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From: zax4/4/2012 11:55:14 AM
1 Recommendation   of 1098
 


April 4, 2012

From 2 Struggling Giants, One Beautiful Phone
By DAVID POGUE

nytimes.com



What’s better than a good story about an underdog? A story about two of them.

First, Nokia. Nokia has been pummeled by bad news. Sales of its phones have dried up worldwide. It has been forced to lay off thousands of workers, its stock has fallen sharply and its phones dropped in popularity among Americans, from “very low” to “Nokia who?”

Second, Microsoft. Its effort to compete with the iPhone and Android software is called Windows Phone 7. It’s beautiful, fast and good software. But it came late to the app phone party — so late, the band was already packing up. Today, in a room of 100 phones, you could count the number running Windows Phone 7 with one finger.

And so it came to pass that these two struggling giants decided to join forces. They would merge their expertise. They would share technology. They would give the American market one last big and desperate shot, spending hundreds of millions of dollars — the biggest marketing campaign ever for Nokia.

On Sunday, Nokia’s do-or-die phone finally arrives.

It’s the Lumia 900. It’s beautiful, fast and powerful, and it’s only $100 (with a two-year AT&T contract). That’s half the price of an iPhone or a comparable Android phone — but you’re still getting a top-of-the-line machine.

Its design is striking and unusual. The back and sides are molded from a single piece of hard, grippable plastic, in your choice of black, white or blue. (Nokia hopes that when you read “plastic,” you won’t think “cheap and crude”— you’ll think “tough” and “terrific antenna signal.”) The edges are comfortably rounded and entirely uninterrupted by seams, flaps or screws.

The screen is bright, vivid and with little glare, although finger oil frequently builds up. It’s a bigger screen than the iPhone’s: 4.3 inches diagonal. The Lumia 900 feels gigantic if you’re accustomed to an iPhone — but the big screen is handy when you’re reading maps, e-books and Web pages.

Then again, the Lumia actually shows you a larger area, but in less detail. Its resolution is 800 by 480. The iPhone’s 3.5-incher has 960 by 640 pixels, so Apple’s screen is far sharper.

The rest of the Lumia specifications are what you’d expect of a top-grade app phone: 8-megapixel camera, with flash, on the back, 1-megapixel camera on the front; GPS, Wi-Fi and Bluetooth; overseas roaming; 14 gigabytes of available storage. Some of the iPhone-like downsides are here, too: nonremovable battery, no memory card, an inability to play Flash videos online.

But the iPhone doesn’t yet use 4G LTE — and the Lumia 900 does. That means brisk Internet connections in 4G cities (of which AT&T has many), and incredibly fast speeds in LTE cities (of which AT&T has only 31 so far). Apps download fast, Web sites load fast, videos don’t pause to load.

As usual, the price you pay is battery life: this phone might not make it through the day if you’re online a lot in a 4G city.

The right side has all four physical buttons: volume (up and down), sleep/wake, camera. The earbud cord is the antenna for the built-in FM radio. Call audio quality is excellent.

The software (Windows Phone 7.5, the latest and most polished version) is spectacular. It’s Microsoft’s own invention, a crisply scrolling virtual canvas of information. It’s sharp looking, responsive and loaded with thoughtful touches. For example, even if the phone is off, you can hold down the dedicated camera button and the phone wakes directly into camera mode, ready to shoot.

The Bing Maps app gives you spoken driving directions. Android phones have more map features, like walking directions and street-view photos. But Bing Maps covers the basics extremely well. When you scroll the map quickly, city names zoom up in size so you know where you are as you pass by — a great feature.

The Home screen is the software’s most noteworthy feature. It offers two colorful columns of tiles. Each represents something you use frequently: an app, a speed-dial entry, a Web page, a music playlist or an e-mail folder. These aren’t just buttons; they’re also little status screens. The music tile shows album art, the calendar tile identifies your next appointment, a person’s tile shows his latest Twitter or Facebook blurb. It works.

