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From: zax4/15/2012 2:36:05 AM
1 Recommendation   of 1099

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To: zax who wrote (117)4/15/2012 3:58:33 AM
From: J.F. Sebastian
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You're joking, right? The Woz is a geek, he owns several iPhones and Androids, and you're crowing about him buying a Lumia? He always tests out the latest phone gear, because that's what rich geeks like him do.

I'm glad you've gotten such satisfaction from this, but it is a hollow victory.

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From: FUBHO4/15/2012 6:00:31 AM
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8 Days Of Nokia Lumia 900, Day 6: Nokia Apps And Services

Saturday, April 14, 2012

While there are many reasons for choosing a Nokia handset over other Windows Phones or competing smart phones, one of the key reasons is the bundled and unique Nokia apps and services you get with such a purchase. And some of these apps and services are truly excellent.

The Lumia 900 may simply be a case of, “I came for the design, but I stayed for the apps and services.” What first draws you in with this device, obviously, is the stunning unibody form factor, unique and superior to anything in the marketplace, including the curiously parts-heavy iPhone 4S. But as you use this device, the longest-lasting benefit, I suspect, will be the amazing array of Nokia apps and services that are bundled with the handset.

So far, I’m impressed.

To recap what’s happening here, let’s step back about a year to when Microsoft and Nokia announced their strategic partnership. As you recall, Nokia revealed that it would adopt Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform as its principle smart phone and would begin innovating on top of that platform, particularly around imaging, a traditional Nokia strength.

But Nokia’s contributions to Windows Phone would be two-fold. On the one hand, we’d see Nokia driving improvements directly into the platform, improvements that would appear in future Windows Phone software updates that would be made available to all devices, regardless of the manufacturer. On the other, Nokia would continue to differentiate with its own software and services initiatives, building them on top of Windows Phone, but made only available on Nokia devices.

Today’s focus is on those latter contributions, which can be seen in the form of several unique new Windows Phone apps that are only made available to Lumia users. With the Lumia 900, specifically, sold as it is through AT&T exclusively for the moment, some of these apps are not preinstalled on the phone, so you’ll need to visit the Nokia Collection in Windows Phone Marketplace to download and install them. They’re all free.

Better still, some of these apps represent amazing value. Where AT&T wants to sell you an AT&T Navigator subscription for voice-guided driving navigation at a cost of $9.99 per month or $2.99 per day, Nokia provides an arguably superior Nokia Drive app for free. As I noted in Day 2 of this series, one of the first things I do when configuring any Windows Phone handset is remove the superfluous apps I don’t need and then install the ones I do. So I remove most of the AT&T apps and, with the Lumia 900, I then installed some key Nokia apps.

I’m not going to “review” every single Nokia app for Windows Phone. And there are many, including several that aren’t “made” by Nokia but are rather offered through the Nokia Collection either exclusively (ESPN) or just because they’re seen as valuable and filling a hole in Windows Phone’s core functionality (Tango Video Calls).

Likewise, Nokia provides an interesting app called App Highlights that sits “outside” the Windows Phone Marketplace but provides information about a tiny but useful subset of the apps inside this marketplace. App Highlights is basically Nokia’s attempt to communicate what it feels are the most important or useful apps in the Marketplace, and it includes lists of featured apps, staff picks, games on sale, and an apps “starter kit” with such apps as USA Today, Xbox Companion, Spotify, Netflix, Groupon, eBay, Weather Channel, various Amazon apps, Shazam, Flixster, Facebook, Evernote, Flickr, Twitter, Adobe Reader, and the like. You know, because Windows Phone supposedly has no good apps, or not enough apps, or whatever the frick it is that clueless tech commentators are complaining about this week. (Read my editorial about this topic, Don’t Fear the Windows Phone App Apocalypse, for more information.)

App Highlights

App Highlights may seem superfluous, but it’s not. The issue with any mobile app store—and this is even worse in Apple’s App Store or the Android Marketplace, frankly—is that it’s really hard to find the best apps. For example, if you’re looking for the right streaming music app, how do you choose when there are 11,000 of them available, with 1,100 that all target the same backend service? Sometimes too much choice is just as bad as no choice. Worse, really, because great apps can easily get lost in the monsoon of crap apps that Apple and Google approve every single day in a mad bid to keep their “app superiority.” Sometimes being big is a liability.

The App Highlights app, much like Amazon’s AppStore for Android (though that latter service is quickly outgrowing its usefulness in this area) represents a curated subset of the wider marketplace with only the very best selections made available. For those new to Windows Phone—and you have to think with the Lumia 900, there will be millions of them—this is a great, great place to start.

But that’s all it is, a great place to start.

Dig a bit deeper and you’ll find some real gems. Key among them is the aforementioned Nokia Drive. I assume most readers have experienced smart phone-based GPS services by this point, and you probably know that Apple bundles a decent Google Maps experience with the iPhone, albeit one that lacks voice navigation, arguably a key feature for any smart phone, but especially one with such a small screen. AT&T’s solution, of course, is to buy a Navigator subscription. But on the Android side of the fence, you see a competitive advantage: On Google’s own platform, Google Maps includes voice navigation for free, and I have to think this is a key selling point for Android.

