Nokia News Roundup – Credit rating to junk, Music hits v3.1 and exclusive access to WP8?

Although it’s been a slow news weekend there have been a few bits worth mentioning but not necessarily getting a full on post—mostly because they’re somewhat interesting but not necessarily important. This weekend's stories are:

  • Does Nokia have an exclusive early release for Windows Phone 8? We call shenanigans.
  • Nokia's stock - now with even more junk!
  • Nokia Music gets amped to version 3.1

Head past the break for the weekend’s collection of too small to pass but too big to print...


Does Nokia have "exclusive" access to Windows Phone 8? Errr...doubtful.

Last week there was some back and forth about when Windows Phone 8 would be hitting shelves. From past Microsoft cycles, we’re under the impression that an October-November timeframe was the most likely, especially with the release date of Windows 8 confirmed.

Mary Jo Foley (ZDNet) then heard from a single source the Windows Phone 8 would be released to manufacturers in September and then hit the shelves in November. That info was somewhat contradicted slightly by Nokia CEO Stephen Elop who then dropped October as when Windows Phone 8 would be coming.

To our ears that just simply reinforces the notion that Windows Phone 8 releases dates are not solidified yet and things are in motion. For others though, they started to read between the lines and took this info to mean that Nokia may have a 30-day or more exclusive on Windows Phone 8.

Personally, we find this conclusion quite a stretch. For one, ZDnet’s timeframe was a rumor not confirmed and second we don’t know what Elop was referring to i.e. street date or RTM or something in between. So to jump to the conclusion that Nokia would have earlier access to WP8 seems a bit much based off of this current information.

Second, we’re not even sure what “early access” or “exclusive” to the OS would even mean. Microsoft doesn’t sell phones, heck OEMs like Nokia rarely sell phones. It’s the carriers who buy and then re-sell them and they often time the releases when it’s convenient for themselves.  For instance, although Nokia was instrumental in getting 4g LTE into Windows Phone 7, they did not enjoy early access or a market advantage—the Titan II came out the same weekend as the Lumia 900.  So with carriers running interference, we don’t see how an OEM having earlier access would translate into a real-market advantage.

Of course Microsoft has pulled one over the eyes of its OEM partners before e.g. Surface, so we wouldn’t rule it out…just like we would rule out RIM ditching BB10 and going for WP8. But currently there’s just zero evidence that this is or will happen and that’s all that matters. Source: Mobile Syrup



Nokia stock downgraded to Junk status by Moody's

We’re not big financial people around here so we take ratings by credit agencies with a grain of salt (especially with the Libor scandal going on) but it’s still noteworthy that Moody’s has now come out and downgraded Nokia to Ba1 status making the last of the three (Fitch and Standard & Poor did it back in April). Speaking of Fitch, they dropped Nokia even further from BB+ to BB- this week too.

None of this should be too surprising. If you’re into stocks and returns on investments, something like Nokia is a bit risky these days (though we could argue that you have more to gain than lose). Regardless, headlines with “junk” and “Nokia” flying around never sound too good.

Obviously the bet here is that Nokia will have to ‘wow’ everyone with Windows Phone 8 this fall. Let’s hope. Source: TechRadar



Nokia Music upgrade to version 3.1

We’d like to tell you more about Nokia Music but alas our States crew doesn’t have access and our British crew is somewhere at a pub.

But alongside the Nokia Drive 3.0 update came a minor boost for the Nokia Music service. Now sitting at a comfortable version 3.1 the service has continually improved with every update and is a nice demonstration of how Nokia plans to keep supporting and growing the music app. Much like Zune, Nokia Music is the Finnish solution to where Zune isn’t available or has a limited catalog.

So what’s new with version 3.1? No one really knows as no changelog was included by anecdotal evidence from our readers suggest that it:

  • Loads faster
  • Has a different background picture
  • A note to mix radio

Have anything else to add that you noticed? Toss it up in comments. Thanks, Karsten, for the info