There’s speech recognition, but you can’t speak-to-type (except in the text-messaging app). You can speak some commands, like “Call Dad,” “open calendar” and “find local sushi.” Unfortunately, this isn’t Siri, the iPhone 4S’s star feature. You don’t get follow-up questions, smart substitutions or free-form syntax. (Or jokes; this is Microsoft, after all.)

So there you go: the Lumia 900 is fast, beautiful and powerful, inside and out.

Unfortunately, a happy ending to this underdog story still isn’t guaranteed. Windows Phone 7 faces the mother of all chicken-and-egg problems: nobody’s going to write apps until WP7 becomes popular — but WP7 won’t become popular until there are apps.

Microsoft says that 70,000 apps are available, an impressive start for an 18-month-old operating system. But Android has four times as many, and the iPhone has over eight times as many.

Still, if WP7 offers the most important 70,000 apps, the total doesn’t matter. So to gauge the completeness of Microsoft’s app store, I checked its list against the apps I use most often on my iPhone.

Many of the essentials are there: movie apps like Netflix, IMDB and Flixster; restaurant apps like Yelp and OpenTable; check-in apps from Delta and American Airlines; popular apps like Groupon, Foursquare, Kindle, Spotify, Twitter and Facebook. A few of my other favorites have also made it: RunPee (tells you when during a movie it’s safe to run out of the theater without missing anything important), Speedtest (measures Internet speed) and Flight Track (tells you everything about your flight).

And, of course, Angry Birds.

Unfortunately, there’s an even longer list of important apps that aren’t yet available for WP7 phones: Yahoo Messenger, Dropbox, Pandora, Mint, Bump, Draw Something, StumbleUpon, Pinterest, Urbanspoon, Hipstamatic, Instagram, Barnes & Noble Reader, Cut the Rope, Scrabble, Words With Friends, Google Voice, AOL Radio. Bank of America has an app, but Citibank, Chase, HSBC, Capital One, American Express and other big banks are missing.

Plenty of my less famous favorites are also unavailable: Line2, Hipmunk, Nest, Word Lens, iStopMotion, Glee, Ocarina, Songify This.

Even Microsoft’s own amazing iPhone app, Photosynth, isn’t available for the Lumia 900. Skype (which Microsoft owns) is still in beta testing.

Embracing the underdog also means turning your back on the universe of cool, useful accessories that work with an iPhone — all those thousands of speaker docks, alarm clocks, car adapters, external batteries, carrying cases, camera lenses, medical sensors, TV output cables and so on.

These days, an incredible number of hotels have iPhone charging docks or alarm clocks in the rooms. Your odds of finding a hotel-room dock for the Lumia 900? Zero.

(It’s not even clear that charging docks or speaker docks could be designed for this phone. Its charging and headphone jacks are on the top edge instead of the bottom.)

This Nokia phone and its Microsoft operating system are truly lovely — more beautiful than the iPhone or Android software, and, for most functions, just as powerful.

But is that enough to make you willing to sacrifice important apps like Scrabble, Pandora and Dropbox? Is “just as good” enough to justify losing out on the universe of accessories and compatibility?

I’m rooting for these long shots. They’ve done great work. But I have a sinking feeling that this breed of underdog will turn out to look more like a Pekingese than a Doberman.

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From: Lahcim Leinad4/5/2012 7:04:37 AM
1 Recommendation   of 1098
 
Nokia Lumia 900 reveals exterior, interior build differences | Electronista

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From: iggyl4/5/2012 8:08:21 AM
   of 1098
 

Nokia U.S. Future at Risk as AT&T Sales Seen Below Million
By Scott Moritz and Diana ben-Aaron - Apr 5, 2012 2:16 AM


Nokia Oyj (NOK) is seeking to revive its U.S. business with a smartphone release this weekend that may determine the company’s future. Initial sales will probably trail competitors’ recent debuts, hurting the company’s chances.

Nokia’s flagship Lumia 900 that runs Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)’s Windows Phone software will start selling through AT&T Inc. (T), the second-largest U.S. wireless carrier, on April 8. Sales in the first three months of availability may reach hundreds of thousands, rather than millions like for the market-leading iPhone, according to Deutsche Bank AG and Avian Securities LLC.