So what’s the deal on Windows Phone? The base platform includes a decent Bing Maps app with driving instructions, but only for automobile generally, though walking routes are available in select locations. (Google Maps supports more walking directions and public transportation too.) There’s voice, but the presentation is top-down only, with no 3D view, as was common with dedicated GPS devices.

Nokia Drive turns things up a notch and then some. In fact, even my Android-loving wife started pondering a previously inconceivable switch to Windows Phone after using it on a few local trip.

Nokia Drive

Nokia Drive provides maps for hundreds of different regions, including individual maps for the US states. So you have to download them, but that also means they can be used offline. Drive sports a 3D view that is vastly superior and more usable than a traditional 2D map, erasing the weird “which way is up?” effect that seems to plague such maps. And the maps are truly useful, with side street names always called out, along with nearby gas stations, restaurants, and other landmarks. It’s just immediately useful. (You can switch to 2D if you like, however.) You can configure map colors (day/night), which maps to store locally, a speed limit alert (which my daughter immediately used to criticize my driving), an amazing repertoire of (downloadable) navigation voices and languages, and more. It’s just an amazing app.

Nokia also provides its own mapping app, Nokia Maps, and I have to think that Nokia Drive + Maps could and should simply replace Bing Maps on Windows Phone going forward. Nokia Maps differs from Drive in that it’s about finding places around you. So it’s the type of thing you could use in the car, but you’re more likely to use it walking around in a city, whether it’s familiar to you or not.

Maps provides a nice, default 2D view that’s similar to Drive, but also satellite, public transportation, and traffic views, all of which are useful in their own rights. I’ll play with this in Boston, of course, but the big test will come in other cities, especially when we’re visiting Europe. You can test it easily enough by viewing maps of other cities and then virtually roaming through landmarks using the app’s built-in photos, reviews, guides, and other information. Nice!

Nokia Maps, highlighting Paris landmarks

And if the public transportation features of Maps aren’t enough, Nokia even offers a dedicated Nokia Transit app that features the timetables of public transportation routes in almost 90 regions worldwide. Boston is nicely covered, and given the variety of ways we can get in and out of the city—using the MBTA and various commuter rail lines, each with its own routes and times—being able to figure out the most efficient way at any given time is hugely convenient.

Nokia Transit helps you get from here to there ... on public transportation

There are other Nokia apps—a Creative Studio photo editing and sharing solution, a Contacts Transfer app that uses Bluetooth to import contacts from an old phone, and so on—as well as third party apps for news and sports that are, for now at least, exclusive to Nokia’s handsets. But as a US citizen, I’d never really been able to benefit from some of Nokia’s clearly superior mobile apps ands services over the years. So it’s nice to finally have that chance and see what all the fuss was about. It’s well deserved. Say what you will about Nokia, but they do a great job with mobile apps and services.

The photo editing capabilities of Creative Studio

So great, in fact, that one might argue that, with these apps, Nokia has done through software what it did with hardware when it designed the smooth, high quality unibody Lumia 900 (and 800) shell: Create something that is unique and differentiated from the competition. In a world of me-too black plastic phones, the Lumia 900 stands out. But even from a software standpoint, it stands out. Not just from the uniqueness of Windows Phone but also from its own excellent mobile apps and services, which are unique to Nokia devices. When you combine these advantages—the amazing hardware, the Windows Phone OS, and Nokia’s apps and services—you see the complete picture, and why one could and should choose this phone over the competition.

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To: zax who wrote (117)4/15/2012 6:33:24 AM
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Just realized why they don't have an order button for the sold out Lumia on ATT's website. That $100 coupon is good if you purchased before the 21st. So I expect availability on that date, or at the very least an order button...

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From: zax4/15/2012 9:41:11 AM
   of 1099
Some Lumia 800, 710 Models Shipped With Unlocked Bootloaders
File under: News
By: Anton D. Nagy |2:24 AM 15-Apr-12

A select few Nokia Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 units were shipped with unlocked Qualcomm bootloaders instead of the locked Nokia versions, according to reports.

When a device with such an unlocked bootloader was connected to a Linux computer a Qualcomm storage device popped up, basically allowing full reads and writes to the NAND. "That means you can actually write data to the device, allowing custom ROMs and more", like interop unlocked ones. Of course, there are risks of bricking your phone which would not be covered by warranty. However, if you are interested in the topic, check out the XDA Developers thread in the source link below and drop us a few lines if you're among the lucky few with an unlocked bootloader on your Lumia.

Source: WindowsPhoneHacker, XDA Developers
Via: WMPowerUser

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To: J.F. Sebastian who wrote (118)4/15/2012 9:50:34 AM
From: zax
1 Recommendation   of 1099
I love the Woz.

