Gartner: 443.5 million mobiles will be sold in China in 2014. 90% of them will be smartphones
Jan21

Gartner: 443.5 million mobiles will be sold in China in 2014. 90% of them will be smartphones

Gartner is doing a media blitz today in China, highlighting some interesting numbers about the biggest smartphone market in the world. Among the highlights – China now has more than 1 billion of mobile phone users. Which is a bit strange number to focus on, since Chinese government announced as much 8 months ago, last May. Another interesting number is the mobile sales forecast for 2014. According to Gartner’s chief analyst Lu Jun,  443.5 million mobiles will be sold in China this year. 400 million of them will be smartphones. With new smartphone penetration rate in the Middle Kingdom reaching 90%, it is no wonder Nokia is thinking about scrapping its faux-smart Asha OS and switching to Android. It will be interesting to see whether Microsoft will follow through with the Ashadroid, or will simply let Nokia feature phones wither and die after the acquisition. Gartner also sees some serious growth in the high-end of the market in China for the next few years. According Lu Jun, high-end devices will make up 20% of overall mobile phone sales in 2014. By 2017 their share should increase to 32%. Now that iPhone is on all Chinese carriers, this sounds like a great news for Apple. Talking about the specific companies with good prospects, Gartner analyst mentioned all the usual suspects – Samsung, Lenovo, Huawei, Xiaomi, Oppo, etc.  But he also suggested that we pay close attention to TCL, selling their smartphones under the Alcatel brand worldwide. They have shipped only 16 million mobile devices last year, which is not much. But TCL’s growth doubled through 2013, and they have a very interesting year ahead of them. Source: Sina Tech,...

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Microsoft confirms it pays OEMs to promote Windows Phone, calls rumored $2.6B number “complete fiction”
Jan16

Microsoft confirms it pays OEMs to promote Windows Phone, calls rumored $2.6B number “complete fiction”

Yesterday we told you about Eldar Murtazin’s claims that Microsoft will pay $2.6 billion to OEM partners to make and promote Windows phones. Today Microsoft’s communications lead Frank X. Shaw responded to Eldar’s info with a tweet: As you can see, Mr. Shaw vehemently disputes Murtazin’s numbers. However, he seems to confirm that at least some money will change hands between OEM partners and Microsoft to promote Windows Phone. I asked for @eldarmurtazin ‘s  comment on this. Here is his take: So what should we make of this? For me, it is pretty clear that Microsoft will pay quite a lot of money to its OEM partners to promote Windows Phone this year. As they should. There is little else they can do to wean smartphone OEMs from their Android addiction. The money will be sent to WP vendors in the form of co-marketing funds, not as Nokia like “platform support” payments. But we are playing with semantics here. In the end – cash is cash, no matter what you call it for  accounting or PR purposes. The only questions that remain are – “How much?“, and “Will those payments lead to WP success?“...

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Samsung’s next Windows Phone has 5″ 1080p screen, LTE support
Jan15

Samsung’s next Windows Phone has 5″ 1080p screen, LTE support

Microsoft is going to pay Samsung to develop new Windows Phones, the latest rumor goes. And we have just found out a few new details about the Korean company’s next Windows Phone – the previously leaked SM-W750V. This model showed up in a user agent profile on Samsung’s website, and it also passed the Bluetooth SIG. Furthermore, from a December listing on an Indian import-export tracking website we know its screen size. So from all of these sources comes the news that this handset will sport a 5-inch 1080p Full HD touchscreen and it will come with 4G LTE support. Not much else is known at this point, but we’re venturing a guess that the V in this model number could stand for Verizon. Samsung hasn’t really cared about Windows Phone in a long time, but if Microsoft gives it $1.2 billion this year – it might start to feel comfy with the mobile operating system once more. Obviously the SM-W750V may get introduced pretty soon, though we do expect a lot more details about it to leak until that happens. So stay tuned. Via...

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Microsoft may pay $2.6 billion to Samsung, Huawei, Sony, others to make Windows Phones (Update: MSFT response)
Jan15

Microsoft may pay $2.6 billion to Samsung, Huawei, Sony, others to make Windows Phones (Update: MSFT response)

