You need to know what's on the cutting-edge of technology. Find out what's coming and the unique Warptest POV with just one click on the "Blog" tile.

All posts tagged Lumia

Windows Phone. Reports of its demise …

… regardless of “Windows Phone is Dead” trollgasms, the only thing that seems to be dead is the concept of solid journalism.

The Road So Far…

A couple of weeks ago rumors of Microsoft rebranding Lumia came out. Long overdue but still just a rumor. The association between the Lumia brand, the Nokia acquisition and its negative consequences for Microsoft should have made this a top priority months ago.

The origin for all this seems to have been the rumored launch of the Lumia 650 and it allegedly being the last Lumia phone. It seems the sloth-like, the indolent and those who simply didn’t care read the headline and couldn’t be arsed to look any further.

Last week Windows Central reported the revenue numbers for Windows Phone as part of a post on Viewing Windows Phone in its Proper Context again we saw a slew of posts proclaiming the death of Windows Phone.

Windows Phone - Dead Not

One of the “favorites” doing the rounds is Forbes post on Ruthless Microsoft’s Smart Decision To Kill Windows Phone. If you can find a link to any announcement from Microsoft in this post, if you can find one verifiable fact then I’d love to see it. This is a speculation post based on unconfirmed rumors spun out of more rumors. Not even a “We reached out to Microsoft for a comment…”

Other rumors being ignored by many of these gleeful posts (but not all) are that this is not just rebranding but that Redmond’s Windows Phone will be rebuilt as a Surface Phone. During this interview the hints were there to be heard from Chris Capossela, Microsoft CMO.

Akin to Mark Twain, Kenny from South Park or Bill Murray in Groundhog Day, Windows Phone is frequently reported dead when it simply isn’t so. Why is that?

The Warptest POV

Windows Phone has died more deaths than even Tom Cruise in Edge of Tomorrow and yet each time it bounces back from its reported demise.

 

Windows Phone - Awesome 950XL

Nutshell, these are incredibly well made phones, with a kick-ass OS and as I’ve stated repeatedly, with Universal Apps the world is their oyster. Microsoft clearly has a mobile strategy and it being multi-pronged doesn’t exclude Windows Phone. The first steps to the next evolution of Windows Phone are already there in Windows 10 Phones like the 950 or 950XL with Continuum, Hello and other features, if you actually look.

Imagine a market where these phones and features were never designed less realized, because the market listened to the trolls. This is a market that lost stimulus to innovate and compete. Why would you encourage that?

Be assured, Windows Phone may not be a Lumia, it may be a hybrid device made to be a phone but also to run 32 Bit apps (unconfirmed rumor) and it may be designed to emulate the Surface design but there will be a reimagined Windows Phone later this year.

If Microsoft designs, builds and markets this device right, it will be a device that does things no other device can do.

So my advice is don’t dismiss Windows Phone, it’s a name for a class of devices. Dismiss the trolls and go see for yourself. Most people who go hands on for the first time are simply impressed.

Microsoft, time to bring you’re A game.

Windows10 Is Installed On My Lumia 820…

Okay my Windows Phone Lumia 820 is now updated to Windows10 and I have to say: –

1. This is an incredible improvement, a quantum leap forward in terms of function, UI and performance. Even having seen this in prior Windows Insider previews I’m impressed all over again.

2. This feels like Windows10, not a totally different OS but a “device responsive” version thereof.

3. Regardless of the trolls, naysayers and kneejerk haters of all things Microsoft, Windows10 is going to do some great things and whilst I’m happy I got it on this phone, I’m totally amped to get my hands on a Lumia950XL with Windows Hello and Continuum, a larger device that I can maximize productivity on.

Windows10 on Lumia 820

Lumia 820: Image courtesy of the Microsoft site

The Warptest POV

Firstly, thank you Windows Insider program for giving me access to the Windows10 preview versions. The current (slow lane) version so far is robust and works nicely.

All said and done, it’s all about the apps. The slew of apps I had on Windows Phone 8.1 are updating as we speak and I’ll be exploring the Windows Store for more productive and interesting apps. What’s missing so far? That’s another blog on app parity, Universal Apps and the potential failure of vision those who don’t invest in Windows10 apps are displaying.

