Monday, 16 July 2012
Nokia Lumia 900 Now $50: But Do You Want It?

AT&T recently dropped the price of Nokia's flagship phone, the Windows Phone-powered Nokia Lumia 900, to $50 with a new two-year contract. It's a great deal for a high end phone that was already pretty cheap at the original price of $100, when most popular phones sell for $200. But is Nokia's phone worth it, even at $50?

The problem with the Lumia 900 is that it's essentially a dead end from a technology perspective. In the fall, Microsoft is rolling out Windows Phone 8, the next generation version of its new mobile platform. And all current Windows Phone devices can't upgrade to the new OS. Sure, Microsoft will be upgrading current Windows Phone 7.5 devices to Windows 7.8, but is that enough to convince you to live with the Lumia 900 for the length of a two-year contract with AT&T?

Here are a few things to consider.

Camera Extras
Nokia in late June added some great new features to its camera app including a self-timer, action shot function, a new panorama mode, and smart group shot that creates a composite photo from several snaps taken in quick succession. The new app is available now for Lumia phones in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

Other Apps
Nokia is also offering a new Nokia Play To app for streaming content on your phone to a PC, Blu-ray player, HDTV, or other DLNA-compatible device. A new app called Nokia Counter can track your cell phone usage including data, voice, and messaging. There are also updated versions of Nokia Music, Maps, Transit, and Drive.

Windows Phone 7.8
The biggest feature Lumia 900 users have to look forward to is the Windows Phone 7.8 update expected after the Windows Phone 8 launch this fall. Windows Phone 7.8 will give current Windows Phone 7.5 users the new Start Screen that is one of the centerpiece features of Windows Phone 8.

The new Start Screen removes the thin black strip on the right side of current devices and lets Windows Phone live tiles fill up the entire screen. You can also resize Windows Phone live tiles to cram as much or as little as you'd like into your Start Screen.

It will have three live tile sizes: a small square, medium-sized square, and a large rectangle. Current Windows Phone devices have two different, non-customizable live tile sizes. Live tiles are the square colored icons in the Windows Phone interface. The tiles are capable of displaying real-time information at a glance such as new e-mail messages, calendar appointments, social networking updates, and weather.

No Windows Phone 8
The biggest downside for the Lumia 900, and all Windows Phone 7 devices for that matter, is that Windows Phone 7.8 is no replacement for Windows Phone 8. The new features coming to the new mobile OS include an improved Web browser with Internet Explorer 10, removable SD card storage, and a digital wallet hub. Windows Phone 8 is also supporting wider hardware functionality such as multicore processor support, two new screen resolutions (1280-by-768 and 1280-by-720), and Near-Field Communication for mobile payments, social networking check-ins and other tap-and-go services.

Raj Rajput  [  MBA ] 
Mobile Reviews Expert
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T-Mobile USA Inc., the nation’s fourth-largest wireless carrier, could use parent Deutsche Telekom AG’s (DTE) sales agreement with Apple Inc. (AAPL) (AAPL) to sell the iPhone in 2013, Sanford C. Bernstein’s Craig Moffett said.

Apple and Deutsche Telekom are “increasingly likely” to reach an agreement for T-Mobile to sell iPhones in the U.S. next year, Moffett, a New York-based analyst, wrote in a research note today.

Without the iPhone, T-Mobile has struggled to keep lucrative contract customers. The carrier lost 510,000 monthly subscribers in the first quarter while rivals AT&T Inc. (T) (T) and Verizon Wireless together added 688,000 so-called post-paid customers. More than half of the smartphones sold at AT&T and Verizon in the first quarter were iPhones.

“IPhone availability at T-Mobile USA would likely reduce contract losses at that company, and push Deutsche Telekom U.S. to a net revenue growth position much sooner than the market expects,” Moffett wrote.

Apple has traditionally made iPhone sales agreements with carriers in specific countries. These agreements include volume commitments, such as Sprint Nextel Corp.’s (S) (S) four-year, $15.5 billion iPhone deal last year that requires Sprint to sell about 30 million iPhones.

Courting Apple
Apple shares fell 0.9 percent to close at $608.21 in New York. The stock is up 50 percent this year. Deutsche Telekom advanced less than one percent to 8.58 euros in Frankfurt. The shares have declined 3.2 percent this year.

This year Apple has expanded its iPhone agreements beyond top-tier players. Regional pay-as-you-go provider Leap Wireless International Inc. (LEAP) (LEAP) and Sprint’s Virgin Mobile USA have started selling the iPhone with prepaid plans.

Natalie Harrison, an Apple spokeswoman, and David Henderson, a spokesman for T-Mobile USA, both declined to comment.

The move to prepaid service suggests Apple is looking for more fuel to feed its iPhone growth, said Walt Piecyk, an analyst with BTIG LLC.

“Apple might be more willing to reduce their required commitment if sales are cooling,” Piecyk said in an e-mail.

