Category Archives: Windows Phone

WhatsApp Coming To Windows Phone Mango

The one key app that was missing from the Windows Phone repertoire was the ever popular cross platform messaging client WhatsApp. WhatsApp is already available on BlackBerry, iPhone, Symbian and Android based devices and packs in the ability to share photos, location, video and audio.

Earlier today, the official @WhatsApp twitter account sent out the above cryptic tweet that all but confirms that the application will soon be making its way onto Windows Phone Mango.

The Mango release of Windows Phone unlocks the necessary developer APIs required for WhatApp to work and judging by the tweet, the official launch cannot be very far. Nokia for one has been investing a huge amount of money promoting WhatApp and it would have been odd if its newer (Windows) phones didn’t support that application.

What Would You Like To See In Nokia’s Windows Phones?

Nokia has had just under a year to work on Windows Phone devices and in this short period of time it would be a little harsh to expect miracles and a distinct Nokia flavour to its Windows Phone offerings. The device(s) that will be shown off at Nokia World next month will possibly be based on pre-existing designs, but Mobile World Congress 2012 isn’t too far either and Nokia is already promising a big show there. That’s when we’ll see the first made from a scratch Nokia Windows Phone devices.

What Would You Like To See In Nokia's Windows Phones?

So the question is, what would you like to see in Nokia’s future Windows Phone devices? Lets start with a few basics:

  • Customisation: Nokia is the only Windows phone licensee who has the liberty to make changes to the Windows phone UI and that’s a huge concession Microsoft made to get Nokia onboard. So it is legitimate to expect Nokia make use of that ability, specially after they fought for it. However Nokia’s already on record to say that they will not change just for the sake of change and will preserve the basic tenants of the UI. The Windows phone devices released this year would probably be vanilla WP, with a distinct Nokia flavour only coming in 2012.
  • FM Transmitter: With the N78, Nokia started putting an FM transmitter inside its devices and since then a lot of its high end smartphones have packed that functionality. The N8, N97 and even the N9 have this capability. This is probably the only feature that is unique to Nokia devices and none of the other popular smartphone manufacturers have the functionality in place. I absolutely love having it, and I know people who are still holding onto their N97s just because of this feature. Over the years, we’ve seen the number of devices getting a FM transmitter drop and I really hope that Nokia equips their Windows phone lineup with it. It is a unique selling point, please tap it. With the right advertising, it would be a huge selling point.
  • Mass Storage: Nokia devices (both S40 and Symbian) have since long supported the ‘Mass Storage’ profile that lets you use your smartphone’s internal storage like any other flash drive. This is great for drag and drop file management and needless to say very convenient. Windows phone unfortunately doesn’t support this functionality out of the box and this is where I’d like to see Nokia use its ability to customize the Windows phone experience and make the jump for their existing customers seamless.
  • Maps: Nokia’s made it clear that Nokia Maps are coming to Windows Phone based devices and on faster hardware, the mapping experience will better than ever. The only question is whether we’ll be seeing them at Nokia World or later in the year. My guess is Nokia World.
  • Large Displays: With screen sizes going up by the minute, phones with 4.3″ displays are becoming common. The largest screen size on Nokia phones has been the 4″ display on the X7 and E7. One reason why Nokia probably hasn’t experimented with larger displays is because they didn’t want to go any higher without improving the screen resolution and changing that with Symbian devices would have broken a few apps. With Windows phone they have the license to go bigger and I would love to see 4.3″ devices from Nokia. I would also like it better if the screens were wider, which in turn would make the portrait QWERTY experience better.

What hardware or software features are you looking forward to? Let us know in the comments section below!

Nokia Chimes In On Google’s Motorola Acquisition While Its Share Prices Shoot Up

We’ve heard from the major Android manufactures on what they feel about Google’s Motorola Mobility acquisition, but it would be interesting to hear what Nokia has to say about this. After all, pre Feb 11 Nokia was contemplating putting its eggs in the Android basket. Lets look at their official statement:

“This further reinforces our belief that opportunities for the growth of Nokia’s smartphone business will be greatest with Windows Phone. This could prove to be a massive catalyst for the Windows Phone ecosystem. Additionally, with our respective intellectual property portfolios, Nokia and Microsoft are working together to build and nurture an innovative ecosystem that benefits consumers, operators, developers and other device manufacturers.”

Nokia seems to believe (hopes?) that Google’s owning Motorola would drive a wedge between them and players like HTC and Samsung who already make Windows Phone devices. May be if Nokia had gone the Android way, then Google would’ve cross licensed Nokia’s treasure trove of patents and have not needed to buy Motorola Mobility, but then again Google wasn’t willing to cut Nokia a special deal so may be Nokia would’ve repaid them in the same coin and asked for a pretty steep price.

Meanwhile, Nokia’s stock has risen by over 12.5% since the news of Moto’s acquisition first broke. This looks like a recognition of how undervalued Nokia’s stock is and the rise is perhaps being fulled by speculation that Microsoft might just follow in Google’s lead and buy Nokia. It could also mean that the market seems to think that today’s deal might just benefit Nokia and its Windows Phone decision.

Nokia’s statement also underlines Nokia’s strong patent portfolio, which combined with Microsoft is as strong as any. Infact, even without adding Microsoft’s patents into the mix, Nokia has already forced Apple to pay up in a licensing deal.

[via: TIMN, ZCJ]

Thoughts: Nokia To Exit Symbian, Low End Phone Business In The US, No N9, Plans A Big Windows Phone Launch

As Engadget reports, the word on the street is that the Nokia N9 will not be coming to the US of A, at least not right now, which effectively means it isn’t ever. But the more interesting piece of information comes from All Things D, which based on an interview with former Microsoft employee and now the head of Nokia US, Chris Weber, reports that Nokia is looking to exit the Symbian and feature phone market in the US and concentrate solely on their Windows Phone portfolio.