For now, I’ll be exploring the new reimagining of Windows on my phone and sharing my discoveries. Stay tuned for more awesome.

The Windows 10 Devices Presentation From New York…

… delivered on so many levels but ultimately Microsoft showed a unified direction, a collective energy unmatched by any other event so far this year and incredible devices running Windows 10.

Many people were concerned that without Joe Belfiore onstage we couldn’t expect the best, however what we got was clearly the best and brightest that Redmond has to offer, their A-Team; Terry Myerson bounded on stage to introduce the event and talk about Hololens followed by Lindsey Maltese of the Microsoft Band team, talking about the Band 2, then we got to see the incredible Panos Panay bring his incredible energy to the stage about Surface and Lumia devices with Bryan Roper dazzling us with Lumia and Continuum.

The livestream event ran for a whopping 95 minutes and every bit of this time was maximized to deliver the new Windows 10 Devices across the spectrum. Devices that across the board are best of breed.

If you find the last statement hard to believe then I suggest you watch the presentation for yourself right here.

The Unified Message

It became rapidly apparent that besides the very genuine enthusiasm and passion the presenters brought onstage, the central theme or message behind the livestream event was that all the Windows 10 Devices were designed without compromise to ensure maximum productivity.

Whatever you want to do with the device in front of you Microsoft intends to ensure you can be your most productive whilst using that device; with Windows 10 as the enabler. In addition, each presenter made strong mention of the ever increasing number of partners working with Microsoft on Windows 10, Universal Apps and new Windows 10 Devices.

Terry Myerson kicked of the event by letting us have some adoption stats for Windows 10: –

Windows 10 Devices - stats

Devices, Devices, Devices…

HOLOLENS.. a glimpse of the future of mixed reality, immersive gaming. If you’re not excited by this you must be catatonic

BAND 2

LUMIA 950 & 950 XL and the LUMIA 550

SURFACE PRO4.. with a new pen with built-in eraser and interchangeable tips and tight app integration.

SURFACE BOOK.. Microsoft’s first laptop, designed to be the ultimate lightweight, super-powered productivity device.

Amazing accessories which are backwards compatible with the SURFACE PRO3

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Screencaps of Windows 10 Devices Livestream courtesy of my Lumia 810

The way we work and interact with our personal computers is evolving. The first phase was touch, then we moved to personal assistants aboard like Cortana & Siri, form factors have changes with hybrid devices, tablets and others but the Windows 10 Devices Event showed an ecosystem of devices with a shared platform, portability based on the user and incredibly engineered and designed user experiences from mixed reality gaming on Hololens, a wearable that guides and interacts with our exercise, environment and other devices in the Band 2, incredible new phones in the Lumia 950 and 950XL which have achieved the Holy Grail of a true pocket PC thru Windows 10 and Continuum, biometric recognition for login and purchase in Windows Hello and to quote Panos Panay true “lapability” with the next evolutions of the laptop in the Surface Pro4 and the stunning new Surface Book.

Each of these are best of breed devices whose impact will undoubtedly change the way we work and play, change ease of use and our productivity.

All of this made possible by Windows 10 but the secret sauce Microsoft displayed at this event isn’t just winning hardware and incredible designs that beat the pants off the competition, it’s the passion and enthusiasm, the unified vision displayed by the Windows 10 Devices team. If Panos Panay is the King of Presentations, then Bryan Roper is the Crown Prince.

The Warptest POV

As we’ve mentioned in the past, the secret sauce that pulls Windows 10 Devices and OS integration tightly together are Universal Apps but the combination of amazing devices that combine the last word in productivity, portability and some very clever accessories with the presenters had seasoned tech reporters and bloggers giving standing ovations. When was the last time Microsoft got a standing ovation?

It should be clear that the direction and vision that Satya Nadella chose is coming to fruition and after seeing the Lumia 950 and 950XL in action I feel sorry for the trolls and naysayers. This is a winning vision.

