ZTE and Nokia focussed on bringing Windows Phone devices to lower price points.

ZTE Corporation has released it’s second device running Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform, the ZTE Orbit. The ZTE Orbit joins the ZTE Tania in the compaines’s portfolio of Windows Phone devices.

The ZTE Orbit runs the latest version of Wndows Phone and comes with 4GB of flash memory, HD Voice and a 5MP autofocus camera with an LED flash. The device will be available in Q2 of 2012.
If you missed it, the ZTE Tania was ZTE’s first device running Windows Phone. It’s a sleek device measuring just 10.7mm in depth, has 4GB of flash storage, a big 4.3 inch WVGA display and a 1GHz processor. The ZTE Tania will be available in stores in the UK in early April at tariff points in the £10-20 range.

It’s pretty clear that ZTE is targeting the mass market with it’s lower end Windows Phone devices.
Nokia also announced the Nokia Lumia 610, the fourth device in the Nokia Lumia family of Windows Phone devices. The Lumia 610 is a low-end device targetting a larger group of people. Nokia says that the 610 would be perfect for a person as his/her first smartphone. It has a 3.7 inch gorilla glass display, 800MHz processor, 256MB of RAM & a 5MP camera. Nokia seems to be pretty focussed on bringing it’s Windows Phone lineup to all kinds of price points.

Targeting a broader audience is key for the success of any platform. This is exactly what Microsoft is doing with Windows Phone Tango, an updated version of Mango lowering the system requirements for bringing Windows Phone devices to lower price points.
What do you think? Is this the right way to go or is Microsoft going backwards?

Source: Businesswire

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Microsoft pubCenter is now live in 7 new countries including India

We reported earlier about the expansion plan of Microsoft’s Ad service called pubCenter to 7 new countries (Denmark, Hong Kong, Japan, Mexico, Sweden, Switzerland, and India). The Service is now live in the newly added countries. Developers from these country will be able register on the site* with payment options for their respective country and use their Ad SDK (Included in Windows Phone SDK 7.1) in Windows Phone Apps and Windows 8 Apps later.

(Thanks, Nirmit)

*The site is currently experiencing some issues

[Exclusive] Sneak Peek at Windows 8 Consumer Preview

Thanks to the good folks at WPDang.com, I successfully smuggled myself into a blogger event held by Microsoft China in its headquarter earlier today. The event itself turned out to be more about introducing Windows 8 (from the very basics) to opinion leaders. And it pretty much followed contents already available at the good ole Build Windows 8 blog. But anyway, I spotted some interesting stuff on the presenter’s computer, which runs a copy of, Windows 8 Consumer Preview, a.k.a. the goodie you guys are about to put your hands on in less than 24 hours.

Cameras are forbidden throughout the whole event, so please forgive the lack of any pictures. If that’s OK for you, the following bullet points will give you a little bit of advance knowledge about 24 hours earlier than you otherwise should get them.

So, here’s what I saw:

  • The Windows Store has seemingly gotten quite some apps for sale (all free of charge now) so far. One the screen I saw live tiles from QQ (China’s, and the planet’s, instant messaging service) and Renren (China’s answer to the government-blocked Facebook). Major Chinese service providers are giving the new OS strong support.
  • Remember back in Developer Preview how the application shortcuts from Aero UI piled up into a glorious mess on the Metro desktop? In the Consumer Preview it’s almost the same… Only now you can group tiles and name the groups. Easier to manage.
  • You know the Start button is gone. Now if you have a touch device, just bring up the charm bar on the right and click the Windows button to switch between Metro and Aero. Or if you are confined to mouse & keyboard, just hover your cursor on the edge-most pixels in the bottom left corner of the task bar, in no time you will find a thumbnail of your Metro desktop popping up. Click it and you are in the Metroland.
  • The copy of Consumer Preview ran super slick on a ThinkPad 420S. It’s so slick that no one ever suspected the OS was running from an external SSD, until the presenter broke the truth to us. Yeah it’s that fast. The only drawback of running Windows 8 on the SSD is slower boot up, which takes… about 14 seconds. Right, 14 seconds is the new slow.
  • There’s a new gesture to zoom out and show all tiles in one screen now: swipe from bottom up. Or if you are using a mouse & keyboard PC, find any blank space on your Metro desktop, right click, and the rest is pretty straight forward.
  • Ribbon menu in Windows Explorer, not exactly news. But from the Ribbon, you can quickly launch the command line mode and PowerShell. No more messing with [Start menu]->[search]->[cmd]->[enter].
  • The presenter says that Microsoft is currently close to the end of negotiation with two “very famous Chinese online service providers”, and after that, a user could log into Windows 8 with not only Live ID, but also user ID from those providers. This opens up A LOT OF possibilities. Log into your PC with your Facebook ID? Shouldn’t be impossible, right?
  • Improved power management means that the button saying “Power Off” doesn’t really power your PC off. Instead, the button puts your PC into deep hibernation (almost no power consumption). Next time when you think you are doing a cold boot, you are actually just waking it up. Way faster than cold boot.
  • No more Daemon Tools, no more Alcohol 120%. Windows 8 now supports .iso files natively, or so the guy said. Double click on a .iso image and you find yourself having a virtual drive already. Same applies to .vhd files.
  • New file system called “REFS”. The FS does magical things like merging multiple physical drives into one single, big, nice disc partition. Effectively RAID-5, the FS has advanced features such as data back up, and restoring corrupted drives. REFS is NOT bootable though. You will have to install your OS on a “normal” partition, say NTFS.
  • I think in Developer Preview, you can’t close a Metro app. Now you can. The gesture is to drag the app window (with finger or mouse) and throw it downward. A lot like what you do in webOS, only different direction. As a webOS user I could tell you it’s definitely a good thing.
  • Improved Windows Update for… drivers… Were you in the enormous pain of combing through the entire interweb for some driver for your old hardware the last time around? Now you can feel easier… You will get somewhat better support from Windows Update. Amen.
  • One last thing. I realized that the presenter had WALLPAPER (not just generic Metro background color) on his Metro desktop. The customization option you guys have been asking for is there after all, I reckon.

That’s about it. Now you guys can prepare to embrace the techie goodness in about 24 hours.

 

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Skype for Windows Phone coming in April, download the XAP for Skype beta now!

Yesterday, Skype announced the beta availability of it’s application on Windows Phone. Yes, it’s been a long long wait but it’s finally over – well, almost! You can now download the Skype for Windows Phone beta from the marketplace link or download the XAP which is available at the end of the post.

From the Official Skype Blog:

Skype for Windows Phone Beta* supports the most important Skype features you’ve come to know and love. And you will be especially thrilled by the clean and simple Skype experience that the Metro user interface delivers on your Windows Phone. It has never before been so easy to connect with the people you care about most.

Skype video call on Windows Phone

Skype video call on Windows Phone

I personally don’t use Skype at all but after watching the video embedded below, I am thinking of giving it a try now. Cool stuff.

MSNBC reports that Skype RC build will be available to all users in April. If you can’t wait till April, do give beta a shot. From what I have read – the beta app is earning a lot of praises from all over the world. The application will only get better from here.

Download the Skype for Windows Phone beta XAP from the download link below:


XAP Source: XDA

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Multiple attachments for SMS update coming soon to all Windows Phone devices

We did not see this coming. LaptopMagazine is reporting that Windows Phone users will soon be receiving an OTA update that will improve the SMS capabilities of Windows Phone mango devices. As of now, you can only attach one picture in your MMS. Now you can add multiple photos(with captions), video and voicenote  – all in one text with the new update.
Here’s the new feature in action:

Lumia 610 will come with this feature by default. So is this upcoming OTA update essentially Windows Phone Tango update? We’ll know soon enough. Update is supposed to be pushed after the launch of Lumia 610

Source: LaptopMag

Nokia Lumia 900 to be available globally

Today is a very happening day on the Windows Phone news feed .

