Editorials

Windows Phone to take BlackBerry?

Windows Phone has been called as BlackBerry's last nail in its coffin, by Ovum analyst Nick Dillon. Due to the reportedly increased levels of security and platform integration, Dillon expects Microsoft to succeed in the business and enterprise market, where RIM has held much of the space.

While we remain unaware of exactly what to expect in the next version of Windows Phone 8, Microsoft has given the green light on pre-orders to be made available for both partner hardware and software copies of Windows 8. Ovum forecasts Microsoft's mobile platform will increase its marketshare from under five per-cent in the UK to 13 per-cent within five years.

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The next version of Windows Phone is just around the corner, with it comes some fantastic hardware and the promise of new features. But what about the next gen apps?

While we have spent a great deal of time looking at the coming phones and peeking at the new underlying operating system did we forget that it’s the apps that matter? While we know that existing apps will work fine on the new OS, what lays in store for those dedicated Windows Phone 8 apps?

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In his latest letter to shareholders, Steve Ballmer has reiterated the desires of the company to become a devices and services company, contradicting what Charlie Kindel, former Windows Phone General Manager, had to say about the hardware dream with the Surface.

With the coming release of Windows 8 and the subsequent decision for Microsoft to dive in and develop its own tablet, it’s becoming clearer where this is taking them. A company that makes and delivers the entire stack. From cloud services to the device in your hand, this appears to be their vision.

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With yesterday’s announcement of the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 coming to AT&T, the word that caught our eye and yours was “exclusive”. Even Rogers is now in on the "exclusive" action. The term was applied to both Lumia devices, although as pointed out in our forums, the 820’s exclusiveness to AT&T was dropped from Nokia’s site later in the day. 

The tech’o’sphere has responded quite negatively to the news if only because the Lumia 920 has built up such demand that many people are cheering for its success. That success though depends on how many people can actually buy it, which in turn translates into carrier availability. If the Lumia 920 is only available on 1 of 4 major US carriers, well that’s certainly less people than had it been on two or three carriers. A pretty obvious impact.

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Will only AT&T have the 920 in the US?

In today’s press release from AT&T making the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 official, the word “exclusive” unfortunately was tossed in to the mix raising some red flags.

When addressing the Lumia 920 specifically it was used in this context:

“Exclusive to our customers and featuring unique innovations…the Lumia 920 will be one of the hottest phones for the holidays,”

To us that sounds like AT&T has managed to make a deal with Nokia to be the only carrier offering the flagship phone. While the Lumia 820 has been expected to go to T-Mobile and even Verizon, the 920 was always a toss up. Many people have been hoping big Red would finally get a top of the line Nokia Windows Phone. In fact, an earlier report from PhoneArena strongly suggested that to be the case.

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Well  hello there, what's your number?

This morning as expected, AT&T formally announced the Nokia Lumia 820 and 920 are headed for the carrier “in November”. No pricing or exact release dates were given.

But there was a nice little surprise with the Lumia 920 reveal: it comes in Cyan.

Many people were shocked that when Nokia revealed the 920 that the prominent color was AWOL from the lineup. The only variations shown were yellow, red, white, matte grey and black and in fact, the Nokia website reflects that offering.

Cyan though had become the unofficial-official color of the Lumia series from Nokia and to have it missing from the 920 seemed like an odd omission. We pointed out earlier the influence of the color on Microsoft's own designs too.

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Concept Surface phone (Image via Jonas-Daehnert)

It has been a few months since we last heard anything about Microsoft making its own Windows Phone again, so it looks like we’re about due.

A new “report” from the not so trusty China Times straightforwardly states that Microsoft will have its own Windows Phone launch sometime in early 2013 and that they’ve been working on it with a hardware partner for the last four months.

Evidence? Sources? Who needs those things on the internet!

However, some of our readers have asked to weigh in on the matter so instead of just ignoring this story (what we would prefer to do) we’ll give our thoughts on it. Obviously, with our snarky “who needs sources” banter above, you can get a feel for what side we come down on this topic.

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Yesterday we revealed to you the current Windows Phone 8 SDK, giving you a brief tour of some of the new features. Nothing exactly new was revealed that had not already been discussed or leaked out previously, but it was still interesting to see it in action.