The level of confidence was clearly indicated in the way that almost every benchmark comparison of Windows 10 Devices was to an equivalent Apple device. This was done without snark or hostility, simply a comparison of performance, ours versus theirs. Well except for one comment about Apple’s pencil not having an eraser but hey, it was funny.

I decided that the POV section is best served by embedding some of my real time comments from Twitter / Facebook as I watched the event.

I just watched the Microsoft livestream for new #Windows10devices and I have never had delivery so exceed…

Posted by Warptest on Tuesday, 6 October 2015

 

Companies who are not buying into Universal Apps for #Windows10 are clearly lacking vision and are basically missing the…

Posted by Jonathan Ross on Tuesday, 6 October 2015

Many if not all these devices will be available towards the end of October. If you have the chance then go hands on for yourself and I bet you’ll understand why the standing ovation and again as Panos Panay said,

Microsoft brought the Thunder…

Last Week Microsoft Reported Windows Phone Job Cuts …

These were not unexpected but were sad to see nonetheless.

Many in the professional, tech blogosphere couldn’t help their baser instincts and chose the fact that the cuts were predominantly from the Windows Phone department (and many from the acquisition of Nokia) to spin this with no factual basis to their unknowing public as the end of Windows Phone.

No hard facts, just an opportunity to deride and ignore those who were losing their jobs in favor of a sexier linkbait.

With weeks until Windows 10 launches and down the line Windows 10 Mobile many of these “pro” bloggers indulged in a feeding frenzy worthy of Shark Week.

What Did Happen Then?

Microsoft reported from their News site on July 8th that CEO, Satya Nadella had approved another round of job cuts, totaling 7800.

The focus of these job cuts would be within Phone Hardware.

This was reported as allowing the company “…to record an impairment charge of approximately $7.6 billion related to assets associated with the acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services (NDS) business in addition to a restructuring charge of approximately $750 million to $850 million.”

This was a quote from Nadella’s email:

Windows Phone - Satya Nadella quote

According to Reuters and several other (actual) news sites, the market and analysts saw this as a positive move and as a result Microsoft stock rose 1.4% on the day.

Windows Phone - MSFT Stock

Data courtesy of the Windows 8.1 Money App

Nutshell, nowhere in the Microsoft announcement did they mention anything more than a writeoff (albeit a big one) for the Nokia acquisition, job cuts or a streamlining inline with the strategic shift that CEO Satya Nadella has been pushing since day one from devices to ecosystem.

Sorry bloggers of doom but it seems your trollgasm was for naught.

The Warptest POV

Is Windows Phone dead? NO, it’s evolving and with it, its business model: –

Windows Phone - reasons to be happy

Windows 10 Mobile has also been available as part of the Windows Insider Program. Many reports from Insiders show a much improved, robust OS; that once completed will continue to vie for attention. The latest insider version was mainly about polish for the UI, more bug fixes and a move to the new Store.

Only today, GSMArena (sporting a stylish new site design) reported that serial leakster @Evleaks (known for his reliable insights) confirmed at least 6 new Lumia phones in 2015. At least one of these can be considered a new, flagship phone. That doesn’t sound dead to me.

How many OEMs make Windows Phone now? More than ever, some are returning members of the Windows Phone family like LG, Samsung, HTC but there are others such as Blu, Yezz, Kazam and Japanese Mouse Computers MADOSMA phone. In addition Windows Phone and Xiaomi delivered Windows 10 Mobile as a ROM for the Xiaomi Mi4 thru the company’s MIUI Forum.

Phones are good but throw in connected devices and wearables (IOT) and you are building an ecosystem. It’s clear that Satya Nadella is a strong believer in the ecosystem philosophy, so it was no surprise to hear about several such devices from Microsoft going thru FCC approval that will support Windows 10 Mobile soon.

Bloomberg delivers the bottom line, at least two more years of Microsoft making Windows Phones. Time for markets to turn on their heads. Time for killer features like Continuum and Universal Apps to impact market share, and time to assess if Microsoft should stay in the phone business.

