Microsoft and B&N Nook announced their agreement back in 2012 with Microsoft investing over $300 million in Nook Media. Since then, the only good thing that came out the deal is the Windows 8 Nook app. Nook is yet to launch their Windows Phone app, and responding to a customer query on Twitter today, Nook said that they are looking forward to launching the best reading experience on Windows Phone 8 in the near future. The tweet was deleted by Nook after few hours.
The recent 8-K filings revealed the updated agreement between Nook Media and Microsoft allowing NOOK Media to cease efforts with respect to a Windows phone app. Microsoft is planning to launch their own Consumer Reading platform app with content powered by Nook Media.
Read more about the updated agreement between Microsoft and Nook here.
The Times of India reports that multiple sources are confirming that Microsoft is offering the Windows Phone OS for free to Lava and Karbonn.
The two Indian OEMs were part of 8 new OEMs that signed up to produce Windows Phones at Mobile World Congress 2014.
"For our planned Windows Phone handsets, we are not paying Microsoft a licence fee. The company is obviously exploring new models for Windows Phone. It must have realized that the older model where it licenced the OS did not work out well, even with Nokia’s support," a senior executive with an Indian phone company told Times of India.
"Free Windows Phone is part of a strategic partnership. For both Microsoft and us, it is an experiment. Windows Phone still doesn’t have lot of appeal in the market but now that it doesn’t have any licence fee, it becomes easier for us to experiment with it," said another senior executive.
Microsoft did not comment on any specifics, but a spokesman said:
"We have extensive programmes to help our partners build great devices. Our licensing model allows us to partner with OEMs across the world."
It is expected other OEMs will be able to take advantage of similar deals.
Manasi Yadav, a senior market analyst at IDC said the "free" Windows Phone will definitely help Microsoft.
"If Microsoft has decided to waive the licence fee for Windows Phone, it is great news for local phone makers. Local phone makers are comfortable with Android. They are still not sure of the appeal of Windows Phone. If the OS is free to use, they will feel more confident while experimenting with it in the market.”
We already know that Microsoft is revamping the stock camera app present in Windows Phone 8 in the upcoming release. We saw that in some previously leaked screenshots which also revealed the new burst mode option and the new UI. UnleashThePhones today posted the video demo showing this new Microsoft camera app UI in action.
As you can see in the video above, the viewfinder now has three option on the right (Single photo, Burst photo and video) and the left side of the view finder can be customized by the user with up to 5 different camera settings such as Flash, Scene modes, etc,. Apart from these, there is also an option in Settings for enabling photos layout based on grouping by date & time.
I’m sure many of us will be having tough time choosing between Microsoft Camera and Nokia Camera, one is focused on speed and simplicity and another on features and photo quality.
South by Southwest(SXSW) is one of the premier festivals featuring music, film and interactive in the US. Thousands of people attend SXSW every year and Microsoft is using it to promote their latest flagship Windows Phone device Lumia Icon. Windows Phone is teaming up with KEXP, from March 12th to 14th you’ll get ultimate access to a free all-ages South by Southwest Showcase Series. They are also giving Nokia Lumia Icon to all KEXP staff in Austin to cover the event.
Not only do they have the ultimate concert recording device, but KEXP knows music inside-and-out (a prerequisite for working at one of the country’s best radio stations). End result? You get coverage that really matters. They will be capturing live bands and behind-the-scenes footage and interviews, recording it all in beautiful 1080p high definition and capturing every note with four dynamic high-range microphones.
The event will be hosted by Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop and features performances from bands like Yellow Ostrich, Avi Buffalo, Vertical Scratchers and many more. So don’t miss it—follow Windows Phone on Facebook, Twitter and Vine.
via: Windows team blog
PCMag today released their Readers’ Choice Awards 2014 results. Once again Nokia Windows Phone devices topped the results in AT&T. Nokia Windows Phones received highest overall satisfaction rating 8.9. Users highly rated email and other work related communications, photo and video camera experiences on Windows Phone platform. Users also acknowledged the shortcomings of Windows Phones’ app offerings, rating only 6.3 for availability of apps, compared to Apple’s 9.4 and Samsung’s 9.1.