Today we were planning on a follow up video to catch up on some of the areas we missed and truth be told, there wasn’t anything earth shattering their either (though the new Office does look quite nice).

Unfortunately, black helicopters surrounded our headquarters here in New York and any plans for an immediate follow up have been placed on hold. And since we’re not in the business of ruining surprise parties for people, we’re okay with that...

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Our poll results show Nokia still riding high

Windows Phone Central conducted a poll over the weekend about which “hero” Windows Phone 8 device readers were yearning to make their own. And although carrier offerings will ultimately affect user choice, word on the street is that a lot of these flagship phones will be widely available on launch in early November.

With this poll, we had the largest turnout of respondents, resulting in some solid data. The question of which is the most desired Windows Phone 8 device is quite stark and will make for some interesting discussion on Windows Phone 8, OEMs and where the market is headed.

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Nokia shows off the Lumia 920 at the 2012 Photokina camera trade show

Nokia is busy making the rounds promoting the Lumia 920 Windows Phone and this past week they set up shop at the 2012 Photokina trade show. If you aren't familiar with Photokina it is the largest trade show for the photographic and imaging industries. The equivalent for smartphones would be the annual Consumer Electronics Show or Mobile World Congress.

Nokia jumped on the opportunity to set up shop at the Carl Zeiss booth at Photokina to show off the Pureview Cameras on both the Lumia 920 and Pureview 808. A demo box was set up, like we saw at the New York reception, to demo the low light performance of these cameras.  Nokia reps also demoed the image stabilization and how it improves video quality.

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HTC 8S Windows Phone

HTC has officially entered the Windows Phone 8 arena with the announcement of the 8X and 8S Windows Phone. The announcement completes the October tri-fecta that included similar announcements from Samsung and Nokia.

We've all had time to digest the HTC announcements and here are our first impressions and thoughts on the latest Windows Phone devices to come to light.

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My next Windows Phone - Jay Bennett

So the question that has been put to me by our Chief Editor is; which Windows Phone 8 will be my next? It's a very tough one to answer right now, even being privileged as I am to have seen a glimpse at the full offering I can expect at launch. However I don't want to just focus on the potential of devices in the future, Windows Phone offerings have been around for 2 years now, and we can learn a lot by assessing the previous generations.

Almost every person I know has owned an HTC device at one time or another, and it saddens me to say I can't share that. I very nearly bought the HD7 as my launch device until the Omnia 7 reviewed so well that it became the clear choice (personal opinion, sorry HD7 owners). Every HTC windows phone offering has also seemed very reliable, my father's HD7 serves him perfectly to this day, whilst my Omnia 7 had an annoying audio stutter bug for the first year of it's life. 

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Asus seems to have leaked it’s pricing for its coming Windows 8 tablets and convertibles prompting some to leap to their word processors and get on the fear, uncertainty and doubt bandwagon.

We all know that pricing for tablets is an extremely sensitive subject, just yesterday we looked at Steve Ballmer’s interview to see what he had said about Surface pricing. Even though some sites announced there were new details surrounding pricing, we found it was the same message we already knew. Headlines such as “pricing comes in high, demand likely low” and “Windows 8 Tablets: Born to fail” seem wildly premature. We take a look as these leaked prices and what they could mean.

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The Seattle Times interviewed CEO Steve Ballmer recently and the man behind Microsoft is sounding quite confident about this year’s upcoming launches.

During the interview, Ballmer gave his impression of how momentous this year’s launch line-up will be for Microsoft and he even pulled out two Lumia 920 phones from his pockets. Many have speculated wildly on this interview in relation to Surface pricing, so we thought it was time we looked at what exactly was said…

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My next Windows Phone - Rich Edmonds

I'll be after the successor to the HTC TITAN

It’s a difficult question to answer, “Which Windows Phone would you buy next?” It's especially difficult when we only have three announced Windows Phones for Apollo. We’ve seen what both Samsung and Nokia have to offer in terms of hardware for the next version of Microsoft’s mobile operating system, but there’s one major partner that has still to take the floor. Yes, I’m talking about HTC. I would very much like to purchase the upcoming HTC 8X.