My tuppenies worth: –

  1. Yes, the trolls of the blogosphere have a huge impact on uninformed consumers. This needs a strong response from Microsoft.
  2. It’s time to dispense with the Lumia brand and rebrand as Surface Phone. The Surface is a solid, easily recognized brand with a stunning design. The flagship phone should emulate that with the same materials and style. If as some have suggested, the Nokia write off is more of the de-Ballmerization of Microsoft then this makes sense; putting Lumia in the past.
  3. Quality not quantity: there is a place for one or two low end phones but having a distinct line of phones where each answers a need is a better strategy than “flood the market with a variety of low end phones”.
  4. Consolidate and work with the OEMs so they are also offering striking, enticing phones to the public.
  5. Keep hammering the evangelism to the Developer Community to ensure that we maintain and improve on app parity in one stream but also ensure that the promise of Universal Apps delivers.

So to all those who indulged in their little trollgasms last week and were ready to nail the coffin shut on Windows Phone, sorry guys. Take your blankie back in the corner. It’s not happening any time soon.

To those whose jobs were cut last week, let me wish you the best of luck finding gainful employment rapidly.

To the consumers out there wondering if Windows 10 Mobile is for them? Don’t just rely on me and certainly don’t rely on the trolls. When the OS is launched get out there and go hands on.Try the phones out for yourself. I guarantee you will be pleasantly surprised.

Nokia Launched Five Devices At MWC

By now this is yesterday already but the significance of these devices and some other news reaches out into the heart of the mobile landscape and shakes things up.

Those who discounted Nokia’s ability to affect the mobile industry due to irrelevance or Microsoft buying them might wish to rethink their position.

Nokia Did What?!??

Suggestions of a dual-SIM Lumia Windows Phone aside on Sunday, Nokia announced additions to each of their existing platforms and 3 new Android devices branded as the Nokia X series.

Nokia Family of Devices

With thanks to Nokia Press Releases

The common thread running through the announcement was that regardless of platform these internet enabled devices will support Microsoft services including: –

  • Bing Search on the basic Nokia 220
  • OneDrive on the Nokia Asha 230
  • Skype, OneDrive and Outlook.com on the Nokia X, X+ and XL Android devices

Clearly Nokia did something different with these Android devices: –

  • Nokia has proven that forked Android is possible with these phones built on Android Open Source Project; that’s right, no Google services.
  • Nokia ensured these phones have a similar Metro look to the Lumia line and are (by the skin of their teeth) priced below their Windows Phones (the X costs 89 Euro).
  • These phones will not even use Google Play for Apps, instead going to the Nokia Store.
  • Expect big-ticket apps like Facebook, Twitter, Swiftkey, Vine, Viber, Spotify and WeChat.
  • Microsoft services will be the default except where Nokia Apps exist. So forget about Bing Maps, you’ll be using Here Maps and Nokia Mix Radio.
  • Blackberry fans everywhere pay heed, BBM is coming to Nokia X and Windows Phone Lumia (later other Windows Phones).
Nokia X - Android

With thanks to Nokia Press Releases

The Warptest POV

The big question is how did Nokia pull this off with Microsoft? This is speculation but the conversation between Microsoft and Nokia may have gone something like this,

“You know we have been researching Android as a fallback option if negotiations fail…”

“We do and we want to know if you insist on pressing ahead with a Nokia Android phone even if the deal goes ahead?”

“Yes but we want to make this a forked Android. Android without all the Google services…”

“So Microsoft still gets its royalties and Google ends up out in the cold? No shuttering YouTube Apps or restricting CalDav?”

“Exactly, and we are prepared to go one better. Imagine all Nokia devices that have internet deferring to Microsoft services like Bing or Outlook.com except if we have a Nokia App.”

“You know this idea is really starting to grow on us. What would make this cost effective?”

“What if you were able to remove the more severe hardware restrictions on Windows Phone, sign more OEM partners and we would then have a way of producing cheaper hardware and dropping prices for the consumer?”

“You know Stephen, some days I think it’s a shame you ever left Microsoft.”

“Thanks Steve… It’s good to be back.”

Why a Vodka-Martini moment (in the title)? Recall in Casino Royale when Daniel Craig’s 007 is at the card table attempting to take Le Chiffre to the cleaners? He takes the time to order a very specific drink from the barman which is so enticing that it pulls in several other players who also order the same drink. This allows Bond to reassert his dominance at the card table subtly and also annoys Le Chiffre.


