Nokia announces it’s first Android app – Z Launcher

From being a mobile phone manufacturer, after selling itself to Microsoft, Nokia is fast developing into a software maker now. Nokia announced it’s first Android app and is calling it Z Launcher.

The launcher learns from your using of your smartphone and suggests the top apps to you at the right time. It’s not just the apps. The launcher learns from your web browsing history too.

It keeps suggesting you apps and content to access during different time phases – morning and evening to name a few. That is, the launcher will offer different apps when you are at work during morning and different ones when you are at home during evening.

Z Launcher learns and suggests apps and other content
Z Launcher learns and suggests apps and other content

The time and calendar widgets are shown above the apps suggestion. Five static apps are shown at the bottom of the apps suggestions.

Another unique feature is Scribble. Just scribble the first letter of the app that you wish to open and all the apps with that starting letter will be shown. You can access apps quickly this way. If you wish to open Uber app, scribble ‘U’ on the screen. (Check the video below)

The launcher is in beta form right now and is available for download for a quite few interested users. A dedicated website has been setup for the launcher. Interested users can connect with their Google account, download the APK file and try this new launcher on their device.

The launcher is available only for top selling models like Samsung Galaxy S3, S4, S5 and the Nexus 5 running Android 4.1 and above. The app is not optimized for tablets.

Link: Z Launcher website | Download APK via BGR

Microsoft Buys Nokia: Checkmates itself?

In the game of chess, a player makes a move thinking about the 5 moves ahead. A move can be defensive or offensive. It can also assure mutual destruction and keep things status quo. If Microsoft was playing a game of chess it just might have checkmated itself with its acquisition of Nokia.

Checkmate_Chess
Image Source

What Microsoft does not get from Nokia!

Microsoft has bought the only company committed to the Windows platform. This means this purchase will not add more devices running on Windows but just more integration.

Why will an OEM spend money and time investing in a platform when the company has its own manufacturing line up.

This is how Samsung will look at having Windows OS on its phones. It will look at every dollar it gives to Microsoft, as giving a dollar to its competition Nokia.

Microsoft just might have made the Windows platform incredibly unattractive to smartphone manufacturers.

Microsoft is not Google

Some online chatter compared Microsoft’s purchase of Nokia with Google buying Motorola. Motorola could be on one level compared to Nokia as a fallen giant of the mobile phone manufacturing industry, there is not way Microsoft compares well with Google.

When Google bought Motorola, it had a very successful OS in Android. Android was the most popular OS running on smartphones around the world.

Even though Samsung and HTC might feel threatened about Motorola being a Google entity now, it still will think ten times over before leaving a popular platform like Android. Leaving the Android eco-system for any OEM will have a price attached to it. Microsoft’s Windows eco-system is nowhere close to being like Android.

Microsoft itself has many issues to resolve internally. Their current CEO is quitting soon and a successor is still not selected. They are yet to figure out a way to get some sort of foothold in the tablet market (Nokia itself hardly figures in the tablet market).

At this stage it looks like Microsoft just might have become very desperate and bought Nokia. And a desperate move is seldom a very good chess move.

What are your views on Microsoft acquiring Nokia? Do drop in your comments.

Trivia: Pratiek Parekh made an educated guess about Microsoft wanting to buy Nokia 2 years ago on our blog. Hear more about it here.

5 Tech Companies for Whom 2013 Could be a “Make or Break” Year

As I decided to jot down things that I might expect to happen in the technology world in 2013, I ended up writing mostly thinking about Apple, Samsung, Google and Facebook. But what about very popular companies that are struggling? I thought it would be interesting to write down about five tech related companies for whom 2013 could potentially be a “make or break” year.

#1. Research in Motion (BlackBerry)

RIM BlackBerryThe Canadian company has been struggling not just from competition by Apple’s iPhone but also Android based phones. Once a BlackBerry phone symbolized the words “smart phone”. It is still a very popular phone with office going executives but it has lost out in being relevant to younger buyers. RIM also has seen its tablet offering called Playbook finding very few takers.