One hurdle for T-Mobile is that its network hasn’t been compatible with any of the current iPhones. That has started to change as Deutsche Telekom pledged $1.4 billion toward network upgrades in the U.S.

The so-called fourth-generation wireless technology expansion has been key to Deutsche Telekom’s renewed effort to revive growth at T-Mobile USA and accommodate the iPhone. In a March 12 blog entry, T-Mobile’s Chief Technology Officer Neville Ray said “our 4G network will be compatible with a broader range of devices, including the iPhone.

BlackBerry Maker RIM Hit With $147.2M Patent Judgment

A federal jury in San Francisco has found beleaguered Blackberry maker Research in Motion Ltd. liable for $147.2 million in damages for infringing on patents held by Mformation Technologies Inc.

Amar Thakur, a lawyer for Mformation, said Saturday that the verdict late Friday followed a three-week trial and a week of deliberations by an eight-person jury.

Mformation, of Edison, N.J., sued Research in Motion in October 2008, alleging that Canada-based RIM infringed on its 1999 invention for remotely managing wireless devices. Mformation's software allows companies to remotely access employee cell phones to do software upgrades, change passwords or to wipe data from phones that have been stolen.

Officials at RIM, which has been struggling with plummeting sales, a declining stock and other problems, did not provide a comment Saturday.

Thakur said the jury ruled that Research in Motion should pay his client $8 for each of the 18.4 million Blackberrys that were connected to the Blackberry Enterprise Server, from the day the lawsuit was filed until the time of the trial. That's a total of $147.2 million.

He said the software at issue is the heart of the business of Mformation, a privately held company with several hundred employees.

"We believe it's been fundamental to the success of Research in Motion," Thakur told The Associated Press.

The patent at issue was filed in 2001 and issued in 2005, he said.

RIM, of Waterloo, Ontario, has previously denied it did anything wrong.

RIM has seen its business crumble as it increasingly loses market share. Today's consumers want smartphones that go far beyond handling e-mail and phone calls, with built-in cameras and other cool functions.

Particularly telling is the plunge in the Blackberry's U.S. market share. It's dropped from 41 percent in 2007, the year the first iPhone came out, to below 4 percent in the first three months of this year, according to research firm IDC.

Meanwhile, RIM will miss a chance to bounce back because of repeated delays on its BlackBerry 10 operating software, which is intended to help Blackberrys catch up to rivals such as the iPhone and smartphones running Google's Android software. Not only will devices with the new Blackberry software miss the crucial holiday shopping season, they'll have even more competition when they do go on sale, including a new iPhone expected from Apple this fall.

Last month, RIM reported weaker than expected results. For the quarter that ended on June 2, it lost $518 million, or 99 cents a share. Even after excluding impairment charges, the loss was 37 cents per share. Analysts polled by FactSet were expecting a 3-cent per share loss. Revenue fell 43 percent to $2.8 billion, and RIM said it will be cutting 5,000 jobs, or 30 percent of its workforce.

The company's stock, which traded for more than $30 less than a year ago, has recently dropped below $8, near a nine-year low. On Friday, the stock dropped another 2.4 percent to close at $7.24

iPhone 5 Release Date, Features WIll Crush Samsung Galaxy S3, Experts Say,

The iPhone 5 release date has been rumored and speculated, but Apple has remained mum on confirming dates. However, experts agree that when the iPhone does release, its features will crush Android competitors, including the leading Samsung Galaxy S3. 
"With the highly anticipated release of the iPhone 5, Samsung will definitely need an even better successor," Examiner reports.
Galaxy S3 sports many ground-breaking features including an eye tracker. This element allows the smartphone to detect if the user is actively viewing the screen before turning off. Galaxy S3 also has The S Voice, a voice commander that can access the weather, appointments, and playing music through the sound of the users voice. 
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The iPhone 5, on the other hand is expected to be enhanced, improved, and revolutionary in every aspect from the outside design to it's new software system. 
The iPhone 5 release date anticipates Apple smartphones with 4G LTE capabilities. According to Tavis Mccourt, an analyst at Raymond James, with this iPhone 5 advancement, Sprint and Verizon may sell more iPhone 5s and reach the 70% market share similar to the AT&T smartphone dispensation.   
As reported by Barron's, Mccourt anticipates that LTE Androids "will take a severe hit to demand when an LTE-based iPhone is announced."  
The current iPhone display is only 3.5 inches, while the iPhone 5 is expected to be 4 inches with a front facing camera. The phone itself will have a thinner, sleek, and more durable design. 
The iPhone 5 release date will also deliver the IOS 6 mobile operating system. Apple reports that the software will deliver about 200 new features including a new Map app with 3D and turn by turn navigation and advancements in web browsing on Safari. IOS 6 will take your Apple products "in entirely new directions," the website promises.  
Samsung Galaxy S3 first made it's debut in the UK and since then has been taking the smartphone world by storm. Since there is no direct competition in the market right now, the Korean tech company is expecting to ship 10 million more handsets this month due to high demand,

Raj Rajput [ MBA ]
Mobile Reviews Expert

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