I’ll leave it to you to draw your own conclusions.

Lichtenstein Homage

My fling with Lumia…

I went hands-on several months ago at Microsoft Israel’s launch of the Nokia Lumia Windows Phones and was dazzled and impressed by the design, materials and how the OS performed. I had already decided my next phone was going to be a Windows Phone and this strengthened my resolve.

My next encounter was when Sarah Nadav (founder / CEO of Bukit and a journalist at the Jerusalem Post) had issue with her Windows Phone wrote about it and then agreed to let me have a go at testing her phone to see if my experience was the same.

Shortly thereafter…

Nokia announced a series of new apps for the Marketplace but developed exclusively for their Lumia line.

Star Trek Wrath of Khan – via YouTube user IQuip4U.. thanks.

The Warptest Perspective…

Having just written about the colossal Pandora’s Box that is Android Fragmentation last month (which led to some heavy discussions online and off) I saw some worrying parallels and I wasn’t alone in this:

image

From Nokia’s point of view it makes total sense to increase the desirability of their phones by developing apps that are only available to their customer base. Also keep in mind that Nokia are not new to the Apps business, two words: Ovi Store.

What were Microsoft thinking though? In a nutshell, it seems that Microsoft may be paying copious amounts of money in the deal they made with Nokia but they aren’t the ones dictating the terms.

Microsoft needs to think very carefully about fragmentation.

As for Nokia, the Lumia line is a beautifully made series of phones that will blow most users away. Between the user experience and the price point being offered for signing for these phones with carriers there seems little additional ROI to firing the first shot in this kind of frag war with the other handsets.

It’s not you, it’s me …

At the end of the day I simply didn’t want to invest my hard earned cash in a phone or brand that promotes exclusivity or fragging  Windows Phone OS.

homage-lichtenstein

Homage to the art work of Roy Lichtenstein

(thanks to @jonorose for the information when my memory failed me)

If the Apps that Nokia are developing (or having developed) are that amazing then why not encourage all Windows Phone customers and Developers by having your apps with your logo running on other phones. In the long run aren’t you subtly influencing customers about the next phone they are going to select?

Where does this leave me?

I’m the proud new owner of an HTC Titan thanks to the timely sale I found at Expansys last month and so far I’m being wowed by yet another Windows Phone.

In the words of Rick in Casablanca, “I guess this is the beginning of beautiful friendship.”

Hands on with Nokia Lumia at Microsoft Israel

Today I visited the Microsoft Israel R&D Center for the start of their Mobile Accelerator Week. I’m always happy for any excuse to go to a Microsoft event.

Map picture

This time however there was a chance to get hands on, up close and personal with the two Nokia Windows Phones Lumia 800 and 710.

NokWp73NokWp72

After getting the chance to see for myself just what Microsoft and Nokia have given birth to I can honestly say: –

  • The Nokia Lumia phones are warpspeed fast. I have never seen this kind of responsive performance in a phone, never.
  • The AMOLED Clear Black display of the Lumia 800 has to seen to be believed the color depth is in a word .. gorgeous.
  • The physical feel of these phones is sleek and elegant. Combine that with the sexy UX/UI that Metro gives us and this is a knockout.

In a nutshell I had no compunction about shamelessly asking the nice lady from Eurocom Nokia how I could take one of these phones home with me tonight.

Several phones were being handed out but to StartUp companies selected to participate in the Mobile Acceleration Week supported by the outstanding Microsoft BizSpark.

win-maw

In fact according to Eurocom Nokia the plan is to make these phones available to the Israeli market in Q1 2012 subject to resolving all Hebrew support issues (the fonts exist,as apparently does the keyboard.. now full right to left support is needed).

Basically, these phones are game-changers in the mobile platform wars. The apps will follow. It is very likely that if you are handed one of these phones you are going to be seduced by them rapidly.

A brief note to Israeli App Developers: if you do have a Windows Phone 7 App it’s worth entering it in the joint Newsgeek / Microsoft App Challenge here. I have already picked my favorite.