RIM will launch BlackBerry 10 featuring the new BB10 OS on 30th January. The year ahead with new BlackBerry phones could possibly mark its big turn around or its fall into the abyss. Forget an about turn, I am not sure it will even manage to keep a status quo in the mobile market. It will face additional competition from new Windows 8 phones that will enter the market in bigger numbers in 2013.

#2. Nokia

Nokia WIndows PhonesNokia has a glorious past as cell-phone manufacturer just like RIM. The company actually failed to get enough app developers on its platform and saw itself underestimating the acceptability of touch-screen phones. While Samsung bet on Android to produce smart-phones, Nokia shook hands with Microsoft.

In the year ahead, Nokia has a well received Lumia 920 running Windows 8. The next iteration of Lumia 920 will be crucial. The real problem for Nokia is that at the moment its destiny is not its own hands. It is in the hands of Microsoft’s Windows 8 phone becoming popular. Nokia will not just be working hard in 2013 but also praying hard for success of Windows 8 phone.

#3. Facebook

Facebook App AndroidFacebook had a mixed year in 2012. It launched its IPO, bought Instagram and showed off a newly designed mobile app for iPhones and Android. But these were not exactly signs of great innovation by Facebook. These updates and acquisitions were mainly an exercise of catching up.

Facebook has not really been pushed too much by Google+ in 2012 but expect that to change in the year ahead. Facebook is still struggling to find a way to make money from mobile phone platforms. More people will end up using Facebook as an app from their phones or tablets than their browsers. This would mean the current revenue stream of getting clicks from ads will see a decline. Facebook Gifts is a novel idea which would make Facebook’s revenue model as e-commerce instead of advertising. It also has not exactly fixed its reputation on the privacy front.

If Facebook continues to struggle to make money from it’s mobile phone platform 2013, it would with some big questions marks on Facebook’s future. That said its 1 billion users will make sure it remains relevant despite the health of its revenues.

#4. Dropbox

Dropbox_logoPersonally I love using Dropbox. I have used it for over two years. I love its referral program and also use it as a default service to backup my photos.

But the threat to Dropbox is very real. It faces competition from some seriously big players with some seriously deep pockets. Google Drive and Apple’s iCloud services will challenge Dropbox.

The problem for Dropbox seems two-fold. It lacks the financial resources of Apple and Google. Additionally it also lacks having its own mobile phone platform like an iOS and Android or online services like Gmail or Google search. If Dropbox does not hold its own against Google and Apple, it might have to think of a dreaded word called “acquisition”.

#5. Microsoft

Windows8_packageI thought more than a few times before putting Microsoft in this list. But it makes sense that 2013 will be the year, Microsoft will make a incredible turn-around or end up further behind the likes of Google and Apple. Microsoft has faltered with its online business with Bing. It has also invested in So.cl which is a social network that not one has taken notice of as yet.

Windows 8 as an OS is great attempt by Microsoft. It is a real step forward design wise by Microsoft. The company’s big problem is that Windows 8 phone is not exactly getting people very excited. The Surface tablets also have not exactly caught people’s imagination and Microsoft has nothing in the 7-inch tablet form factor.

One major issue for Microsoft has been developing a great app eco-system for developers. At the moment is a bit of a ghost town. It is nowhere close to the likes of Apple’s app store or Google Play. If Microsoft does not fix these drawbacks with Windows 8 over the year, 2013 could end up being the year which would mark the beginning of the end in Microsoft’s history.

What are your expectations from the tech world for the year ahead? Do let us know in your comments. Also as this is the last post before the year 2012 ends, let me take this opportunity to wish all our readers a very “Happy New Year!”

Nokia Apologises for Fake PureView Ad

Nokia Pureview Fake Ad

Nokia in an event yesterday, introduced the much awaited Windows 8 phones to the world. The Nokia Lumia 920 is being touted as a phone that would help Nokia become a relevant brand in the mobile phone business.

But controversy broke out when The Verge, first pointed out that the advertisement show casing PureView camera stabilization technology (OIS) was a fake.

In the advertisement, a reflection clearly shows that the camera being used to take the image was not a phone.

Nokia Pureview Fake Ad

Nokia has apologized on its blog for not having the correct disclaimers but its reputation has already been harmed. Last thing Nokia need was to showcase the camera and then come out and apologize for faking the video itself.