Chris Weber, goes onto say “When we launch Windows Phones we will essentially be out of the Symbian business, the S40 business, etc… it will be Windows Phone and the accessories around that. The reality is if we are not successful with Windows Phone, it doesn’t matter what we do (elsewhere).” Currently whatever little market share Nokia has in the US is because of their low cost feature phones and apparently that’s not making as much money as they would ideally like. But the most interesting part is that from now on Nokia will exclusively look to sell their devices via the carriers in the US, which might spell the end for unlocked Nokias stateside.

Nokia has bet the company on Windows Phone and clearly they are read for a all or nothing gamble. Aiding in that endeavour would be tons on marketing muscle more that anything Nokia’s every done. So much so that the US will be getting bulk of advertising dollars, “significantly larger than anything we have done in the past and the most we will invest in any market worldwide,” according to Weber.

I cannot say I’m surprised. The decision to kill Symbian and low cost phones in the US more that anything, is about changing the company’s image. They want to be seen as a premium smartphone manufacturer and not somebody who’s good for cheap disposable phones.

As for the Nokia N9, it should come as no shock that that it isn’t coming to major markets around the world. Nokia believes in what they are doing with Windows Phone and launching a MeeGo Harmattan device one month before the Windows Phone devices isn’t sending the right message. They’ve clearly made up their mind about the N9 being a niche device, a last hurray for their own development teams, nothing more. Chances are that come Q1 2012, you wouldn’t even hear about it and the everyone who’s lusting after one will have moved onto the next shinny piece of hardware, or so Nokia hopes.

The only thing that I am a little surprised about is the fact that Nokia is looking to make carriers their exclusive retail channel. May be that’s the price they are having to pay in order to get in bed with the carriers but at a time when even Apple is selling iPhones unlocked, one does hope that it wouldn’t be the case.

One last thing, Weber points out that “We’ll develop for North America and make the phones globally available and applicable, … In fact, evidence of that is that the first Windows Phones that will ship are being done by our group in San Diego”. That has worked well for Apple and to an extent for Google, it’ll be interesting to see if the rub of the green goes Nokia’s way too.

We sure hope so.

WSJ Details The Run Up To The Nok-MS Deal: “Nokia’s Flirtations Put the Fear of Google Into Microsoft”

The behind the scenes stories about what goes on in the dark corridors of billion dollar politics is always an interesting read and the Wall Street Journal has just put together a compelling read about how Microsoft went all out to woo Nokia. As it turns out, Android was very much on the table till the very end.

WSJ Details The Run Up To The Nok-MS Deal:

“Mr. Ballmer and his lieutenants headed for Helsinki in January to show how serious Microsoft was about cutting a deal. The plan was for Mr. Ballmer to fly privately into Helsinki, where he would then travel to a private Nokia facility, Mr. Elop added.

Mr. Elop said he instead got a call from Mr. Ballmer informing him that because of snow and fog, the plane wouldn’t be able to land in Helsinki. About to run out of fuel, Mr. Ballmer instead landed in Stockholm. At that point, the fastest way for Mr. Ballmer to reach Helsinki was to fly commercially, Mr. Elop said, despite the greater risk that he could have been recognized.

While Mr. Ballmer was waiting quietly in the lounge, his cover was nearly blown when he was paged by name over the loudspeaker because of an error related to his plane ticket”.

Its a recommended read – “Nokia’s Flirtations Put the Fear of Google Into Microsoft“.

[Image Credit: TOI]

Nokia Fans Breathe Easy – Multitasking & Other Improvements Coming To Windows Phone

When Nokia announced that its was making Windows Phone its primary smartphone operating system, in addition to the dismay that people felt because of the new position both Symbian and MeeGo were slated to be relegated to, was the fact that Nokia could well be moving towards a platform that offers a much weaker proposition in terms of basic capabilities like copy/paste, multitasking and so on.

Thankfully, all of you can now rest easy as Microsoft has in its MWC keynote announced that a bunch of new functionality, including multitasking, that is coming to Windows Phone in 2011 itself.

Nokia Fans Can Breathe Easy - Multitasking & A Bunch Of Other Improvements Are Coming To Windows Phone

(The new Windows Phone task switcher, activated by long pressing the back button)

Upcoming highlights include:

  • Copy and paste functionality via first major update, coming in the next month
  • Twitter integration directly into the People Hub in 2011
  • Support for Office documents in the cloud in 2011
  • Dramatically enhanced Web browser experience based on IE9 in 2011
  • A new wave of multitasking applications in 2011 (Apparently includes third party apps, although it is more about running background services than actual ‘multitasking’, will update)
  • Targeting significant volume of Nokia Windows Phones in 2012

Nokia Fans Can Breathe Easy - Multitasking & A Bunch Of Other Improvements Are Coming To Windows Phone

  • Also worth mentioning is the upcoming Xbox Live Kinect Windows Phone companion.

The bottom line is that Microsoft is quickly looking to fill in all the gaps in the Microsoft Windows Phone experience and we will not have to hope for Nokia and its ability to differentiate to brings to us such basic functionality that we have comes to expect from Nokia devices, instead they can concentrate something a lot more meaningful.

The timeline for these updates is 2011, while Nokia is also aiming to release a Nokia Windows Phone this year. So from the looks of things, everything should work out in time. You can read the full press release here.

[Image Credit: Engadget]