Category Archives: Nokia

Stop Buying The iPhone 4. Save Yourself Money & Get A Lumia 520 Instead

Apple has all sorts of schemes running in India to promote the iPhone 4. You can trade old devices, get it on EMI, make zero down payments and so on. But there are two facts that you cannot get away from, it costs close to 25,000 INR and it will soon be 3 years old. Three years is an eternity in the world of technology, you certainly do not want to be paying that kind of money for a device that will soon be a relic. Yes, it will get iOS 7 but that’s where Apple is so smart. A bland iPhone 4 to get iOS 7 statement doesn’t tell you that a bunch of iOS 7 features will not make it to the iPhone 4. Just as a bunch of iOS 6 features previously hadn’t. E.g. Like it was with iOS 6, you still won’t be able to take panoramas, you’ll get no filters in the camera app, and the real biggie – no AirDrop support. Plus most of the fancy animations and visuals that iOS 7 brings is a no-go too.

Further having recently used an iPhone 4 running iOS 6, I can tell you that you can immediately notice that you’re playing with old hardware. There are lags, the scrolling in apps isn’t smooth, the app launch times are slow and there are random stutters – all in all, its doesn’t feel very Apple anymore. On the other hand it still has its positivities, the 3.5″ retina display, the premium construction and for a lot of people the Apple brand name. But does it make sense to pay something like 25,000 INR for the pleasure of owning an ‘iPhone’? No.

Stop Buying The iPhone 4. Save Yourself Money & Get A Lumia 520 Instead

Here’s what you should do. Save yourself 15,000 INR and get a Lumia 520 instead. It costs about 9400 INR, comes in a bunch of colours – red and yellow being my favourites, but there are the more traditional black, white and cyan options too. The colour is an obvious talking point, and not for one second does the device look cheap, if that’s what you’re worried about. Put a 3 year old iPhone 4 on the table and a red Lumia 520 along side it, and guess which is the device that will draw more attention.

Despite having 512 MB of RAM, it is actually smoother than the iPhone. The dual-core processor helps and Windows Phone is very smooth in itself. There may be the odd app that takes a second more to resume, but overall the experience will be much better. Don’t worry too much about the apps. The basics are all there now. Facebook has a good app, so does Twitter, Foursquare, PVR, HDFC, Book My Show and Zomato – all apps I use on an everyday basis. Whats App was recently overhauled too.

Nokia’s Services = More value for money

Then, you get the Nokia goodies. Mix Radio for streaming curated playlists that are usually excellent, unlimited song downloads from a huge catalogue of songs (DRM free so you can send them via bluetooth, email them or listen to them on a PC), and finally you can even create your own stream based on artists you like. This is a big deal once you start using it, I have virtually stopped downloading music because of this.

Next there is Nokia’s mapping suit – HERE Drive, Maps, Public Transport, and City Lens. Owing to things like offline maps and great coverage, this is the best navigation solution on the phone – for most tasks it beats Google Maps as they are reliant on a data connection for everything. The Lumia 520 also has a decent camera, and comes with things like Smart Shoot and Cinemagram out of the box. With the Lumia 520 you also get a 4″ 800 x 480 screen, its no retina display (3.5″ 960×640 on the iPhone 4) but a lot of people seem to be willing to live with slightly lower pixel density in return for a bigger screen.

Thus, in the process you not only save a considerable amount of money, but you also get a device that’s pretty solid and packs a lot for its price. A friend of mine recently sold an old iPhone 4 and picked up the Lumia 520 instead; and this post is also partly a result of his experience.

My advice is this, if you don’t want to save money and get the Lumia 520, don’t. But under no circumstances should you buy the iPhone 4.

New Affordable Headphones For Nokia: Coloud Boom, Knock and Pop

Nokia makes some of the best audio accessories, speaking of which the BH 905i comes to mind and post their partnership with Monster and JBL, the Purity Pro and the JBL Power Up also are very noteworthy. The one common scheme with most of these product is that they aren’t exactly cheap, you get what you’re paying for, but that leaves the budget conscious out in the cold. To cater to that crowd, ‘young achievers’ as Nokia puts it, Nokia’s announced 3 new headphones with Zound Industries, the company behind Marshall Headphones, Molami, and Urbanears.

These three customised for Nokia headphones will come in Nokia’s definitive red, yellow and cyan colours and will also carry microphones for making calls.

New Affordable Headphones From Nokia: Coloud Boom, Knock and Pop

These headphones will be marketed under the Coloud brand, and the first of these is called the Boom. These are over ear headsets, and there will be able to suppress some of the background noise owing to their design. They will cost €27.

New Affordable Headphones From Nokia: Coloud Boom, Knock and Pop

The second of the lot are called Knock, feature an on-ear design and are lighter than the Boom. They will cost a modest €22.

New Affordable Headphones From Nokia: Coloud Boom, Knock and Pop

Finally, we have the in-ear model, Pop priced at €18.

New Affordable Headphones From Nokia: Coloud Boom, Knock and Pop

All three headsets will feature the Zound Lasso with flat cable, a nifty solution to keep them tangle free.

While Nokia’s partnership with Zound Industries doesn’t seem as deep as their work with JBL or Monster, Nokia’s certainly realised that there is a market for budget headphones and partnerships like these are a good way to cut R&D costs, while still making a profit.

Update: I have confirmed with Nokia that the Boom, Knock and Pop will feature prominent Nokia branding on the boxes, as well as the control unit that is used for accepting/ending calls etc.

Nokia has worked with Zound to make minor but relevant modifications to the headphones to fit better, and bring design improvements, specially to the Boom headphones.

More at Nokia Conversations.

