Editorials

If you want the best smartphone camera right now, you buy a Nokia Lumia 1020. It’s been that way ever since the Lumia 1020 launched on AT&T here in the United States a little over six months ago. After the initial US availability of the device in July, it slowly showed up around the world on other carriers over the next few months.

It’s not a wildly popular device like the Lumia 520. The Lumia 1020 was never designed to move huge volumes of sales. Instead the Lumia 1020 was as an exercise in combining elegant hardware, innovative software and the best possible mobile imaging capabilities into a smartphone. It's unashamedly a niche device.

We’ve had the Lumia 1020 since launch and have loved every minute of it. But six months is a long time in tech, so we're going to take some time and look back at how the Nokia Lumia 1020 has performed over the past six months.

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The search engine that was first launched five years ago by Microsoft in 2009 as a competitor to the giant multinational corporation, Google, now has a global markets share of 5.62% across desktops and 2.64% across mobile devices. Bing is currently ranked as the world’s third most popular search engine and sits behind Yahoo’s 8.22% and Google’s massive 83.04% desktop search engine market share.

However, Microsoft is not just trying to get users to visit their own website – they are playing the covert operations game and acting as the backend for many services you and your friends may use. In fact, you might be loving Bing and not even know it.

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Stand-up comedian Jerry Seinfeld's been back on the prowl recently with his oddball and descriptively-titled Comedians In Cars Getting Coffee, though his eponymous "show about nothing" has never been far from the public consciousness (see: iToilet and Google Wallet). Seinfeld himself showed up on The Tonight Show this week and he, as he's prone to do, talked about how we use our smartphones and the way they've changed how we communicate.

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The news of Facebook acquiring WhatsApp for an enormous pile of money is front and center in the mobile communication industry today, and for good reason. Having watched WhatsApp grow from nothing into a cross platform winner over the last 5 years and doing a darn good job of executing on a growth plan, I'm impressed with what they've done. And while I was shocked to see the deal's valuation, I've taken some time to think about it rationally, and it might not be that insane.

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In a surprise move today, Google announced the sale of Motorola Mobility to Lenovo for $2.91 billion dollars. On the face of it, that looks like financial loss from the original $12.5 billion purchase price by Google in 2012. However, keep in mind that price for just the hardware division, as Google will retain "the vast majority" of the Motorola patent portfolio (licensing them to Lenovo).

In many ways, it’s a brilliant move. Google is better served by the patent protection, but they probably couldn’t just buy them from Motorola in 2012. Instead, they had to purchase the whole package (hardware plus patents) and get into the awkward device manufacturing game. With today’s deal, they successfully spun off the hardware but retain those patents, which is really what they wanted in the first place.

There’s another reason why this may have happened: Samsung. Grab your conspiracy hats and read on why the sale of Motorola Mobility may be a big threat to Microsoft and Apple going forward.

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While it may not look it, this Monday has been an especially busy one, particularly behind the scenes of our site. Because of that, I don’t like spending time typing out articles debunking the news. It’s a waste of my time and slightly irritating, but alas, this is also what I signed up for (having said that, following me on Twitter isn’t a bad idea either, since I can respond to things there more directly).

But let me take a few moments to address a bunch of questions that readers have been slinging at us, sometimes with visceral disdain. And yes, I’ll start doing these rants and opinion pieces weekly, as requested by Kevin Michaluk, our Chief Media Officer of Mobile Nations.

Let’s start with the most obvious….

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This week we’ve seen the recent set of financial results from both Microsoft, and it’s soon-to-be-acquired mobile phone business from Nokia.

It’s pretty easy to paint a pretty picture for Microsoft. They beat the Street’s expectations on revenue and earnings, and things are going well in terms of enterprise sales. On the consumer front, you could focus on the doubling of Surface sales and decent showing in Xbox sales.

But I’d like to open up the discussion a bit more. Let’s talk about the long term potential for Microsoft’s business. To pre-frame the discussion, consider that when I say “long term” I really mean it. I’m talking about the next decade or more.

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154

Wrist-First: This is Pebble

"The smartwatch kind of snuck up on us." I'm sitting with Eric Migicovsky in his office in Palo Alto. Even seated he towers over me, which might help explain his extraordinary vision. Or maybe he’s just that far ahead of the rest of us.

Earlier attempts at making watches smarter, everything from the classic Casio calculator watch to the Sony Ericsson MBW series, didn't do it for Migicovsky. They simply didn't do enough. Inspired by pen computers like the Newton, Psion, and the Palm Pilot, and their eventual convergence with smartphones, Migicovsky felt there was a place for a device that was even more convenient.

He wanted something that could take on a subset of tasks and make them available to you at glance, on your wrist, while in a meeting or on a run. After early attempts to hack extra radios onto the iPhone 3G, Migicovsky, a Canadian, switched his focus to the (at the time) far more accessible BlackBerry platform.

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Windows Phone Central Best of 2013 Awards

2013 was a break-out year for Windows Phone and Windows. Not only did more Windows-powered smartphones and tablets end up in the hands of eager users, but developers big and small jumped on board. Not just that, but we saw a whole range of new hardware, from smartphones packed with more megapixels than a mighty DSLR to handsets so affordable they almost seem like they could be bought with the change in your pocket. It was quite a year, that 2013.

So we asked you to help us recognize the best if the best for the year in Windows Phone. We took your nominations, and you voted on the finalists, and with more than 110,00 votes logged, it's time to reveal the winners.