Last year, Nokia’s Windows Phones received the highest overall satisfaction rating (9.2) among all phone types and carriers, earning our Readers’ Choice award. This year Nokia again captures a Readers’ Choice for AT&T smartphones with an overall satisfaction rating that’s unequaled by any of its competitors. The rating slipped a little from last year, down to 8.9; but respondents did rate the phones 9.0 or higher on more than half of the drill-down satisfaction questions that we asked, including a 9.4 on our 0-10 scale for satisfaction with work email and other work-related communications. Thankfully, it’s not all work and no play. Nokia’s Windows Phones also receive 9.4 ratings for text messaging and picture messaging, and a 9.3 for satisfaction with its camera, and 9.2 for satisfaction with shooting video.
Read more from the link below.
Acer’s EMEA VP of Smartphones Allen Burnes in an interview to MobileNews said that his company is still in conversations with Microsoft in building Windows Phone devices. Acer already tried its hand in Windows Phone market with low cost Allegro WP 7.5 device and after that Acer didn’t release any new devices.
During the interview, Allen commented that Windows Phone OS is “powerful” in terms of its appeal to both consumers and enterprises, and he expects it will exceed industry expectations. He said Acer can start making Windows Phone devices again only if Microsoft increases marketing activities.
“With Android, we have seen Google’s roadmap and we know it is going to get cleaned up but at the moment it is not clean.
“Windows Phone is a strong OS. But it faces an issue that is not associated with its design. That is a lack of marketing. As a handset manufacturer I have to drive my brand.
“If you look at that OS, it is a utilisation of avatars on Xbox – so it is very powerful for consumers; security-wise it is very powerful, enterprise-wise it is very powerful.
While IDC predicts Windows Phone market share will be 10 per cent in 2017, Allen Burnes thinks it will be more than that. It’s good to see people in top positions are confident of Windows Phone platform’s future.
The Nokia X is promised to be a rather dynamic range of handsets which an extensive roadmap, and are already undercutting Lumia handsets in price.
On the surface Microsoft is supporting Nokia’s initiative, and echoing the Nokia’s Lumia funnel rationalization.
Interestingly soon after the announcement however Microsoft posted the following statement by Frank X. Shaw, Microsoft’s Corporate Vice President of Communications.
There’s been lots of speculation about what this announcement means for Microsoft and about our pending acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services business. Here are a couple of points to put things into context.
First, our transaction with Nokia has not yet closed. Today, we operate as two independent companies as required by antitrust law, and we will until the acquisition is complete. The anticipated close timeframe for the acquisition remains end of the first quarter of 2014.
Second, we’re pleased to see Microsoft services like Skype, OneDrive and Outlook.com being introduced on these devices. This provides the opportunity to bring millions of people, particularly in growth markets, into the Microsoft family. The Skype team on Monday announced an offer in select markets for the first customers who purchase a Nokia X, one month of Skype’s Unlimited World Subscription. Read the Skype blog for more details.
Finally, our primary smartphone strategy remains Windows Phone, and our core device platform for developers is the Windows platform.
It is a fascinating time in the industry today. The rate of improvements in devices, the breadth of services offered, the way consumers and businesses are using devices of all shapes and sizes to do more – it is a reminder to all of us that what is considered status quo in Barcelona this year has the potential to look very different in the rear view mirror a year from now.
While some have said Microsoft is telegraphing their intent to drop Windows Phone I suspect its the future of another handset range which is looking rather questionable.
What do our readers think? Let us know below.
Popular mobile game developer Gameloft has once again partnered with Marvel to bring the most “amazing” Spider-Man experience on smartphones and tablets. The game will feature an action-packed, open-world adventure showcasing characters from Sony Pictures’ upcoming The Amazing Spider-Man 2 movie, coming to theaters this April.
Players can expect to web-sling through a free-roam Manhattan that increases the city size and detail of the first game, making it the ultimate playground to show off Spider-Man’s impressive web-swinging, wall-climbing, web-shooting and fighting abilities. Spider-Man embarks on a nonstop, unpredictable action-adventure, as he rushes to save New York City from the chaos of a disastrous crime wave. Combined with an original story inspired by the film, the stage is set for Spidey’s greatest battle against film villains Electro and Green Goblin, as well as other iconic foes inspired by more than 50 years of comics.
The Amazing Spider-Man 2 will be released for Windows Phone devices in April 2014.
