HTC Windows Phone 8

HTC to launch Windows Phone 8 devices 8X and 8S in India next week!

HTC 8X is the flagship Windows Phone 8 device we have all been waiting for – take a look at how critics absolutely loved this device  while they weren’t too impressed with Windows Phone 8 OS  (which I tend to agree with). HTC 8S however is the one to watch out for in Indian market – it is supposedly the cheapest Windows Phone 8 device and is expected to sell at <  25k Rupees (my estimation – I could be wrong though) while 8X is expected to sell at Rs 35,000.  Windows Phone 8 was launched last week and Microsoft announced global availability in November. Both HTC and Nokia are coming up with devices next month and looks like HTC is ahead of the race already: HTC India posted a Facebook update confirming the availability of HTC WP8 devices as early as next week. Why the hurry? Now is the time I’d like to redirect you to couple of my previous brief rants here and here. Yes, it’s all about Diwali. Diwali is on 13th of November which gives us 13 days. Diwali is THE festival where people save up money all year to invest in their favorite gadgets, companies take months to plan out their Diwali strategy so it is incredibly important for any company to come up with exciting products during this time. HTC is doing the correct thing by bringing their devices to the market right before Diwali – if marketed, promoted and priced well – HTC could be in for a  treat this Diwali. We’ll update you very soon with official pricing. Stay tuned.

ProTip – Price 8S at 20,000 Rupees, HTC and I can guarantee you a bestseller this Diwali.

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Nokia India makes the right decision ~ 30% price cut on Lumia 800 plus free Nokia purity headsets by Monster

I believe my ranting paid off. Dhruv from FoneArena discovered a Saholic listing price cut of Lumia 800 and he has been able to confirm that this indeed is an official price cut and you will soon see this reflect at both online and offline stores. Lumia 800 on Saholic has been priced at 18867 Rupees and not only that but you also get a free Nokia purity headset by Monster, worth Rs. 5110 which makes it a really sweet deal. The other devices in the Lumia family didn’t get any price cut unfortunately (they are appropriately priced as well, I’d say – atleast at offline stores). Now with the launch of Lumia 510 and it’s supposed under 11k price tag – Lumia family looks bold and now – affordable. Listing below:

 

 

We posted about Nokia’s Diwali plan last week where they offered free accessory with Nokia Lumia device and I argued about how the lack of price cut will affect sales at the most crucial period of mobile phone sale at this point of time, which would be Diwali.  It looks like sense has prevailed (or we are seeing some pressure from retailers ) and the right thing has been done. Hopefully market will appreciate the price cut and Lumia sales see some boom. Personally, I’d predict 510 and 610 to lead the chart this Diwali. Oh, you guys remember Lumia 900 sitting pretty at a ridiculous price tag? No? Me neither.

Embedded below is the Nokia India Diwali TVC featuring Priyanka Chopra and the Lumia family:

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Nokia announces Lumia 510 for India, launching next month – to be priced under 11k Rupees!

Press folks and bloggers were invited to a “Nokia’s gift for Diwali” event today and we were pretty sure that it’s going to be Lumia 510 launch. And indeed today, Nokia India just unveiled Lumia 510 for the Indian market. The specs are as follows: 4inch display (WVGA) , 4 GB memory, 256 MB RAM, 5 MP Camera and a 800 MHz processor. Lumia 510 also comes with free 3 month pass to unlimited Nokia Music and Mix radio streaming. What’s worth noting is that there is still no concrete selling price information yet but < 11k is what the press has been told. Lumia 510 will come in 5 colors. 510 owners will also get access to 7 GB of free Skydrive space.

Lumia 610 owners, I don’t know if I should call this an upgrade or a cheaper brother of 610 but you must note that 510 has a larger display (4″ v/s 3.7″) but less memory (4GB v/s 8GB on 610).

Here’s the official video from Nokia:

Here’s a couple of pictures from UnleashThePhones and BGRIndia right from the launch event:

 

 

So Lumia 510 is Nokia’s Diwali gift to India. A couple of posts back I ranted about how Nokia is missing out on huge opportunity by not getting WP8 devices ready for Diwali (I stick with my stance) and in the process cutting prices for WP 7.x devices. Lumia 510 can actually sell really well on Diwali which is next month. Nokia is planning to release the device under 11k Rupees (as told to the press today) but I am thinking if they go to <10k or even better <9k – Windows Phone can really see a turnaround in sales in India. This is what was required on Day one when Nokia launched 800 and 710 in India. It’s a little funny and sad at the same time that such an important an import device is coming out when Windows Phone 8 launch is on the horizon.

Nokia needs to drag Samsung out of the Under 10k market that Nokia once ruled – this is a step in the right direction but we need more variants of 510 to actually make a dent in the market. If Nokia can get a WP8 to be this dirt cheap – I think we may have a chance to see Windows Phone go mainstream in India.

More details on the official Lumia 510 page.

