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All posts tagged Nokia

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.

Windows Phone 8 Is Updating…

Currently the update is only if you have a Windows Phone Developers account (as part of the new Developers Preview Program) however the contents of the release are worth noting.

The Windows Phone blog cites the three main engineering objectives of Update 3 as: –

  1. Enable incredible new Windows Phone devices.
  2. Enhance the platform with new capabilities for current users and partners.
  3. Improve overall quality.
    (Quoted verbatim from the post)

Windows Phone intends to achieve this with the following new features: –

  • Support for bigger, hi-res screens.
    • 5 or 6″ displays are mentioned with 1080p HD
    • This is going to allow room for 6 Live Tiles instead of the existing 4.
    • This means greater customization of the Start Screen (or Windows Phone’s desktop)

    Windows Phone 8 Big Screen

    A really, really big Windows Phone: courtesy of Windows Phone Blog

  • More power.
    • Support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor; are you ready for Windows Phone on high octane?
  • Driving Mode.
    • Microsoft have decided to implement a socially responsible feature set that affects how your phone behaves when you are driving in relation to Bluetooth devices, calls and SMS.
    • If you have a Bluetooth speaker paired with your phone in your car then this can automatically trigger Driving Mode for you where you can opt to block the distraction of calls / SMS whilst driving.
  • All this and a slew of other features…

The Warptest POV

As a standalone OS update this delivers serious improvements, clearly some of which came from user feedback. However, the ramifications and intent behind this update is way more interesting.

With the announcement of a Nokia Phablet / Tablet running Windows Phone expected to occur at the October 22 Nokia World, Abu Dhabi Event the Windows Phone is evolving onwards

Windows Phone 8 - Nokia World Event

Microsoft had a choice to deliver Phablets /mini-tablets with Windows RT on or upscale Windows Phone OS.

windows phone rip windows rt

The big question I’ve touched on in previous posts is where does this leave Windows RT? ? What do you think?

Stephen and Steve Sign A Deal…

Sidebar: due to various technical issues I’m posting this about 6 hours after I wrote it. My good friend and tweep @brassman75 convinced me it was still worthwhile to do so. Thanks mate. <normal service is resumed from here>

…The internet is ablaze at Microsoft’s “surprising” deal to buy Nokia (Devices division and patents) for $7.2 Billion.

Stephen Elop Nokia Microsoft Let’s be honest, the only people surprised by this are <go ahead, fill in as appropriate>.

The other big comment I’m reading is how for an outgoing CEO Ballmer is certainly making sweeping changes for whoever fills his shoes between his reorganization and the Nokia acquisition.

090313_1642_StephenElop2.png

What’s It All About?

Ignoring the Trolls and H8ters for the moment the precedent exists with Google – Motorola but the important factor here is Steve Ballmer’s retirement announcement last week (at least IMHO).

  • Ballmer’s retirement wasn’t something spontaneous. He didn’t wake up last Thursday and think, “I’m going to announce my retirement tomorrow.”
  • Who do you think Ballmer would want as his replacement?
  • Rumors of Nokia looking towards Android have been floating around recently. I tweeted earlier today that this may have been Nokia’s crowbar to encourage Microsoft resistance to the purchase. (part of a much longer conversation, feel free to follow me on Twitter for that sort of thing @jonathanross)

Or perhaps Nokia said buy us or we r jumping from Windows Phone to Android?

— jonathanross (@jonathanross) September 3, 2013

 

  • Microsoft just got a complete line of Surface phones and a Phablet lock, stock and barrel in the Lumia line.
  • I haven’t seen the stats for the Nokia apps for Windows Phone but for sure, Microsoft gets an extremely experienced App Dev team, some great Apps and Nokia’s experience with their Ovi Store.
  • Acquisition of Nokia patents and licensing must be a big factor in this deal too.

Cui Bono

Assuming that Steve Ballmer is concerned about the state he leaves Microsoft in, has a hand in picking his successor and that Stephen Elop is one of the candidates under consideration (besides me LOL) then this deal was a strategic move by Elop worthy of Patton or Monty. Clearly this demonstrates his CEO worthiness.

stephen elop

One has to wonder how long the acquisition has been in the works and if Ballmer hasn’t ensured with Stephen Elop who the next CEO of Microsoft, their vision for Microsoft, will be.

The Warptest POV

If this is actually the case and Stephen Elop is going to be the next CEO of Microsoft then let me say to him, “Welcome back and congratulations.”

I have strong expectations of great things for Microsoft and not just in the mobile arena.

However, Microsoft has some big changes to make and it’s not as simple as just absorbing Nokia products, practices and patents, Redmond purchased along with all that some of the problems that plagued Nokia over the last few years.

What do you think?

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.”

What were RIM thinking?

I’m not going to get into the details of RIM ’s continued fight for relevance in the Mobile market or how of late they have been prone to some curious marketing strategies / soundbites.

image

In addition to testing a lot of what I do is support oriented. People contact me for help, often over Twitter and one of the things I see is the level of user dissatisfaction with certain Blackberry devices. Over the past 3 days I have seen two long-time Blackberry users throw their hands to the heavens and simply give up on these devices out of despair but more importantly because they no longer feel their Smartphone can be relied on to operate reliably or safeguard the storage of their information.

RIM angry1angry3angry4

On the other hand..

Over the last few months I have had some nice things to say about Nokia. I was at the Israel launch of the Nokia Lumia Windows 7 Phone at Microsoft Israel and came away surprisingly impressed with Nokia. (my last Nokia several years ago left me anything but)

Also I have been working on a project testing on Nokia Symbian phones; Anna the older version of Symbian deserved much of the criticism I read online and while testing on it I saw for myself the problems with it.

Earlier this week Nokia officially released the Belle as an upgrade for several phones including the N8, C6-01. Nokia released this video which with a small smile does an excellent job of marketing the upgrade to it’s users and explaining just how easy it is.

Nokia Belle Upgrade

Easy as Pie

The boffins at Nokia kept two important things in mind when designing the upgrade: –

  • Simplicity

All the user has to do is plug the phone into a USB cable connected to their PC. Nokia PC Suite will run the upgrade and let the user know it will take 30 minutes or so.. no worries.

  • Robustness

Subsequent to the upgrade the user will find all their data has been backed up and restored seamlessly to the device.. again, no worries.

Having now seen and tested this I can say that this is one of the best Mobile upgrades I have seen of recent years. Nokia got it exactly right and Belle itself makes serious improvements but let me quantify that I am referring to the upgrade process; it’s early days to see how the devices handle the OS once used.

Relevant, Much?

Apparently Nokia believes that just because they have joined the Windows Phone initiative with Lumia (710, 800 and soon 900) doesn’t mean they should abandon their Symbian customers and I say a big “Well Done” for that. Loyalty to your customer base goes a long way and let’s face it not every person needs a high end Smartphone for some a phone with midrange functionality is enough.

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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.