Enlarge image
A Nokia Lumia 900, running the Windows Phone operating system. Photographer: Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images





Play Video



April 4 (Bloomberg) -- Bloomberg's Rich Jaroslovsky reviews the Nokia Lumia 900, which goes on sale this weekend. The new smartphone delivers advanced features for $100 on a two-year contract, much less than competitive offerings. (Rich Jaroslovsky is a Bloomberg News columnist. The opinions expressed are his own. Source: Bloomberg)





Enlarge image
The new Nokia Lumia 900 operating on Windows OS is displayed during the 2012 International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) in Las Vegas, Nevada, U.S. Photographer: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg




The Nokia Lumia 900, running the Windows Phone operating system. Source: Nokia Oyj via Bloomberg




“It’s going to be an uphill fight,” said Matthew Thornton, an analyst at Avian in Boston. “The Nokia brand, while I think it’s still known here, lags Apple and even Samsung. I don’t see the phone becoming a hit.”

The price has been set at half that of the iPhone as Nokia is trying to rekindle sales in a market that drives smartphone innovation and global consumer trends. The Espoo, Finland-based company losing its mobile-phone leadership in the U.S. years ago foreshadowed eroding sales in Europe and Asia too as consumers worldwide followed U.S. users in adopting Apple Inc. (AAPL)’s iPhone and phones running Google Inc. (GOOG)’s Android software.

“This launch will set the tone for Nokia’s recovery,” said Alex Spektor, an analyst at Strategy Analytics in Newton, Massachusetts. “The U.S., since the rise of the iPhone, has become the most important market for mobile devices so success here is important for any vendor who wants to succeed on a global scale.”

Lost ValueNokia, once the world’s biggest smartphone maker, has lost more than 80 percent, or $80 billion, of its market value since the iPhone’s 2007 release. The stock has slid 51 percent since Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop started in 2010. The shares rose 0.9 percent to 3.88 euros as of 10:11 a.m. in Helsinki.

While Nokia and AT&T declined to give specific targets for the device, quarterly sales at below one million would likely disappoint them given Nokia’s typical volumes in other markets, according to John Jackson, an analyst at CCS Insight in Boston.

“It’ll have to be a number that starts with an ‘m,’” Jackson said. “Nokia doesn’t tend to get out of bed for any less than several million in the course of a year.”

Elop has said Nokia needs a revival in the U.S. as part of its turnaround plan. The debut at AT&T may be Nokia’s best chance to win back U.S. customers because new models from Apple and BlackBerry maker Research In Motion Ltd. (RIMM)aren’t expected before the second half.

IPhone, Android Debuts“It’s critical for them to get this phone in people’s hands,” said Roger Entner, an analyst at Recon Analytics in Dedham, Massachusetts. “The timing is good, there’s no other major phone entering the market right now. The iPhone 5 is still months away.”

Citing muted consumer demand for Windows Phone and intense competition, Deutsche Bank’s Kai Korschelt estimates that Nokia could sell 680,000 Lumias a quarter at AT&T. If consumers show little interest and AT&T cuts back its support, sales could be as small as 140,000 a quarter, the analyst said in a March 30 research note.

Avian’s Thornton, who rates Nokia shares neutral, estimates that the company will sell 370,000 Lumia 900s this quarter. That would be about 5 percent of AT&T’s smartphone sales, he said.

In the fourth quarter, AT&T activated 7.6 million iPhones after introducing the latest version in October. Apple sold more than 4 million units of the new model in its first weekend alone, though it was released in other countries in addition to the U.S. Samsung Electronics Co. (005930), the biggest manufacturer of Android phones, sold 5 million Galaxy Note phones worldwide in the first five months after its debut.

Banking on WindowsThe Lumia’s aggressive price and marketing spending may mean Nokia and Microsoft won’t make any profit with the device, and that may not be their focus, Thornton said. It’s crucial for the phone to become a hit to give carriers a reason to offer Nokia’s future Windows Phone devices, he said.