Nokia Lumia 920 Features

  • The phone features 4.5-inched curved glass display.
  • 1.5 GHz dual-core S4 processor.
  • Lumia 920 is a Windows 8 phone.
  • The phone will have 8.7 megapixels camera.
  • 1 GB Internal Memory and 32 GB storage.

In the long run the problem with Lumia 920 is not the controversy of the fake video. It will be the platform it runs on and its ability to compete with the apps ecosystem of Android and iOS.

If Windows 8 does not kick in some magic, it might be too late for Nokia.

Nokia Lumia 610 Features, Specifications, Price and Review.

Few days back Nokia launched a new phone in its Lumia series that is “Nokia Lumia 610” and announced another model “Nokia Lumia 800 The Dark Knight Rises Limited Edition” that will be launched soon. But is Lumia 610 worth buying or not? Let’s have a look at the phone, its features and tech specifications.

Specifications:

Dimensions:

  • Height:119.2mm
  • Width:62.2mm
  • Thickness:11.9mm
  • Weight:132g

nokia lumia 610
Display: Lumia 610 is having a 3.7″ (diagonally) screen with 800pixels by 480pixels LCD Gorilla Glass Display.
Camera: 5MP with Auto focus, LED flash, 4X Zoom and a dedicated 2 stage capture key. Unfortunately this phone is not capable of capturing HD videos and you just have an option of shooting VGA videos with 30fps and 3X Zoom.
Processor and Memory: Lumia 610 features an 800 Mhz processor with 256MB of RAM. It has an inbuilt storage of 8GB.
Connectivity: 

    • 3G with HSDPA, WCDMA, EDGE and GPRS.
    • USB: Micro USB 2.0
    • Bluetooth: 2.1+EDR
    • WiFi: WLAN IEEE 802.11 b/g/n

Battery: 10.5 hours of talk time and 670 hours of standby time for 2G. For a 3G network its 9.5 hours of talk time and 720 hours of standby time.
GPS: Bing and Nokia Maps with A-GPS.
Browser: Internet Browser with CSS 3, HTML 5, XHTML and SVG.
Operating System: Windows Phone 7.5.
SIM Card: Single SIM, Micro SIM slot.

 Price and Verdict:

The price of Nokia Lumia 610 in India is around Rs.13,000. The phone is overall good but there are so many competitors in the market for this price range. Applications for Windows phone are limited but most of them are good. The screen resolution is good but the video capturing quality could have been better. Well it’s a nice phone and if you love Nokia or Windows phone then you should definitely buy this else you can check out other options available in the market.

Don’t forget to share your views about the phone. 🙂

Nokia 808 Pure View has a 41 Mega Pixel Sensor! [MWC 12]

The Mobile World Congress 2012 (MWC 12), is underway in Barcelona, Spain. Nokia has made a big splash at the MWC 12, giving a sneek-peek at their latest mobile phone called Pure View. The incredible part of this phone it is will be packing a 41 Megapixel sensor. Yup, that was not a typo, it will have a 41 Megapixel sensor.

The 41 megapixel camera will allow to shoot and record in very high resolutions. Some great innovations promised is allowing upto 4X zoom, with no loss of quality of the image. If reasonably priced, I can see these phones pretty much replacing most point and shoot cameras out there.

Most people will concentrate on the 41 megapixel camera but there will be somethings worth noting. The phone does not seem to have a front-facing camera. This obviously means no video calling support on the phone.

Other details like memory storage and battery have not been disclosed as yet. These might be interesting details too as photos of such high resolution will probably need decent sized memory storage.

Revival for Symbian OS?

The phone will run on Symbian Belle and could probably be the most exciting device brought out by Nokia in the past couple of years. It might be the last gasp attempt at revival of Symbian by Nokia.

In recent past, it seems to be doing a lot better with its Lumia series running Windows 7.5 OS for Mobile phones. So this phone can  be viewed as sort of a reiteration of Nokia’s support of Symbian OS.

What are your views on a 41 Megapixel sensor for a camera? Will you buy this phone? Do drop in your comments.