Update: Microsoft’s communications lead Frank X. Shaw responded to the numbers provided in this post. Scroll down to the bottom to check it out. When Microsoft persuaded Nokia to go Windows Phone, one of key reasons for the  switch was the $1 billion a year in “platform support” payments Ballmer offered to Finns. While the partnership had a very rocky start, by the end of 2013 we could call it a moderate success. At least for Microsoft. Even if from very low base, Windows Phone is growing nicely. Android and iOS still rule mobile, but if the viable third ecosystem ever emerges, most experts agree that it will be Microsoft who will own it. There’s only one problem. Nokia now ships 70 to 90% of all Windows Phones worldwide. And when Microsoft finally acquires Nokia’s mobile division, it will be them making 9 out of ten Windows Phones. While Ballmer&Co may have some hardware ambitions to show off the best Windows can offer and push OEM partners to innovate more, becoming the sole maker of mobile Windows devices is not what they want. So now they are doubling down on “platform support” payments and will start offering a pile of money to smartphone OEMs to make Windows Phones. According to Mobile Review’s Eldar Murtazin, who was the first to tell us about Microsoft’s plans to merge Windows Phone and Windows RT and a major redesign of Metro UI,  Samsung is on board and will get $1.2 billion from Redmond this year. There’s also Huawei, in line for $600 million and Sony with $500 million for their WP8 handsets.  Another $300 million are earmarked to others. That’s $2.6 of hard cash doled out to smartphone vendors to push WP8. Conspicuously absent from the list of major WP8 smartphone OEMs is HTC. But with their current troubles and declining smartphone volumes, they are probably lumped among others. Panasonic’s upcoming rugged Windows Phone might be part of this program too. Will platform support payments work? There’s no way to tell right now. It sort of worked with Nokia and helped to get Windows Phone off the ground. Windows Phone is also getting better and is gaining some consumer traction, especially in the low-end. The key question is what will smartphone vendors do with Microsoft’s money and how committed they will be to their Windows Phone success. The key reason Lumias are doing ok today, is that after it abandoned its own platforms, Nokia didn’t have anywhere else to go. It had to put it al out there to make Windows Phone work. That level of commitment is obviously not in the cards with other OEMs....

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LG G Flex now up for pre-order in the UK ahead of January 20 release. Nokia Lumia 1320 coming soon
Jan13

LG G Flex now up for pre-order in the UK ahead of January 20 release. Nokia Lumia 1320 coming soon

The LG G Flex is one of the two world’s first smartphones to sport curved screens (the other being the Samsung Galaxy Round). It was announced in October in South Korea and started to slowly make its way to other markets in December. And now it appears to be ready to reach the UK. Two well known retailers have put it up for pre-order, and it’s incredibly expensive for an Android device. That was to be expected, though, considering the fact that it’s a niche device serving to showcase a curved screen for the first time. On top of that, aside from the screen’s resolution which is just 720p HD, it also has very high-end specs. If you’re willing to pony up no less than £689.99, you can get one from Expansys in SIM-free and unlocked form. The retailer’s website mentions that the G Flex will be out on January 20, which is just a week from now. So you won’t have to wait a lot for it to make it to your doorstep once you’ve pre-ordered. If buying phones with two-year contracts from operators is more your thing, worry not for Carphone Warehouse has you covered. Here you can pre-order the LG G Flex with a variety of plans from EE, O2, T-Mobile, and Orange. Once again, though, this handset is anything but cheap. Unlike what is basically the norm in the UK for such situations, you can’t even get it for free upfront. The cheapest amount you have to pay when you buy it is £49. Then you’ll shell out £57 per month for two years. That contract is at O2 and it nets you unlimited minutes, unlimited texts, and 8 GB of data each month, so at least you’re pretty much covered no matter how big your communication needs are. Carphone Warehouse doesn’t mention a shipping date for the G Flex, but it really can’t be far behind that put forth by Expansys (it might even be sooner). The LG G Flex has a 6-inch 720p HD curved touchscreen, a 13 MP rear camera with LED flash, a 2 MP front camera, a 2.3 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of non-expandable built-in storage, 150 Mbps 4G LTE, 42 Mbps HSPA+, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, an infrared port, and a non-removable 3,500 mAh battery. It runs Android 4.2.2 Jelly Bean. The Nokia Lumia 1320 is also expected to make it to the UK, though we don’t have a time frame for when that will happen just yet. However, the phablet has been listed by Nokia’s UK arm with a “Coming Soon” message attached,...

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Nokia Lumia Icon shows up unannounced on Verizon test website
Jan08

Nokia Lumia Icon shows up unannounced on Verizon test website

Verizon’s upcoming Lumia Icon has been leaking for months as the Lumia 929. Then, in December, we found out that it will be the first Lumia to drop the numbers from its name – going by Lumia Icon instead. Now that’s pretty much been confirmed by a slip-up at Big Red. A page has appeared for the Lumia Icon in a testing section of Verizon’s own website, along with a $777 placeholder price. And yes, it’s called Nokia Lumia Icon. It’s shown in a few pictures, and the 20 MP camera is mentioned. As is the 5-inch 1080p Full HD touchscreen, 2.2 GHz quad-core processor, wireless charging support, and 2,420 mAh battery.   No more details are public as of now, but the CPU is obviously a Qualcomm Snapdragon 800, and according to past leaks and rumors there’s also apparently going to be a dual-LED flash in there, a front camera, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of non-expandable internal storage, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, and an FM radio. That said, keep in mind that the latest leak on the matter mentioned a 2,510 mAh battery, which didn’t pan out, so maybe we should take these other details with a grain of salt too. The Lumia Icon was supposed to be unveiled at CES, but so far that hasn’t happened. Though with this page going live at Verizon, we hope the wait is almost over. Via...

