Discover the latest innovative protection solutions ... stylish top brand bags and sleeves from top brands Be.ez, Incase, and Targus.  Find more tablet accessories from Moshi, GriffinIncipio and  Beats by Dr. Dre


    The “transforming” tablet sits in a dock and acts like a computer with a giant 18.4-inch display, a mouse and a keyboard. Pop the touchscreen out of the base, and you’ve got a tablet in your hand. But, it’s a tablet with a difference - it isn’t a standalone device like the others in its category. In tablet mode, it has to stay in range of the pc base.


    View this Asus Transformer AIO hands on video :



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    As innovative as Transformer AiO is, ASUS still has work to do on it. For instance, the display kicks over to Android as soon as it’s undocked. Even detached from the base, the display is supposed to function as a wireless screen for the pc. Switching away from the Windows OS shouldn’t happen automatically.


    ASUS has yet to announce all specifications for the Transformer AiO, but we do know that the docking base features multiple USB 3.0 ports, ethernet and an optical drive. The screen is LED backlit and supports up to 10-point multitouch.




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  • By Aldo Panessidi


    The UK retailer Phones4U has posted more information on the limited edition Batman-themed Nokia Lumia 900, whose launch was just announced by Nokia this week. Phones4U says they are the only retailer in the U.K. that will offer the smartphones. If you’re interested in owning one, you’d better get a move on. Phones4U will only be selling 900 of them.


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    Only 900 Nokia Lumia 900 “Dark Knight” edition smartphones to be sold


    This Lumia 900 edition comes with a Dark Knight Rises app for access to themed wallpapers, ringtones and a special "Claim Gotham City" challenge where you can earn Foursquare bonuses for checking in at designated locations.


    Enhance your mobility and turn your device into a power tool!  Discover select accessories such as; stylus & pens, micro SD memory cards, batteries, docking stations, Bluetooth headsets, data cables, HTC Media Link and XMI Speakers all specifically designed to make your devices functionally efficient.


    Just like the Nokia Lumia 800, the 900 will be available in Black and have the Batman logo engraved on the back (so you’ll be able to feel the impression).




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  • Microsoft OneNote Brought to Android
    Posted on February 14, 2012 by Pure Mobile

    By Megan Fleet


    For all its brand recognition and funding power, Microsoft has not seen a high adoption rate of its mobile software in the past.  However, this year looks to be a new chapter in the company’s move to diversify its end point offerings from traditional PCs, notebooks, MacBooks,  smartphones and tablets. This is being accomplished with partnering with companies like Nokia and BlueStack that will widen their customer base and mobile device sales.


    Android OneNote Microsoft


    Another recent move to accomplish this was bringing OneNote to Apple’s iOS and Android users will have the cloud-synced note-taking app at their disposal as well.  Leveraging this popular organizational tool, Microsoft is spreading its net far by including Apple and Android. And, multi-mobile OS platform availability highlights the changing landscape of customers wanting the device, apps, and mobile OS of their choice which explains the increased popularity of unlocked smartphones.


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    Those with Android 2.3 or above can try out the app with 500 notes for free before having to shell out $4.99 to purchase the full version. With established competition like Evernote, Springpad and the up and coming Catch Notes, OneNote is a solid alternative where end users can edit tables synced from the desktop app and create to-do lists. Other features like photo notes, bulleted lists, check boxes and highlights make for a great experience even though custom tables cannot be made and synced.


    Enhance your mobility and turn your device into a power tool!  Discover select accessories such as; stylus & pens, micro SD memory cards, batteries, docking stations, Bluetooth headsets, data cables and glider gloves all specifically designed to make your devices functionally efficient and performance rich.


    Microsoft looks to be making its move with savvy and has a multi-pronged approach. So, we have yet to see what the Mobile World Congress will bring to continue this trend whether it is with accessories or other technology pairings. Whatever is brought to the table, we look forward to it!




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  • By Aldo Panessidi


    Android. Apple. Apple. Android. The mobile OS brands and their respective handset manufacturers are in the grip of a fierce, cyclical competition to be the best and win global mindshare. Which is why we follow the momentum and progress of their sales and innovation so closely. So how did the vendors stack up against one another?   The usual culprits are present: Apple’s iPhone 4S and Samsung’s Galaxy S 2.


    Manufacturer Smartphone Market ShareOEM Market Share


    For the three-month average period ending in December, 234 million Americans age 13 and older used mobile devices. Device manufacturer Samsung ranked as the top OEM with 25.3 percent of U.S. mobile subscribers, followed by LG Mobile with 20 percent share and Motorola with 13.3 percent share. Apple continued to gain ground in the OEM market with 12.4 percent share of total mobile subscribers (up 2.2 percentage points), while RIM rounded out the top five with 6.7 percent share.


     


    Manufacturer Smartphone Market ShareSmartphone Platform Market Share


    97.9 million people in the U.S. owned smartphones during the three months ending in December, representing 40 percent of all mobile subscribers. Google Android ranked as the top smartphone platform with 47.3 percent market share, up 2.5 percentage points from September. Apple maintained its #2 position, growing 2.2 percentage points to 29.6 percent of the smartphone market. RIM ranked third with 16 percent share, followed by Microsoft (4.7 percent) and Symbian (1.4 percent).


    According to the another market research firm, The NPD Group, the top three best-selling smartphones in the United States of last quarter all came from Apple: the iPhone 4S, the iPhone 4, and the iPhone 3GS (which consumers can receive at no cost when signing a contract at AT&T). Two of Samsung’s flagship smartphone, the Galaxy S II made the top 5 list as well. The availability of some of these handsets as unlocked devices likely contributed to their success as well.


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    When diving into the details of this buying behavior, NPD analyst, Ross Rubin, noted that customers are motivated by “a fast processor, improved camera and the Siri speech-driven agent, most iPhone buyers paid a premium for the iPhone 4S, making is the top-selling handset in Q4.” In fact, the latest iPhone 4S outsold its predecessor by a whopping 75% and lapped the iPhone 3GS by a ratio of five to one. Throw in an OS that ties in the number one selling tablets in the world and customer get hooked.


    When looking at the mobile OS platform of choice amongst first-time smartphone buyers, Android won out with 57% - Apple only saw 34% of those first time buyers choose their solution.


    Much as there are solid tech reasons for Apple’s great performance with the iPhone 4S, NPD’s Rubin also outlines the rationale of Android’s growth and popularity amongst first-time buyers. “Android has been criticized for offering a more complex user experience than its competitors, but the company’s wide carrier support and large app selection is appealing to new smartphone customers,” Rubin noted. “Android’s support of LTE at Verizon has also made it the exclusive choice for customers who want to take advantage of that carrier’s fastest network.”




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