Link: Nokia Press Release

Nokia Launches Lumia 800 in India: Runs on Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango)

Nokia_Lumia_800Today, Nokia launched the Lumia 800 in India. Lumia 800 runs on Windows 7.5 (Mango) OS. The phone looks quite adorable but more interesting part of this story would probably be how Microsoft and Nokia evolve together in the mobile market. Nokia has lost out big time in the smartphone market and these phones should be the starting point for Nokia to become competitive.

Here is what the Nokia Lumia 800 has to offer:

  • The phone has a 3.7 inch ClearBlack AMOLED display with resolution of 800X480. The screen supports capacitive touch screen and pinch zoom.
  • The battery allows for talktime of 13 hours on GSM and CDMA upto 9.5 hours. Video playback can go one fore 6.5 hours and music playback upto 55 hours.
  • The 8 MP camera supports LED Flash and also auto focus.
  • The memory is 512 MB program memory with 16 GB of storage. The nice part is it also has support for 25 GB Skydrive.
  • It does have Facebook integration and also supports Outlook and office application which might be helpful for people using Windows OS on their laptop and looking to sync documents with their phones.

Finally, the price. Nokia has not released the price tag for the phone but it is rumoured to be around Rs. 27,000. If that does turn out to be the price, this phone might make a dent in the smartphone market here in India. The phone will be available in December 2011. If you are looking to buy a new phone, here is a list of smart-phones available in India.

Microsoft and Nokia in the same boat!

When it comes to brand image, Nokia has slipped in India. Microsoft well has not real great market-share as a Mobile OS in India. Currently the smart-phone bracket only has Android based HTC, Samsung phones grabbing numbers and of course the Apple iPhone 4. In a way, Microsoft and Nokia working together, makes sense as they both have a common goal to dominate a market they are not .

Do drop in your comments.

Link: Nokia Lumia 800

10 Latest Smart Phones in India this Diwali!

During this Diwali festival, I have decided to go and get myself a new smart phone. I started to do a little research and came up with a list of phones I could potentially buy. In my research, I found 10 new phones that are out there. So I thought I will share this list and approximate prices with you; so if you are looking to buy a new phone it would helpful. So here is the list of 10 latest smart phones you can consider buying this Diwali.

#1. Blackberry Bold 4 9900

blackberry-bold-9900The phone supports QWERTY keypad and has a touch screen. It does seem to be a phone meant for business with document viewer and Pushmail. It has a single 5 Megapixel camera.

Internal storage space is 8 Gb which is expandable to 32 Gb. It does have 768 MB RAM.

OS: BlackBerry 7 OS

Price: INR 33,000

I guess this phone is a little over-priced considering almost a similar phone BlackBerry Torch is priced a lot less.

Link: Blackberry Bold 9900

#2. BlackBerry Torch 9810

BlackBerry_Torch_9810The BlackBerry Torch supports touch screen and also a QWERTY keypad. Its display screen is 3.2 inches. It has a single 5 megapixel camera. Storage space is 8 GB with support for Micro SD upto 32 GB.

It supports GPRS, WiFi and 3G connectivity.

OS: BlackBerry 7 OS

Price: INR 30,000

This phone is considered to the best BlackBerry phone out there.

Link: BlackBerry Torch 9810

#3.Samsung Galaxy R i9103

Samsung_Galaxy_RThis phone handset has a touch screen, size is 4.2 Inches. It has 2 cameras with primary camera being 5 Megapixel.

It does support 3G and WiFi for connectivity. It has internal storage space of 8 GB and it supports Micros SD, upto 32 GB.

OS: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Price: INR 26,000

The smart phone seems to be priced a tad too high and it might be worth taking a look at some other phones from Samsung in the same price margin.

Link: Samsung Galaxy R

#4. Samsung Galaxy S Plus I9001

Samsung_Galaxy_PlusGalaxy S Plus has a touch screen, while it does support a display screen that is 4 inches. It has two cameras with the primary one being 5 Megapixel.

It supports HD recording and storage space is expandable to 32GB.  For connectivity it supports WiFi, 3G and GPRS.