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • This is the time to buy a moderate amount of Nokia stocks.
  • Why do u people keep saying this? Nothing wrong with being hopeful. I am a long time Nokia fan boy, but they are done. They can't survive. Buy the stock and watch it keep dropping.
  • That's shitty
  • You don't get gains of 50-100% in a few months in a stock that is rock solid, it would have a higher price already. The point of a stock market is to find a company that is about to make a turnaround and ride the wave upwards.
    If you want to simply get 5-6% return on investment per year, then go get some mutual funds. No one said stock investing wasn't risky. But the hope is that a company doing horribly is about to do a whole lot better (and your wallet will be benefiting from it!)
  • They've been in the decline for almost three years now. Most of Europe is in a recession. If you know anything about investing check out their beta, profits, losses...whatever. If you buy this stock you are taking a huge risk. The same risk of buying RIM stock. These two companies are headed for destruction. If you want huge gains in the market find you a new company that is on their way to something major not a company that once was.
  • Scarriest thing in their most recent financial report was that their margins have seriously shrunk - that's a very bad sign.
  • Just a word of note to anyone who cares: AT&T claims that they won't unlock any Lumia 900's until October 8th. That's a pretty exact date and right around a potential release time. My guess? That is the day they announce the Lumia 900's EOL
  • Doesn't AT&T usually make you wait until your finished with your 2 year contract before they will unlock a phone?
  • Not if you bought the phone outright, or in my case won it in the windows phone cake contest :D
  • Actually, that date is nothing special. It's just exactly six months to the release date of the Lumia 900. And that's been their policy really. Nothing to see here.
  • Nokia should just shut down. I didn't buy the Lumia 900 because of two reasons:
    One, the camera sucks
    Two the sound quality sucks also
    I will stick with HTC since they have a sound enhancer :-)
  • They need a sound enhancer to reach the quality of Nokia's sound.
  • Agreed, the sound out of my phone: speaker, Bluetooth, or headset jack is unparalleled to anything I got out of my surround.
  • Perhaps you could rip your mp3's at 320 kbps, or perhaps a pair of earbuds that cost more than $5 or at least a pair of Sony, Sennheiser, or Klipsch earbuds would eliminate the need for a sound enhancer?
  • If your music needs a sound enhancer something has gone wrong.
  • Sound enhancer does more than just strengthen what's "gone wrong" it converts stereo recordings to 5.1 sound over headphones and it also restores lost information in compressed files.
  • Are you basing those comments on actual experience or on what other people have said? I have the Nokia Lumia 900 and find the camera quite satisfactory, but then again I haven't exected DSLR quality out of it. I don't even expect it to match a good point-and-shoot. But I've been quite pleased with the images. I also have no issue with the sound, but I usually use my Zune HD for music.
  • The sound is just stereo, it isn't surround like what HTC provides
  • HTC doesn't have 2 things. Nokia apps and finally there is no support after they sell it to you. Nokia's support is the best in the business. I'll stick with NOK.
  • "No support" based on what evidence? HTC owners have received numerous phone & app updates since release... Well in advance of Nokia. Nokia are playing "catch-up" at the moment which why we hear about them so much. It is only the Nokia exclusives that is their current strength. I'm sure we'll see some more action from HTC on WP8, as native code means they can port a lot of their android apps more readily.
  • How about based on the fact they refused to do anything about the call quality on my wife's Titan or the fact that my Focus S and the 900s have the Tango update while she still hasn't received any updates.
  • Just switched to 900 from titian for just those reasons. Somehow I doubt Microsoft allows Nokia to go under.
  • Nothing legally Microsoft can do other than buy them out.
  • This knowledge is also a bit of insurance for Nokia stockholders I would think.
  • Nokia has the best dedicated apps and support, but needs to build the best phone of the planet (with wp8). Superior to both iphone5 and gs4. Has also to be priced higher that others, for many marketing reasons.
    It has to be a real monster ( 8 cores, pureview 40 mpx, 4gb ram, WiFi direct, nfc, full bt, dlna server, ecc ecc) to make tv and people speak about it.
    Maybe it will not be the best sellers one, but will push all other cheaper nokia wp8 models.
    People buy "android" cause they think all are as "powerful" as gs3 they saw on tv...
  • Idk about 8 cores, I don't want a 5000mAh battery to add the bulk that would need to go with it. :S
  • Yeah, good luck with the battery-life!
  •  "something like Nokia is a bit risky these days (though we could argue that you have more to gain than lose)."
    Daniel, I would be careful with these comments (words "bit" and "more to gain than lose" could be used against you) without disclosure that has been run by some lawyers. Nokia is very very risky. Whether the rating agencies are right or not, they are experts (at least from an educational level) and are giving it the worst ratings. You just need one sicko to get in to a legal fight! 
    I would be careful recommending or hinting at recomendations of any stocks (sell, or buy) publicly since you have a status of strong technical insight and a sincere/educational/news site. :)
    Always love your updates though. :) keep em' coming!
  • People would be foolish to come here for financial advice :P
  • Stock low is good... Buy low sell high!!!! remember that these tech company's rarely pay dividends so your only way to make money is to sell or have all your equity locked up in shares. might be a good time to sell short. But it might be a bad time as they announce new phones. Low stock prices are good for investors again... but maybe nokia was over inflated like other tech stocks and is finally were its meant to settle............
  • The problem for Nokia with the ratings currently is that most institutional investors cannot buy or hold stocks rated below a certain level. So even if they were 100% behind Nokia's strategy their contracts with their customers currently forbids it to hold Nokia stocks any longer. Which leads into that more institutional investors have to sell the stocks hence even lower stocks prices. And that hasn't come to an end yet.
  • Hope that never happens! That's one of the reasons why I hate Android and would never buy an Android phone. 8 core with 4GB RAM would mean how terribly inefficient the OS is. A Dual core phone is enough for me.
  • i remember the good ol' days when i could just flip my phone open and make a call :(