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Mobile Nations Community Update, December 2013

So here we are, we made it... to the very first Mobile Nations Community Update. I'm James Falconer, Community Manager for Mobile Nations. If you've seen me around the forums on Android Central, CrackBerry, iMore or Windows Phone Central, it's good to see you again. If this is the first time we've met: Howdy!

This is the first of what will be a monthly series of Community Updates spanning the Mobile Nations network. Each month we will highlight the most exciting things happening in our forums, stand-outs among the forum membership, moderators and our community ambassadors, plus a lot more.

Many of us run with one primary smartphone or tablet, but these devices do NOT exist in isolation. There's not just iPad or just BlackBerry or Android or Surface - they coexist. The communities likewise aren't islands - there are bridges, there's crossover, and comingling. This Community Update aims to strengthen those bridges and highlight the very best across all of Mobile Nations Communities. So let's get to it!

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Below 10,000 feet: gadgets on planes

It’s not often the rules change, especially when it comes to aviation. Since the Wright brothers first propelled their wood-and-fabric plane into the sky in 1903 we’ve been banned from using electronic devices below 10,000 feet. (They had iPods back then, right?) Of course, there was reasoning behind the ban, or at least reasonable fear. Electronics by their very nature emit electromagnetic radiation, which has the potential to interfere with the ostensibly sensitive instruments of an aircraft. Takeoff and landing are the most dangerous phases of any flight, the points where those instruments need to be their most accurate. So in the early days of portable electronics, when they were more electromagnetically leaky and the instruments in the cockpit weren’t as protected as they are today, an abundance of caution led to portable electronics being banned during takeoff and landing.

But in the years since that ban was instituted, our gadgets have become less leaky. Copious research has been applied to determining just how much interference these devices might actually cause (the answer is minimal to none). And the electronics that control these planes have been hardened, but to protect against much more nefarious interferences such as electromagnetic pulse bombs or terrorist hacking intended to knock planes out of the sky.

Our gadgets and our planes today are safe together. And so the government aviation authorities have decided that it’s time to lift the ban. You’re not yet free to move about the cabin during that initial ascent and final approach, but you can keep tapping away at your tablet and smartphone. So beyond having your possible usage time extended from the time you sit down to the time you get up, what else do these new rules mean for airborne travelers?

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This morning, the Windows Phone Central inbox was flooded with tips about one Eldar Murtazin, who has taken to Twitter to make some comments about the future of Windows Phone and its UI design. Specifically, he claims that Microsoft will have “another UI” with the Live Tile system going away, replaced instead with a UI inspired by Android.

The future design of Windows Phone is certainly of concern, especially to our readers. Microsoft has bet a lot of the design language of Modern UI, making it the corner piece in Windows 8 and the Xbox One. Could they really be re-thinking everything?

Furthermore, who is Murtazin and why should you care? We take a look at the latest rumors and show why they are baseless.

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Microsoft has spent a great deal of time designing Windows 8 from the ground up in terms of making it a great operating system for both tablet and traditional non-touch screen notebook style machines. There are a few companies, who do not believe that is enough. Whether it be that they feel Windows 8 is not efficient enough as a touch operating system or they simply believe it does not have enough of a robust application store, they have turned to what they believe could be a possible savior – Android.

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Comparing the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One side by side makes Microsoft’s unit look a bit… chunky. But Microsoft has its reasoning for making its next generation system the size of a large concrete brick – ventilation. While Sony has decided to go for the sleek racing car style approach, Microsoft has longevity and stability on their list.

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Halloween 2013 Contest Winners

The judges worked long and hard going through the hundreds of submissions in this year's Halloween Photo Contests, and they have finally narrowed it down and chosen the winners! There were so many incredible entries, from funny to scary with everything in between, and all of them were super creative, so this was a really hard contest to judge! It took a little bit longer than we had hoped, but prizes are worth waiting for, no? We appreciate all the pictures that were submitted, and hope that you all had as much fun entering as we did getting to see everyone. Click on through to see all the awesome!

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Remember Microsoft’s Zune line of multimedia players? I haven’t forgotten, and to this day, the Zune 120 GB Black "Brick" remains as one of my favorite pieces of hardware from the past. To help everyone relax, while bringing back some Microsoft nostalgia, below is a short video list of some of the rocking (and mellow) tunes used in the original commercials.

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Since Steve Ballmer declared his retirement from Microsoft as CEO, speculations on who will be the next big boss have been tossed around. One of the top candidates who appears on every list is the former CEO of Nokia, Stephen Elop; he supposedly had the heart to run Microsoft, but recent information that we reported on this morning has shown that he may do more damage than good.

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Today Nokia reported its most recent quarterly results. Lumia volumes were up 19% sequentially, hitting a new record of 8.8 million shipments.  As Daniel pointed out earlier, these aren’t anywhere near iPhone volumes.  Apple shipped almost 38 million iPhones, or 4.3x more phone than Nokia Lumia this past quarter.  But that shouldn’t take away from Nokia’s accomplishment. They are single-handedly responsible for making Windows Phone a viable competitor in the marketplace.

Make no mistake, there is still a lot of work to be done, and we can only hope that the integration of the handset business with Microsoft goes smoothly, but Windows Phone stands a chance.  Anytime a platform posts double digit sequential growth in shipments we’re bound to see more developers take it seriously, not less.

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