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To: zax who wrote (122)4/15/2012 9:58:55 AM
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He's one of the greatest computer engineers of all-time...

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To: FUBHO who wrote (123)4/15/2012 10:09:39 AM
From: zax
   of 1099
Nokia design patent reveals another Windows Phone concept device
By damaster on April 14, 2012 10:49 PM

Remember the Nokia concept Windows Phone device revealed via a US Patent approved a few weeks ago? Well it seems like more concept Windows Phone devices are being patented by Nokia with the US Patent and Trademark Office (USPTO). Design patent D650,350 filed back in May 26, 2011 reveals another Nokia Windows Phone device design, and interestingly, we’ve seen this one before too. Check out the design patent below:

After carefully comparing the design against all existing Nokia handsets, we’ve come to the conclusion that the design is an unreleased device (it’s close to the Lumia 610, but not quite). However, it does closely match another one of Nokia’s Windows Phone design concept officially revealed back in February last year. See it for yourself below (click to view larger version):

Comparing the positions of the volume rockers, lock screen and camera buttons, microphone and speaker grills, camera and flash, as well as the curved display screen (check out the side-view of the design patent above), the concept image exactly matches that of the design patent. We did notice one thing that has changed between the concept image (released in February) and the design patent (filed in May) – the Back, Start and Search buttons was changed from capacitive to an actual hardware button.

We’ve also heard about quite a few new Nokia Windows Phones in the pipeline, including the Windows Phone 8-based handsets Nokia “Prodigy” and Nokia “AC/DC”, as well as another device called the Nokia “Fluid”. Could these design patents indicate actual future Nokia Windows Phone devices coming to the market soon? We certainly hope so, given the Finnish company had already invested the time and effort to design these devices.

How do you like this design? Let us know in the comments below!

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From: Eric L4/16/2012 1:57:02 PM
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'Tom's' Does WinPhone 7.5: Comprehensive Review after A Month's Experience ...

>> The Windows Phone 7.5 Review, A Month-Long Experience

Andrew Ku
Tom's Hardware
April 12, 2012

Table of contents

1. More Than A Month With Windows Phone 7.5
2. History And Home Screen
3. The Basics: Navigation And Bing Searches
4. Bing Services: Local Scout, Music, Vision, Speech
5. Page Orientation: Portrait And Lanscape
6. Keyboard Layout And Text Input
7. Touch Gestures And Multitasking
8. Internet Explorer, Email, And Calendar
9. Maintaining Contacts, Calling, And Messaging
10. Multimedia: Music, Videos, And Pictures
11. Document Management In Mobile Office
12. Marketplace And Xbox Live
13. Syncing: Windows And Mac
14. Apps: Room To Grow, But Most Bases Covered
15. Windows Phone 7: A Solid Mobile Operating System

After a long string of clumsy mobile releases, Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 strikes us as one of the better designs to pass through our labs. After more than a month of using the latest build on a Nokia Lumia 800, we think WP7 deserves consideration.

After several unsuccessful mobile offerings, Microsoft has released Windows Phone 7 (WP7). With 71% of smartphone owners using either an Android or iPhone device, according to Nielsen, it might not seem like Microsoft's new mobile operating system stands much of a chance. However, quite a few companies have announced their support for WP7, and we believe the WP7 is worth watching. ... <Snip> ... For the folks considering a smartphone with WP7, accepting and growing accustomed to a very different Microsoft-driven ecosystem will probably represent the biggest change. Indeed, for most of the crew at Tom's Hardware, much experience with Android- and iOS-based devices has colored our expectations of mobility. Consequently, I made sure to take my time getting used to WP7 before writing this review, making Nokia's Lumia 800 my personal smartphone for the last month and a half. After acclimating to Windows Phone 7, I'm convinced that anyone shopping for a new phone should at least consider Microsoft's mobile operating system as a viable environment on the right piece of hardware. ... <SNIP Big Rest: See Full Text at Link Above> ###

- Eric -

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To: FUBHO who wrote (123)4/16/2012 8:19:56 PM
From: zax
1 Recommendation   of 1099
There is a nice video demo on the Neowin site...

Windows Phone Bing Translator app updated, increases the awesomeness

Traveling to foreign countries is always a big of a challenge when you don't speak or read the native language of the countries you happen to visit. Now there are a number of translator apps for many different smartphone platforms that make talking and understanding a forgien language easier. Today, Microsoft's Bing division released a new 2.0 version of its Bing Translator app for Windows Phone devices via the Windows Phone Marketplace.

The official Bing blog offers up some information about what is contained in the 2.0 app update. The biggest new feature is being able to use your smartphone camera to take pictures of printed messages such as signs, restaurant menus and more and then have those words displayed in your native language. Users can also download foreign language packs to their Windows Phone device to use this feature even if there is no wireless connection.

The new app also allows user to speak words into the smartphone and the app then translates it into another spoken language. It currently supports both US and UK English along with German, French, Italian, and Spanish. You can also pin your favorite Bing Translator mode on your home screen via the live tiles.

Image via Microsoft

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