“If it flops, AT&T is going to have very little incentive to push this again when they come out with the next product,” Thornton said.

Nokia’s strategy is risky because while it can support its smartphone business with the money it makes from cheaper phones, its financial performance as a whole has deteriorated.

Plunging smartphone demand has driven Nokia’s revenue to below 2006 levels and the company’s loss exceeded $1 billion last year. Standard and Poor’s cut Nokia’s rating to one level above junk last month and signaled it may reduce it further.

Windows PhoneTo fight Apple and Google, Elop sidelined Nokia’s own operating systems and rebuilt a smartphone business using Windows Phone. His plan is to differentiate Nokia from rivals in markets such as the U.S., where the iPhone, Android and BlackBerry control 94 percent of sales.

As part of the debut, the Lumia 900 is being supplied free to the sales staff at AT&T stores in a bid to persuade them to recommend it to shoppers. The phone costs $99.99 with a two-year AT&T contract and $449.99 without one.

Windows Phone, unveiled in 2010, has so far won a niche following. At the end of 2011, it ranked sixth with 1.9 percent of the global market, down from 5th place and 3.4 percent of the market at the end of 2010, according to researcher Gartner Inc.

“Windows Phone is the best operating system that no one is using,” Entner said.

‘Steady Growth’The software is attractive, yet the Lumia 900 has drawbacks including a Web browser that stalled frequently, a battery that drained in less than a day in heavier use and a camera that took worse photos than the iPhone, Walt Mossberg, the technology columnist for the Wall Street Journal, said in his review. Rich Jaroslovsky, the technology columnist for Bloomberg, called the device “a very good phone and an even better value,” citing its user-friendly interface, video-chat function and camera quality.

The Lumia 900 is the first Nokia device to run on so-called long-term evolution, or LTE, networks that allow faster data speeds. The first models in the Lumia line were introduced already last year and have sold “well over 1 million” units, Nokia said in January.

Still, Nokia and AT&T executives still say they don’t put a lot of emphasis on Lumia’s sales numbers right out of the gate.

Chris Weber, Nokia’s U.S. sales chief, said the important number he will look for is the Lumia’s net promotion score. That is the tally from a one-question survey asking users how likely they are to recommend the device to a friend or colleague, on a scale of 1 to 10. Low scores are subtracted from high scores to give a numerical rating, which Nokia hasn’t revealed.

“How many we sell on the first weekend may not be the most important metric for us,” said Jeff Bradley, AT&T senior vice president of devices. “We want to see slow, steady growth.”

To contact the reporters on this story: Scott Moritz in New York at smoritz6@bloomberg.net; Diana ben-Aaron in Helsinki at dbenaaron1@bloomberg.net

bloomberg.com

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From: zax4/5/2012 9:15:17 AM
   of 1098
 
Displaymate finds Lumia 900 has "the lowest screen reflectance of any mobile device I have ever measured"
April 5, 2012 | By Surur


DisplayMate has been running some independent screen tests as part of a review of the iPad 3, and has discovered the Nokia Lumia 900 in fact comes up trumps when it comes to screen reflectivity, due to its ClearBlack technology.

The Lumia 900 has "the lowest screen reflectance of any mobile device I have ever measured," screen expert Raymond Soneira, president of DisplayMate Technologies told CNET. "

He told CNET the Lumia 900 only reflected 4.4% of light back to the viewer, which was 40% lower than the iPhone 4 and much better than the 9.9% of the iPad.

Screens with lower reflectance appear brighter and clearer to read indoors, resulting in the Nokia Lumia 900 being near universally praised in recent reviews.

Read more about the ClearBlack technology here.

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From: zax4/6/2012 8:20:30 AM
   of 1098
 
Leaked slides display Nokia Lumia PureView?
Tim Schiesser

neowin.net

Remember the Nokia 808 PureView, the phone that carries a massive 41-megapixel camera but unfortunately runs Nokia Belle? Well today two new slides have leaked that appear to show the same huge camera sensor, but this time in a Windows Phone that would presumably be part of the Lumia series.