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WPSauce impact? Nokia officially teases Nokia Lumia 510 launch in India on Facebook

I feel like a CNN IBN investigative reporter telling you about how our news made impact on x and that prompted x to do y. Yesterday, we confirmed that Lumia 510 was in India and definitely close to being in the hands of consumers as well. Today, Nokia India posted the following status on it’s Facebook page

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lumia510nokiaindia

The device should cost you less than 10,000 Rs so it’s going to be THE most important Lumia device for Nokia India considering how Samsung is completely dominating the low – mid segment, once owned by Nokia, in the Indian market and there is no way Nokia can survive without getting the sales numbers they had couple of years ago.

There’s a press conference to be held in Delhi by Nokia regarding a device launch on 23rd this month so this could very well be the launch of Lumia 510 in India. However, from what we know – the devices won’t be available this month. We’ll keep you updated on this.

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More Nokia Lumia 510 camera roll pictures leak on the web, confirms presence in India

Eagle eyed folks at PocketNow discovered  a picture on Picasa whose exif data plans revealed the model of a much anticipated device – Lumia 510. Right now, we know very little about Lumia 510 except for a fact that it’s exactly what we told you about back in August. Yes, it will be the cheapest Lumia yet and will run on Windows Phone 7.5. The device is expected to be priced around $150 and will be available after the launch of Windows phone 8 devices. The exif data, as reported by Pocketnow, showed an aperture of f/2.4 which isn’t too bad for a $150 device. My friend Himanshu Rathore did some digging at Google+ and found two more pictures clicked via Lumia 510. Check out here and here.

Lumia 510 India

Lumia 510 India

The pictures were uploaded by a guy called “Dinu Love” on Google+ and from his profile – he works at Leading Edge Communication Pvt Ltd which is a Delhi based company (according to CEO’s linkedin profile). The uploader himself is based in Delhi and from the look of it – he definitely is in India. So Lumia 510 is definitely being tested in India and this validates our initial report of a low price point WP 7.5 Lumia phone coming soon to India and China. The question is: What in the world is an unreleased Nokia Lumia device doing in the hands of a person in a relatively unknown company and even if it is being tested – why is the person clicking pictures and publicly posting them all over the web? How did this device get in his hands? What has Nokia done about this? We’ll keep you updated on Nokia’s response regarding this issue.

Lumia 510 could have been an excellent launch device in India along with 800 and 710 but unfortunately, it’s being introduced too late.

Source pic: GSMArena

Nokia India reveals Diwali plans – free accessories for everyone!

Diwali, where suddenly everybody gets truckload of money and goes on a shopping spree. Yes for that exact market..companies spend a lot of time strategizing their “Diwali marketing and promotion” plans and boy has Nokia missed the boat. Most of the OEMs are working hard on price cuts and Nokia India instead stuck to their official price and instead introduced a Diwali only free accessory offer with every purchase of Nokia Lumia. More details below:

Nokia Lumia Diwali 2012 offer

Nokia Lumia Diwali 2012 offer

 

So let’s cut it short. No significant price cut on Lumia devices. This is clearly not one of their smarter moves. Here’s another bad news – from the lack of price cut – we are going to assume that Windows Phone 8 devices won’t be here for Diwali. Why? If indeed they were coming before Diwali, surely we would have seen significant price cuts on Windows Phone 7 devices which doesn’t seem to happen. Another opportunity wasted. Now if Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra gets her Diwali act going really well..we’ll probably see a spike in sale. Probably.

Source: Nokia India

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All Windows Phone 8 handsets to possibly get offline maps as part of the OS

In the video of the HTC 8S that was leaked today by WPCentral and TBreak, we noticed a small change in the settings of the default maps app in Windows Phone 8 – an option to download them for offline use.

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The setting reads: [download maps] Search for places and get directions without a data connection.

Hopefully, this means that turn-by-turn directions will not be exclusive to Nokia anymore. On the flip side, this makes the decision between Lumia 920 and HTC 8x even harder to make.

The person doing the hands-on demo begins using the maps app at 3:33 in the YouTube video. The settings page is shown at 3:52.

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The Lumia 800 experience from a layman’s perspective

There have been numerous reviews about the Lumia 800. People with various technical credentials who can spout the Kernel versions of a phone faster than you can Bing (yes, you realize this is a review about the Windows Phone 7.5) the results, have written long texts about how and why and where this phone excels and fails. However, what does a layman think about using this phone? Here’s an analysis –

 

User Interface

The first thing that stands out when you unlock your Lumia 800 is the user interface, with beautifully arranged tiles based on a black theme that looks like a pool of infinity. You can of course add the tiles of your choice from the menu list onto the start screen for easier but a problem with the rearrangement is faced where you sometimes end up having a strange looking void in the middle when you rearrange tiles to suit your preference. This might prompt you to look for other apps to add there or just leave a gaping black (or white) hole in the middle. A grid alignment feature would have helped here.

Although the black theme (using the ClearBlack technology) looks the best with the Lumia, the light theme with the Teal is also a great choice; if you’re ready to compromise on battery life. Light does sap the energy out of the phone so it is a bit of a downer for someone who isn’t a fan of black.