I hear the shouts and screams. "Why?!" Well, the Taiwanese manufacturer has supported Windows Phone since the beginning (as well as Windows Mobile) with a number of devices. I've always liked their first generation Windows Phones. I’ve made my opinions clear in the past how the company could have taken the platform by storm through actively promoting their hardware. HTC then brought us the Radar and my favourite Windows Phone – the massive TITAN. Sporting a thin design, comfortable body and being fairly light-weight made it a no brainer for me.

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My Next Windows Phone - Mateo Nunez

My Next Windows Phone is.....

The Lumia 920 should be the phone of the year. Nokia has pushed innovation with their hardware design and their customer care. Nokia did not make any specific announcements about what carrier’s will get which phones. Which brings me to my problem. I do not want to switch to ATT because I can’t afford it. I am pretty positive that the Lumia 920 might be an ATT exclusive, no official announcements have been made.  

The Lumia 820, which is a great phone but doesn’t have the new Pure View camera. I like the 820 because I feel that a 4.3” screen is a perfect size for me personally, and the removable back covers are a nice touch.  I was hoping for a larger battery, but 1650mAH is pretty good and the screen isn’t as good as the 920 but still pretty classy.

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Behind those smiles is concern

This was another important week for the mobile giant from Cupertino.  Apple continued to improve upon its iPhone product line by launching the iPhone 5. While I believe Apple delivered exactly what investors need, none of this really changes the story for the two major comeback players - Nokia and RIM.

So let’s focus on Nokia here.  We already know they did a poor job of unveiling the Lumia 920 but I didn’t think the stock market reaction made sense.  Sure, Nokia left a lot of information off the table but they still showed off a very nice phone running Windows Phone 8, proving their lineup is becoming interesting again.  And as much as I love Apple products (I really do), I recognize that people don’t just want to buy iClones.  Apple is an amazing company with amazing products.  But they aren’t for everybody.

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Google is getting bold, telling OEMs 'no' on other OSs

Update: Google's Andy Rubin finally responds. See after the break...

A bit of a controversy is slowly erupting over Acer’s widely publicized plan to use the Aliyun OS in a new line of low-cost smartphones, mostly destined for the Chinese market. Aliyun OS is a Linux-based system developed by the Chinese company Alibaba Group and offered a way for OEMs like Acer to diversify.

Acer has now abruptly canceled plans after Google “expressed concerns” over the announcement.  Though Acer still wants to use the Aliyun OS, the move by Google is being interpreted as a hostile action to block competition. Reportedly Google threatened to cancel Acer’s license to make Android devices, which many consider playing hardball.

The question is, how far is Google willing to go to maintain dominance?

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My next Windows Phone - Seth Brodeur

As an IT consultant, my approach to technology is one best described as practical. I examine the circumstances and then try to decide which solution will best fit the needs of my clients.  So when we here at Windows Phone Central were asked to write a piece about what our next Windows Phone device would be, I took that same practical approach on deciding how I would replace my current phone, the HTC Arrive.

I use my Arrive in every facet of my life: personal/work, information/entertainment. It’s because of this that I am looking for a phone that is practical, versatile and does a lot of things well; a Swiss army phone, if you will. For this reason, I am choosing the Nokia Lumia 820. Let me explain.

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Did Apple's announcement help Nokia buy time?

Just over one week ago as Nokia took to the stage to announce their new Windows Phone 8 devices, their stock value dropped 16% in a single day upon the news. To many of us, this was confusing if only because the devices themselves really seemed great—but the problem was (and still is) the uncertainty created by not announcing price and availability.

We had an excellent analysis of the situation by our own Chris Umiastowski and noted how this was probably temporary and not warranted.

Since that time, Nokia’s stock has slowly climbed back up but there was another hurdle in the distance: Apple’s iPhone 5 announcement. The anticipation was if Apple announced something truly groundbreaking—revolutionary instead of evolutionary—it would further damage perception of Nokia to investors. The iPhone 5 is already one of the top selling phones in the world and it just got way better? That’s bad if you’re betting on Nokia.

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