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AT&T Nokia Lumia 1520 now just $49.99 with contract
Dec30

AT&T Nokia Lumia 1520 now just $49.99 with contract

Nokia’s first phablet and its current flagship smartphone offering, the Lumia 1520, can now be purchased from Amazon for just $49.99 with a new two-year AT&T contract. That’s a significant discount compared to the price the carrier itself is still asking for, which is $199.99. That’s what the Lumia 1520 has been costing ever since it launched last month, but now (as always) Amazon stepped in and decided that this device is in need of a price cut. And so you can buy the best specced Windows Phone device ever made for a price point usually reserved for lower-midrange handsets. Suffice to say – this is a good deal. However, the $49.99 price only applies to new contracts or if you are already a customer and want to add a line. Upgrades are priced at $99.99, which still is a 50% discount compared to AT&T’s price, so it’s nothing to be ashamed of either. The Nokia Lumia 1520 comes with a 6-inch 1080p Full HD touchscreen, a 20 MP PureView rear camera with oversampling support and dual-LED flash, a 1.2 MP front camera, a 2.2 GHz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 16 GB of internal storage, microSD card support, 4G LTE, HSPA, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth, GPS, NFC, and a 3,400 mAh non-removable battery. It runs the latest version of Windows Phone...

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Verizon Nokia Lumia 929 coming in January as the Lumia Icon, rumor has it
Dec17

Verizon Nokia Lumia 929 coming in January as the Lumia Icon, rumor has it

The Nokia Lumia 929 has been leaking for about three months now, which is a lot. Yet it’s still not official, and according to the latest rumor on the matter it won’t be for another few weeks. Furthermore, it might be the first Nokia Windows Phone to drop the numbers after the Lumia brand, and be offered as the Lumia Icon by Verizon. This designation has been leaked by both Windows Phone Central and @evleaks, so it might turn out to be true after all. We’ll have to wait and see though. If you’re wondering just when you’ll finally be able to buy this device, it’s apparently going to be launched on January 16. The date is still obviously subject to change. If it pans out though, then we assume that the Lumia Icon will be unveiled during CES at the beginning of next month. The Nokia Lumia Icon (or Lumia 929) is said to come with a 5-inch 1080p Full HD AMOLED touchscreen, a 20 MP PureView camera with oversampling and dual-LED flash, a front camera too, a 2.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, 2 GB of RAM, 32 GB of non-expandable storage space, NFC, Wi-Fi, Bluetooth 4.0, Qi wireless charging, an FM radio, GPS, and a 2,510 mAh battery. It will be out in matte white or matte...

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Microsoft Surface Mini may have Kinect like somatosensory tech, Intel Bay Trail CPU and 8” 1080p display
Dec17

Microsoft Surface Mini may have Kinect like somatosensory tech, Intel Bay Trail CPU and 8” 1080p display

The smaller Microsoft Surface Mini tablet has been rumored for months. First we expected it to show up together with the second generation Surfaces.  Then learned that Mini has been pushed to spring 2014, because Microsoft had to pull tablet team members to finish the new XBox for Holiday Season launch. And now we may know why Microsoft had to transfer people from Surface Mini to do the XBox stuff. According to WP Dang, a Chinese website with a pretty good track record of Microsoft leaks, Surface Mini is getting Kinect like somatosensory technology. When released, the Mini will be able to recognize people’s faces, human hand movements, and should work much smoother than “Air Gestures” currently available on Samsung flagships like Galaxy S4 and Note 3. WP Dang also says that Surface Mini will come with 8” 1080p display and Intel Bay Trail CPU, so it should run full Windows 8.1. Though ARM based Win RT Mini version might be in the works too, similar to what Microsoft did with bigger Surfaces this fall. I am not sure whether Kinect like stuff is actually needed on a tablet. But you’ll never know before you try it. And Microsoft really needs to do something to set its slates apart from iPads and Androids. Who knows, maybe the face recognition and well working touchless controls will do the trick. Source:...

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5.2″ Nokia Lumia device in the works
Dec11

5.2″ Nokia Lumia device in the works

An 8-inch tablet isn’t the only new hardware Nokia is currently working on, the newest leak reveals. In fact, it looks like the Finnish company bought up by Microsoft will also have a 5.2-inch smartphone on the market in the near future. This will obviously be Lumia-branded and will run Windows Phone, but we don’t have the exact name yet. Just a model number: RM-964. It has been spotted at an Indian import tracking website. A couple of units were imported there from Finland for testing purposes, and that’s how we know about it. Thankfully, said Indian website (Zauba) was kind enough to include the handset’s screen size in its description. That is, however, the only spec we have right now. Judging from the listed value of each unit (34,524 INR, which is about $563) this is going to be at least an upper-midrange offering, if not a high-end device. Perhaps it will be a smaller version of the 6-inch Lumia 1520, which is currently Nokia’s highest-end smartphone. Something like that would surely be needed in the company’s portfolio, so let’s hope so. Stay tuned and we’ll bring you more on the subject as soon as possible. Via NPU Via...

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