Another thing that users might find cumbersome would be the scrolling that one has to do even on the start menu if you have pinned a lot of apps to it. So, the large size of the tiles acts as a boon because it is good for those with normal sized fingers – unlike some other phone interfaces where you need to be a hand model to fit your fingers properly – but it also means a lot of scrolling at times.

Another thing that is quite pleasing about this phone is the extremely accommodative keypad. I believe that the mark of a keypad should be judged when you try to type in complicated passwords into your apps or when you’re using proper nouns and the Lumia 800 keypad does well to sense the movements. Of course the normal everyday English typing is great and the wavy lines below wrongly spelled words do remind you of Microsoft Word at times. Easy typing ensures that one doesn’t struggle while texting, tweeting or instant messaging.

 

Applications

This is probably the part where most users would feel that they’re not getting as much as other OS platforms. The Windows Marketplace is a difficult place to be in for a user who is accustomed to the Android or iOS. With a dearth of many basic apps, like Instagram and YouTube, that most users would expect, you’re left wanting for more. For someone who is mostly using twitter clients other than the native ones, the lack of the same in the Marketplace was quite a difficulty.

Twitter for Windows Phone is well done except for the lack of being able to reply to multiple people and an interactions column which means keeping a track of retweets and followers is difficult. One must mention the prompt notifications though, integrated with the phone.

Native Facebook app, although it has a slight learning curve, works like a charm and makes you want to use Facebook as often as possible. However, for an extremely Facebook savvy person who loves notifications as they happen, this might cause disappointment. Yet, I must add that as an annoyed Facebook for Android user, the speed on this one was really pleasing.

SkyDrive is clearly the forte on this phone when it comes to virtual storage, as it integrates seamlessly, all the data that you would like on the cloud from your phone. It’s one of the best apps they have out there and a recommended download for anyone using a Windows Phone.

Internet Explorer while not as scary as its desktop counterpart still leaves a lot to be desired as it lacks basic functions like a reader view (for those long texts) and can be quite annoying at times due to its strange zooming functionality which renders text too small or too big to be read on screen.

Skype is sort of funny here because it uses the back camera so if you’re video chatting you can probably show the other person what you’re looking at rather than your own self. In this regard a front camera is sorely missed on the Lumia 800.

One cannot praise Nokia Maps enough though. With a minimalist view that makes sure you never get lost, it is a pleasure to use and loads extremely fast without draining your battery. Use it wherever you are and be assured that it won’t let you down.

 

Notifications?

You want to get down on your knees and beg for a dedicated notifications tray of any sort. Only emails and text messages notifications linger on whereas the rest are lost quickly. So, unless you’re the one who checks the phone the moment there’s a notification ping, you’re going to be quite bothered. One hopes that the subsequent editions of this phone do have this basic feature at hand; otherwise you’re left checking all your dedicated apps to understand where that ping came from.

 

Integrated

Once you have configured your email, Facebook and Twitter accounts to the phone, you will be impressed by the way they are all integrated to easily connect with your contacts and see their recent updates on various platforms. The email integration ensures that you will not miss an email and attachments are downloaded without issues. Of course, not many people are now using Windows Live so it being integrated into your phone means that you will be seeing updates from as recent as two years ago (the last time someone bothered with hotmail).

Hardware

I have to say that the phone has given me stronger wrists than before. It is on the heavier side, weighing in at 142 grams and maybe not a preference if you want sleeker phones, with a thickness of 12.1mm. However, getting the black one means that you do have a phone that gives a monolithic appearance thanks to the monoblock design.

The 8MP camera with the Carl Zeiss Tessar lens ensures better quality pictures even on full zoom and in low light. What does disappoint though is probably the lack of in-built filters for the camera that other phones provide. Of course, the picture editing application can be downloaded but nobody complains about built-ins.

The battery life isn’t much to write home about, especially with data services running. 3G consumes a large amount of battery and charging is slow at times. It is more advisable to use the phone on wi-fi instead.

 

Conclusively

This is a phone that requires patience, as the Windows Phone is new in the field of smartphones, facing stiff competition from established users. It is all a question of waiting for a better application market and the provision of a few basic features which might restrict the phone. However, the UI and integration are its redeeming factors that ensure that people will keep talking about this and the subsequent Lumias (this is the plural, in theory) in the future too.

 

  

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Following the tradition – The Windows Phone 8 Ship Party!

Windows Phone 8 hit RTM this month so according to the tradition – there should be a Ship Party and that’s exactly what Microsoft employees got. The party was held on Friday September 28th and it was documented on Twitter / Facebook as well.  If you remember from last year, Microsoft had a Mango ship party last year and probably the most memorable ship parade ever: the Windows Phone ship parade numero uno which had a parade going on (with RIP RIM and other bold stuff) and most importantly a “Thriller” flash mob (view the video here ).

So what happened at the Windows Phone 8 ship party? Well, we are guessing that they had  a lot of fun. We have a few pictures from the event for those who are interested :

Got more pictures to share? Hit the Tip button and send us your shots!

Now let’s get some Windows phone 8 consumer preview rolling in, Microsoft!

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