Nokia Lumia 900 , Nokia’s CES debutant is jumping out of the US and is going all over the world. Nokia’s Lumia 900 was an AT&T exclusive – but today at MWC , Nokia declared that later in the year , it will be available in Canada with LTE . Nokia also declared that the Europe variant will have 42Mbps HSPA+ connectivity. The Phone will be available all over the world in it’s white variant.

Nokia Lumia 900 has been priced at 480 Euros before taxes and subsidies .  480 Euros is a decent price for this phone , I think . This is definitely going to be my next phone !

Nokia Lumia 900 Specsheet :

  • Networks: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100, GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900
  • Speed: HSDPA+ Dual Carrier cat 24 (42 Mbps), HSUPA cat 6: 5.8 Mbps
  • Display: 4.3” WVGA (800×480) AMOLED capacitive touch ClearBlack display
  • Memory: 512MB RAM, 16GB storage
  • Camera: 8Mpix auto-focus with f2.2, LED flash
  • Size/Weight: 127.8mm x 68.5mm x 11.5mm / 160g 
  • Processor: 1.4 GHz Single Core/Snapdragon APQ8055 + MDM9200
  • Battery: 1830mAh
  • Operating times – Talk time: (GSM/WCDMA) up to 7 hours. Standby time: (GSM/WCDMA)  up to 300 hours

    White is Sexy

 Boy, Nokia ! You got me excited about this one !

 

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Nokia Lumia 610 officially announced at Mobile World Congress 2012

Its true. Nokia Lumia 610 is indeed real. Lumia 610 is the first Windows Phone device running on a 800 Mhz Qualcomm Snapdragon S1. In case you didn’t notice, Windows Phone devices run on 1 Ghz processors (earlier minimum requirement) only. Another thing that sets Lumia 610 apart from 710 is the RAM on device. 610 has 256 MB RAM compared to 512 on the 710. But, as BGR India points out – The device will be around 4k cheaper than 710 too. Lumia 610 comes in 4 colors:, white, cyan, magenta and black. You also get all the Lumia exclusives app along with the 610 purchase, like Nokia Maps, Nokia Drive, etc and new inclusion is the new exclusive Nokia Reading.

 

Nokia_Lumia_610_cyan_

Nokia_Lumia_610_cyan_

 

Nokia Lumia 610 specs. are below:

 

Networks: WCDMA 850/900/1900/2100, GSM/EDGE 850/900/1800/1900

Speed: HSDPA cat 7: 7.2Mbps,

Display: 3.7” WVGA (800×480) TFT capacitive touch LCD display with pinch zoom

Memory: 256MB RAM, 8GB storage

Camera: 5 megapixels, auto-focus, LED flash.

Size/Weight: 119.24mm x 62.18mm x 11.95mm / 131.5g

Processor: 800 Mhz Single Core/Qualcomm Snapdragon S1

Battery: 1300 mAh

Talk time: GSM : 10.5 h, WCDMA : 9.5h. Standby time: GSM : 670 h, WCDMA :720 h

Don’t forget to check out the hands on video from Nokia:

The device will be available globally. More specific details will be posted soon.

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Huawei holding back on the Windows Phone project

Filed under “probably bad news”.

We’ve heard words before that Huawei, one of the gigantic phone makers from China, is planning on joining the Windows Phone gang. Actually there have been speculations that the company will reveal some of its works so far on MWC 2012.

However, according the insider source of Chinewe Windows Phone site WPDang, Huawei has brought an emergency halt to all Windows Phone related projects. Previously Huawei had already built an engineering phone, which now is to be shelved. And the Windows Phone team has been disbanded and allocated to other projects. In short, on MWC this time (and probably for quite some time in the future) we won’t say any Windows Phone, Tango or Mango, from Huawei.

