Technologizer posts about Nokia

The Lumia 710 is Free, But Don’t Panic

By  |  Posted at 1:24 am on Thursday, January 19, 2012

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The tech blogosphere’ collective head is spinning as Wal-Mart has dropped the price of Nokia’s first commercially available Windows Phone device in the US — the Lumia 710 — to free. Immediately, people began swing that this was a sure sign that the release is a bust: surely a device selling well wouldn’t be available for nothing so quickly? Or would it?

Look, it’s Wal-Mart were talking about here. Land of “Always Low Prices, Always.. Something tells me that we shouldn’t make judgements on the success of a device merely on this retailer’s pricing strategy. It could simply be that Wal-Mart wants to sell more phone. Let’s also consider the competitive landscape.

With the absolute glut of Android phones out there, there are quite a few devices on the market at that “free” price point. Wal-Mart has many of these devices because they fit into the demographic of their consumers: budget-conscious. The Lumia 710 is a great midrange phone, and is similar in functionality to those free devices.

Also look at Best Buy and T-Mobile: both still sell the device for $49.99 with a two-year contract. While Wal-Mart’s decision may accelerate their plans to discount the phone, they certainly are in no rush to join Wal-Mart in the race to the bottom. Nokia has only offered that these phones are selling “well”, so we really have no clue how things are going.

So take a breath, and let the market judge whether Nokia’s gamble was a smart one.



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Nokia Ships the N9, a Phone Without Apps

By  |  Posted at 2:49 pm on Tuesday, September 27, 2011

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In February 2010, before the iPhone had any well-established rivals, Nokia and Intel announced a little open-source operating system called MeeGo, intended for phones, tablets and netbooks. A lot’s changed since then, but today, Nokia shipped its first and only MeeGo-based phone, the N9.

The N9 is an anomaly among smartphones based on new software. Unlike, say, the Palm Pre with WebOS or the Blackberry Playbook with QNX, the N9 isn’t supposed to be the start of something big. It’s actually the end of something small–an experimental device built on abandoned software. Earlier this year, Nokia committed to focusing on Windows Phones, phasing out Symbian and casting aside MeeGo as “an opportunity to learn.”

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Shocking, must-read Bloomberg story by Vernon Silver and Ben Elgin:

The use of the system for interrogation in Bahrain illustrates how Western-produced surveillance technology sold to one authoritarian government became an investigative tool of choice to gather information about political dissidents — and silence them.

Posted by Harry at 6:55 pm

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Once upon a time, Nokia’s future–or part of it, at least–rested on an operating system called Meego. The company has released information on the N9, an upcoming phone that originated in that era.

Here’s a very Apple-style video showing it off:

It’s always a bad idea to form any firm conclusions about a gizmo based on a video demo, but…it looks pretty good! But with Nokia’s plans to emphasize Windows Phone 7 moving forward, it’s less of a sign of things to come and more of a freeze frame of an era that ended before it began.

Posted by Harry at 3:47 pm

3 Comments

Nokia and Apple have resolved their patent lawsuits, with Nokia coming out on top. That’s one ugly mobile-patents tussle down, umpteen more to go.

Posted by Harry at 12:37 pm

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Who’s Suing Who? A Cheat Sheet to the Mobile Patent Mess

All the legal ugliness in the phone business--and a few peaceable relationships--all on one page.

By  |  Posted at 7:32 pm on Tuesday, April 19, 2011

50 Comments

So Apple is suing Samsung, accusing it of imitating Apple products with its Galaxy phones and tablets. The most startling thing about the news may be that the two companies weren’t already in court with each other. Over the past few years, the mobile industry has been so rife with suits and countersuits that if every complainant managed to sue every subject of its ire out of business…well, there’d hardly be a mobile industry left.

I had trouble remembering the precise details of the umpteen cases that have made headlines–as well as some related relationships, such as Microsoft’s licensing agreements with Amazon and HTC–so I decided to document them with a handy-dandy infographic, as much for my own edification as anyone else’s.

Continue reading this story…



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Report: Microsoft Plans On Mobile Payments for Windows Phone

By  |  Posted at 9:46 am on Wednesday, March 30, 2011

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Microsoft is not going to be left behind when it comes to mobile payments, if a report from Bloomberg today is correct. The newswire’s sources claim that the Redmond company is already working to enable Near Field Communication (NFC) in Windows Phone 7, and the first devices with the technology may debut later this year.

Bloomberg had also reported that Google was set to offer its own NFC solution, aiming to test the technology in New York City and San Francisco later this year through a partnership with Verifone. Rumors of NFC in the iPhone have persisted as well, although there has been conflicting reports over the last week or two on whether it would make it to the “iPhone 5.”

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An Open Letter to Stephen Elop and Steve Ballmer

By  |  Posted at 10:28 am on Friday, February 11, 2011

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Dear Steves,

Normally, I try to avoid writing open letters to anyone–they’re a pretty stale journalistic convention. But the two of you used an open letter to confirm that Nokia and Microsoft have agreed to a strategic partnership that will make Windows Phone the software foundation of Nokia’s smartphone strategy. So another open letter feels like an appropriate way to respond.