Nokia’s YouTube Uploader For Lumia Is Coming Soon

Despite being amazing video capture devices due to optical image stabilisation and rich recording, Nokia’s Lumias still cannot upload videos to YouTube directly from the device. There are ways to do it, but none of them is as straightforward as using a simple app. Thankfully that’s about to change. In addition to the brand new Video Trimmer application that just went live on the Windows Phone Store today, Nokia will soon be making the YouTube uploader app available as well. Both these apps were shown off at the time of the Lumia 1020 launch, but the YouTube uploader seems to have slipped under the radar.

Nokia Innovation has a video of Nokia’s Kristina Björknäs (@bjorknas) taking about the Lumia 1020, and showing off some of its features. The YouTube uploader is mentioned at the 2:00 minute mark.

Both these apps, in addition to the Smart Camera and the Pro Camera, will be available for existing Lumia devices once they have received the upcoming Amber update.

Nokia India Paints Zebra Crossings In Colour To Raise Awareness About Pedestrian Safety

Under its #ColorIsIn inititayive, Nokia India has teamed up with the PWD Ministry, Government of Maharashtra to splash vibrant hues across 12 Zebra crossings in Mumbai as part of a campaign to raise awareness about pedestrian safety.

Nokia India Paints Zebra Crossings In Colour To Raise Awareness About Pedestrian Safety

The campaign was inaugurated by Mr. Chhaggan Bhujbal, Minister of Public Works, Government of Maharashtra, who stated, “I am very proud of this initiative since we are really starting a citizen movement that will encourage people to start using these crossings and help aid pedestrian safety. We encourage more and more Mumbaikars to come forward and join this movement.”

Nokia India Paints Zebra Crossings In Colour To Raise Awareness About Pedestrian Safety

Commenting on the initiative, Mr. P.Balaji, Managing Director, Nokia India, said, “It gives me immense pleasure to partner with the PWD Ministry for this unique campaign. Nokia’s approach to design and color is unlike any other brand in the market. Our campaign, #colorisin, is a bold new step that celebrates Nokia’s distinct design & color language and we are delighted to see it manifest in the form of colorful zebra crossings in Mumbai. Consumers love colors and we hope these beautifully colored zebra crossings will encourage them to respect pedestrian safety.”

Colouring the monotonous black and white Zebra crossings is a novel idea indeed, and should serve as a constant reminder to anyone passing by, that things need to change for the better. If nothing else, looking at colour while being stuck in a jam should also make the roads a lesser eye sore. Nokia is also looking to bring this initiate to other cities, so the next time you’re in Delhi or Bangalore and you see colourful crossings, you’ll know why.

Stephen Elop Takes A Very Awkward Question, Aces It

At Nokia’s Lumia 1020 keynote, Stephen Elop had to take one of the most awkward public questions a CEO has had to take in a long time. It was a really public setting with the entire world’s tech press in attendance, and the event was also being live streamed across the world. Five minutes before the question, Ralph de la Vega, President and CEO-AT&T Mobility had been on stage, and Stephen Elop had just called AT&T a great partner.

Then comes the extremely awkward question. The lady from Forbes.com called AT&T a horrible partner, while praising Nokia’s Lumia devices. There is a lot of merit in that question, and you can see that everyone agreed with her by the cheers the question got, but what could Elop possibly say to go out of a high?

There are lots of ways that you can answer that question, after all most CEOs are also masters of saying a lot without saying anything, but I really liked how Elop tackled it.

Instead simply saying that they’ll working more closely, train more people and the usual press speak, he acknowledged a more fundamental issue. Making Lumia work is Nokia’s problem and not AT&T’s. While they might also want a third ecosystem at some level, there’s only so much they’ll do.

Elop’s answer is testament to the challenger mindset that he’s been talking about for the last few months, and it is refreshing to see a CEO being honest about a company’s challenges.

For once, Nokia had managed to knock this keynote right out of the park, and ending on such a tricky question could have taken from the experience just a little bit, but Elop handled it well, and for that he deserves credit.

Lumia 1020 Camera Samples

The 41 MP Lumia with a back side illuminated sensor, a 6 part Zeiss lens, OIS and more has just been announced. One of the really nice things about the Lumia 1020 is that it captures two photos everytime you press the shutter, a full resolution image (34 MP or 38 MP depending on whether you’re shooting in the 16:9 or 4:3 resolution) and a oversampled 5 MP photo that’s extremely crisp owing to each pixel in it being created from 7 pixels.

Another really nice addition is to shoot first and zoom later. So even after you have taken the shot, you can reframe the photo. That means you can zoom in (or out), focus on an entirely different part of the image, change the angle and so on.

So what kind of photos can you expect from the device? Here are some samples, click through for the full resolution photos.

34 MP shots (16:9): Some of them are over 10 MB in size.

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Regular 5 MP photo samples: These are photos you’ll email, post to facebook and generally share. Like earlier, click through for the full 5MP photo.

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Low Light:

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

If you’ve forgotten what’s the advantage of shooting with a 41 MP sensor, here’s a reminder.

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

Lumia 1020 Sample Photos

That is the power of having just an incredible sensor in your phone. You can go from barely seeing the girl, to a full blown portrait.

While these photos are from Nokia’s press site, over the years I have grown to trust Nokia’s samples to be a fairly accurate example of what the phone is capable of. While our day to day results will not be as impressive as these (Nokia does multiple photo sessions, has 100s of discards, perfect lighting, professionals taking photos etc), most people will be happy if they manage to even get photos that are 70% like these.

If you’d to see even more photos, this is the link to Nokia’s press site. If you are interested in the details behind this engineering feat, here is Nokia’s official whitepaper explaining everything – both hardware and software.