WPDang reasoned that Huawei made the decision probably because of leader change, hence strategy change. Earlier this month, the regional director of handset division for China region was transferred a new post, while two (out of two) of his deputies left the game too, one retired, the other transferred. With all leaders in the house changed, there’s bound to be some change in the strategy.

Plus, as reasoned by WPDang, Huawei has been trying hard to make a bang with its cloud services and homegrown app store. Neither of these things is possible on Windows Phone.

mundutvlogo

mundu TV app now available in Windows Phone marketplace

mundu TV is a popular mobile application that lets you stream TV channels directly on your mobile. Geodisc, creator of Mundu TV, have now officially released a Windows Phone application. mundu TV has a decent set of channels available and to stream those channels you have to pay a, in my opinion, reasonable priced fees.

mundu TV for Windows Phone

mundu TV for Windows Phone

The Windows Phone app is fairly well designed. It’s fast. I was able to register in under a minute. It crashed on me a couple of times but after that it’s been working quite well. Quality of streaming – SQ and HQ – both are available and I am mighty impressed. The appliction remembers your login information so overall, the application is pretty good. Head over to the mundu TV download link below to download the application for free:

mundu TV for Windows Phone download link

Just wanted to add a small note here. mundu TV is one of the star Symbian application. As FoneArena noted:

“Their Symbian app clocked 5 million downloads on the Nokia Store last month and held its place as one of the top 10 free apps on the Nokia Store in just 11 months.”

 

 

Windows Phone beating Android in the app price game already?

According to a research done by Canalys, apparently Android apps are generally more expensive than iOS ones. The research report pointed out that the combined price of top 100 paid apps in US Android Market is $374.37, or $3.74 in average. The same number for iOS apps is $1.47, cheaper by a lot if you are looking at it in percentages.

This might be the result of several factors, such as:

  •  The raving piracy across the Android ecosystem makes it hard for developers to make money. Since they can’t effectively *sell* a lot of copies in business sense, they have to get more from whatever copy people actually pay for.
  •  The (relatively) good competition in Apple’s App Store has naturally lowered the average price.
  •  With advanced in-app purchase support on iOS, developers could sell the app for cheaper, and get the “loss” back later.

 Well, the question is: how is Windows Phone doing against the two archrivals?

Chinese Windows Phone site WPDang.com has done the math by manually adding up the top 100 paid apps in Windows Phone Marketplace (via Zune, US account), and found that the total price of them adds up to $310.2, or $3.1 on average. This is already beating the Android Market by $0.64, or 17.1% cheaper. This isn’t normal, since the average price kind of says something about how confident the developers are in successfully getting their time & effort investment back. In common sense, developers tend to price their stuff more expensive on platforms that have fewer users or largely plagued by piracy (look at Windows Mobile and the shocking prices in its Marketplace). Obviously Windows Phone currently has way fewer users than Androiders, and that might mean one thing: we might be small in numbers, but we’ve got a nice bunch of honest and supportive people here.

It should be known that such a comparison is not fair for Windows Phone, because out of the top 100 paid apps, you can find almost the entire family of Xbox Live titles, which are mandated to three tiers of prices: $2.99 (kind of fine), $4.99 (more expensive than competitors), and $6.99 (THE WHOPPER). Having so many of them in the equation clearly means the final result can’t effectively represent the average price point across the whole eco-system, which would be even lower.

Of course it’s not quite fair for Android either. You know, with ten thousand different app stores of some sort, each for a township on this planet, and with developers trying to sell their things on a great number of app stores all at the same time… The numbers drawn from the US facet of the official Android Market might just mean nothing. Say, are we sure about exactly how many Android users even use the official Market? With maybe a large number of consumers bought an Android phone for popularity’s sake and not knowing anything about it? With OEMs packing their own homegrown app stores into the phones they sell? With Amazon trying to backstab Google? No, nothing is definitive under such messy circumstances.

Well, at least we know Windows Phone is doing, at the very least, not bad in building an eco-system. Way to go, boy!