Thanks to IT168.com (via GSMArena) we not only see the an image of what this Lumia PureView device would look like, but we also get some early specifications. According to the slides the device will pack a 4.3-inch curved HD display, and an unnamed dual-core processor with an Adreno 320 GPU. Luckily from that tidbit we can conclude the SoC will likely be a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4, presumably the Qualcomm MSM8960 Pro that has a dual-core Krait CPU clocked at up to 1.7 GHz.



And then of course there is the 41-megapixel camera sensor with Carl Zeiss lens, PureView image oversampling technology and 1080p video recording at 30 frames per second. You'll notice from the included images that the design of the smartphone is quite large to accommodate the huge sensor just like the 808 PureView.

You'll have to wait a bit before we hear anything on this device because with rumored specifications like that, the supposed Lumia PureView will only be compatible with the upcoming Windows Phone "Apollo" update. Also, the design is quite unusual, so perhaps Nokia will do some tweaking before they send this Lumia device to the market.

Thanks to subcld for the tip via the forums! Images courtesy of GSMArena.

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From: zax4/6/2012 8:23:39 AM
   of 1098
 
Windows Phone devices selling well in Russia
John Callaham

neowin.net

While Windows Phone may be struggling to gain a foothold in the US, that's apparently not the case in other parts of the world. The Russian language website MS4Press.ru claims that since the introduction of Windows Phone 7.5 in late 2011, sales of devices that have the OS have exceeded expectations in Russia.

The story claims that according to IDC, about 250,000 units of Windows Phone products have been sold in Russia. Samsung, HTC and Nokia have all released smartphones with Windows Phone installed in that country. The story quotes IDC analyst Simon Baker as saying that in the first quarter of 2012, " ...Windows Phone will likely be able to surpass iOS in terms of the number of smartphones sold in Russia."

The story says that 98 percent of Windows Phone owners in Russia are satisfied with their smartphone purchase and 94 percent would recommend one to a friend.

While Russia isn't exactly the biggest smartphone market, the fact that Windows Phone is having some sales success in that country could lead to other sales boots in other territories, especially with the upcoming launch of the long awaited Nokia Lumia 900 on Sunday.

Thanks to Aletheia for the tip

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To: zax who wrote (78)4/6/2012 9:03:35 AM
From: Lahcim Leinad
1 Recommendation   of 1098
 
Oooo! Glad I canceled my 808 preorder. Packs that killer camera and looks great? WANT! :-)

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From: Lahcim Leinad4/6/2012 11:03:05 AM
1 Recommendation   of 1098
 
Microsoft was recently reported as having passed 82,000 apps published in the Windows Phone Marketplace and has seen development demand accelerate. However, it faces the same problem that Google has with Android, where a disproportionately significant amount of apps are spam, fake, or clone apps. It recently had to tighten app submission limits after numerous developers flooded the Marketplace.

More: Microsoft pays direct for Windows Phone ports of key apps | Electronista

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From: Lahcim Leinad4/7/2012 9:38:35 AM
2 Recommendations   of 1098
 
Possibly the best review of Nokia Lumia 900 shows up on Fox News | WMPoweruser

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From: zax4/7/2012 8:45:55 PM
   of 1098
 

New AT&T ad for the Lumia 900 emphasizes how it's "beautifully different"
Posted on Sat, 07 Apr 2012 7:19 pm EDT by Daniel Rubino

wpcentral.com



    Now that we've seen some of the Smartphone Beta Test ads for the Lumia 900 from Nokia, AT&T has their standard fare commercial showing off the new phone as well.

    This ad feels more traditional with a young gent named Colin trying to impress a girl he's pining for by using his Lumia 900 as a conversation starter. Not a bad move and the demographic seems about right.

    The ad is humorous but also displays the phone's strengths like the bold cyan color, the unique design of the phone and of course those Live Tiles. Hopefully such an ad will begin to air on TV as we can see it being effective for getting the message out that Windows Phone is "beautifully different".

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