So here’s my initial advice, which, as with all open letters, I’m sure you’ve been eagerly awaiting…

Don’t apologize. Lots of people–such as this guy–think your partnership is destined to fail. Some compare it to famous lackluster partnerships of the past, such as commenter here who brings up Sears and Kmart. I’m not predicting success…but I also think it’s hasty to dismiss your game plan. Windows Phone isn’t a stinker–it’s a promising and distinctive mobile operating system, albeit one that needs more work. And Nokia still makes some of the nicest phone hardware in the business. I haven’t seen anyone propose an alternative strategy that sounds more logical. You’re making an intelligent gamble given the situation at hand.

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According to Reuters, Nokia has scrapped its first smartphone based on MeeGo, the Linux-based operating system that was supposed to do what Nokia’s aging Symbian could not. The internal memo by new CEO Stephen Elop leaked at Engadget says that the company is announcing its new strategy on Friday; if MeeGo is in trouble, it’s hard to imagine that the plan doesn’t involve adopting Windows Phone 7 or Android, or maybe both…

Posted by Harry at 7:47 am

2 Comments

Would it make sense for Nokia and Microsoft to form a strategic partnership built around Nokia phones and Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7? I’m not sure, but I can’t think of a better strategy for either one…

Posted by Harry at 10:21 am

1 Comment

Now You Can Read a Phone Call

By  |  Posted at 2:12 pm on Saturday, December 18, 2010

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Last Gadget Standing Nominee: Mobile Captions Service

Price: free with phone service

When phones became smartphones, they sprouted a new feature: sizable screens. Consumer Cellular, a nationwide wireless phone company that offers service to AARP members, is taking advantage of that fact to provide a useful service: closed captions for phone conversations.

Mobile Captions Service lets the deaf and hard of hearing see a typed transcript of a phone conversation in real time as it’s going on. The captions are created by live operators on the fly based on a technology called Voice Carry Over (VCO) and are provided through a partnership with Hamilton Relay Service; the service is currently available on one phone, the Nokia E5 and is available in eight states and the District of Columbia.



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Help Us Pick the Hottest Smartphones

By  |  Posted at 10:05 am on Thursday, October 28, 2010

17 Comments

Seriously, folks–these days, you can barely move your contact list to your new phone before coveting the next one.

I queried a few of our Last Gadget Standing judges and they’ve got no shortage of opinion on which phones should be in the running for the award we’ll hand out at CES next January.

Some voiced concern about the Nokia N8 being an oddity.  Yeah, well, it’s an oddity with a 12 MP camera (with Zeiss lens) and HD video recording.  Those video watchers amongst us will be intrigued by the form factor; those who are dubious about Symbian less so.

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My friend Michael Gartenberg has been using Nokia’s new N8 flagship smartphone, which I wrote about here. Over at Slashgear, he says it would have been a great device–in 2008.

Posted by Harry at 7:36 am

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Nokia’s N8 Hands On: The Game of Catch-Up Continues

By  |  Posted at 5:09 pm on Monday, June 14, 2010

8 Comments

If you compiled a list of the biggest big-bang moments in tech history, Apple’s January, 2007 introduction of the first iPhone would rank mighty high. Three and a half years later, the companies that dominated smartphones back then are still scrambling to compete with Apple’s phone. Especially from a software standpoint, and none more so than Nokia, the Finnish giant who has struggled to build even vaguely plausible iPhone competitors on its long-in-the-tooth Symbian OS.

Nokia’s newest flagship smartphone, the N8, won’t arrive until sometime in the next quarter, and when it does it may have a low profile in the U.S.: There’s no reason to think that AT&T or T-Mobile will pick it up and sell it at a subsidized price. Unsubsidized, Nokia is saying it’s a 370-Euro phone, which works out to about $450–aggressive given its pretty meaty features, but not a price most Americans will pay.

I got a demo of a beta version of the N8 today, and while it’s the clearest sign to date that Nokia is moving in the right direction, it’s also obvious that modernizing Symbian is a years-long project that’s still in progress.

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Breaking: Nokia Sues Apple Over iPad

By  |  Posted at 7:42 am on Friday, May 7, 2010

3 Comments

Nokia has just announced that it has sued Apple in Federal District Court in the Western District of Wisconsin, claiming that both the iPad and iPhone violate five patents held by the electronics maker.

“The patents in question relate to technologies for enhanced speech and data transmission, using positioning data in applications and innovations in antenna configurations that improve performance and save space, allowing smaller and more compact devices,” according to a statement from the company.

Although the wording is of course somewhat vague, the suit appears to hit the heart of what has made applications on the iPad and iPhone what they are. Positioning data in applications has become a central feature — most of the major ones carry some type of location-aware technology.

I’m not sure what Nokia means by “enhanced speech and data transmission,” and have asked the company to clarify exactly what those specific patents do cover.

Nokia’s suit surely comes as a surprise to the tech community, as it had not publicly made any indication that it believed its intellectual property rights had been violated. That said, it’s not the first suit between the two companies: a suit last year involved GSM, UMTS, and Wi-Fi standards. A request for comment has been sent to Apple, however no response has been received as of press time.

More details to come as we receive them.



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Speaking of phone operating systems getting major makeovers for Mobile World Congress, here’s Nokia’s demo of Symbian 3, due in phones later this year. I want Symbian to flourish–back in the 1990s, I was a fanatical user of the Psion palmtops whose OS evolved into Symbian, which sported features I still miss. This video, however, suggests that the new version may mostly be about catching up with other phone OSes rather than racing ahead of them….

Posted by Harry at 12:42 pm

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