With HERE Maps powering Microsoft’s mapping services, what’s the best way to report wrong locations info or add new location info to HERE Maps? Nokia has created a tool called HERE Maps Creator which allows you to do this with ease. With Map Creator people around the world can make changes to the map, such as adding new roads, trails or places and updating road or place information, to keep HERE fresh and up to date.
Unlike other community mapping solutions, we work closely with expert mapping communities, who want to contribute with their local expertise to HERE maps, building long lasting relationships through tailored programs and personalized trainings. We have more than a thousand people spread across the globe working closely with experts at universities, GIS groups, local authorities, first responders, industry chambers and others to keep up with the world as it changes.
Nokia is already working with more than 400 communities in more than 100 countries and they are expanding to Map Creator to expert communities in North America and Western Europe. To maintain accuracy and ensure map quality, HERE has built a community map moderation system that allows both our HERE team as well as the community at large to verify edits before integrating them into the base map. Read more from the link below.
Source: HERE Maps blog
Wireless Power Consortium (WPC) which drives Qi’s adoption across mobile devices, cars, infrastructure, accessories, and products today announced that Microsoft has joined its board. Nokia is already part of this board and actively developing accessories and mobile phones with Qi wireless charging. So, Microsoft joining this board should not surprise us. Another possibility is that Microsoft may be working on some Surface accessories that supports Qi wireless charging.
“Qi leads the way in wireless charging with the fastest advances in inductive and resonance technology while ensuring compatibility with the entire 40+ million strong Qi ecosystem. That means that today and tomorrow, Qi products will continue to have the best features and will always work at any Qi charging spot, in the home, office, car and public locations.”
Read full press release after the break.
Strangely just when the deal between Microsoft and Nokia should be nearing completion opposition appears only to be growing.
After Chinese OEMs complained of potential patent abuse, a Korean trade association has raised the same issue, reports BusinessKorea.
Korea Electronics Association (KEA) submitted a petition to the Fair Trade Commission (FTC) on March 7 with the Korea Software Industry Association, the Korea Semiconductor Industry Association, and the Korea Battery Industry Association, claiming that Microsoft is likely to keep Korean manufacturers in check by means of Nokia’s patents.
Korean companies are particularly concerned over the possibility of Nokia turning itself into a patent troll through the acquisition because the deal would turn Nokia into a non-practicing entity they would be free to enforce patent cases without any possibility of retaliation.
“As a mobile phone maker, Nokia rarely exercised its patent rights because of its cross-licensing with Samsung Electronics, Apple and the like, but now it can launch patent lawsuits or demand an increase in royalties without any limitation,” said KEA lawyer Hwang Eun-jeong, adding, “At the same time, Microsoft can expand its mobile phone business while keeping Samsung and Apple at bay by utilizing Nokia as a sort of cannon fodder.”
“The FTC needs to look deeply into the possible impact from the acquisition,” the KEA explained, continuing, “We also suggested an approval on condition of Microsoft’s acquisition of not only the business unit but also its patents.”
The deal has already won approvals in the US and Europe in December 2013. The FTC is carrying out the examination in Korea.
China is proving to be an unexpectedly high hurdle to cross as Microsoft strives to purchase Nokia’s handset division.
In the run up to approving the deal, China’s Ministry of Commerce held a seminar on the 3rd March to hear the Nokia-Microsoft case.
At the event many smaller Chinese OEMs petitioned the Ministry of Justice to prevent Microsoft and Nokia from charging significant fees for the use of their patents.
Digitimes reports that Google is pressuring Asus to drop plans to release an Android tablet that runs both Android and Windows.
The search giant is supposedly unhappy that such tablets would disproportionately benefit Microsoft and Intel while cutting into Android market share.
While Digitimes does not mention them, we expect Google will be equally unhappy with dual-boot smartphones. We have recently heard that Karbonn is planning to release such a handset in around 3 months.
While Microsoft is trying to increase the penetrance of Windows phone by making it more available to consumers and OEMs it is not universally agreed that the dual-boot strategy is beneficial to Windows developers, due to the increased likelihood that users will use popular Android apps rather than exploring the growing Windows/ Windows Phone Store.
If true, do our readers think this may be a blessing in disguise? Let us know below.