OS: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Price: INR 22,500

This phone is a good buy for its price, especially if one finds Galaxy R phones a little too expensive.

Link: Samsung Galaxy S Plus

#5. LG Optimus3D P920

LG-smart-phones-P920The LG Optimus 3D has a touch screen, with 2 cameras with one of them being a 5 megapixel camera. Camera features that set it apart are ability to take 3D photos and stereoscopic photos.

It has 8 GB storage space while 512 MB RAM.

OS: Android 2.2 (Froyo)

Price: INR 35,000

This phone mainly caters to the market which wants to take and view 3D photos.

Link: LG Optimus P920

#6. Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V

Sony_xperia_neo_vXperia Neo V is considered to be a value for money phone. It works with touch screen and size is 3.7 inches. It does have two cameras with one being 5 megapixel. It has 2 GB internal memory.

OS: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Price: INR 17,500

#7. BlackBerry 9330

OS: Android 2.3 (Gingerbread)

Price: INR 22,500

Link: Sony Ericsson Xperia neo V

#7. HTC Sensation XE

HTC_sensation_xeThis is one of the latest phones from HTC in India. It has support for 3G, and runs on a 1.5 GHz Dual Core processor.

Its internal memory is 1GB which is a bit disappointing but does support Micro SD upto 32 GB.

OS: Android 2.3.4 (Gingerbread)

Price: Rumored INR 35,000

If you are a fan of HTC smart phones and want to stick with an Android, this phone is worth taking a look.

Link: HTC Sensation XE

#8. Nokia 701

Nokia_701Nokia 701 is also a value for money phone, and has a very good 8 MP camera. It is a touch screen phone. It does support 3G and Wifi.

The memory storage is a decent 8GB which is expandable.

OS: Symbian Belle OS

Price: INR 17,000

The phone is pretty good and has decent reviews. The single problem is that Nokia phones have not been received all that well and support for Symbian is considered uncertain after Nokia joined hands with Microsoft.

Link: Nokia 701

#9.  HTC Explorer

HTC_ExplorerAnother Android based touch phone from HTC, it does have 3.15 Megapixel camera and supports 3G. It does have a 3.2 inch display screen.

Internal memory is a disappointing 90 MB but I guess the low-cost of the phone makes it a decent buy.

OS: Android 2.3

Price: INR 11,600

Link: HTC Explorer

#10. Apple iPhone 4

iPhone4You cannot compile a list of smart-phones without the iPhone 4. It has features like Facetime, retina display screen, 5 megapixel camera. It supports a host of Apps thanks to its iOS platform.

You can look up the complete guide to purchasing a iPhone 4 in India or wait it out until next year when iPhone 4S is expected to be available.

The price is INR 34,500 for 16GB and INR 40,900 for a 32GB phone.

Link: Apple iPhone 4 India

Whatever you choose to buy, do a good research on what exactly you want from your phone. On last thoughts, we should be expecting phones running Microsoft’s Mango OS by year-end.

Do drop in your comments and views about these phones. Also wishing all our readers a very Happy Diwali.

Nokia E7 booking finally starts in India!

I must remind of you about the highly publicized Nokia E7 in the recent few months. Even I had many people asking constantly about the launch date and finally I can answer them now.

Just to remind you Nokia E7 is an advanced phone equipped with a 8 MP camera and 16GB internal memory. You just need to visit the Nokia E7 official website and fill up the online form which looks as given below.

 

DW e7prebook_1

You can select the nearest Priority Dealer in your city and should get a call within 24 hours. Post this, you just need to deposit Rs. 3000 to secure your new Nokia E7, if you are satisfied with the offer. The process has been kept quite easy and hence does not need any explanation.

 

Book quickly if you were just waiting for the E7 to arrive, and please do comment on your experiences with booking and obviously with E7 🙂

Link: Book Nokia E7

OviMail moving to Yahoo: Users may not see old emails for several days!

Ovi Mail is a mail service used by Nokia users. Today, most Ovi Mail users received an email that Nokia is partnering with Yahoo to enhance Ovi Mail. The email sent out shows Nokia is making some interesting partners. Microsoft has recently paid them $1 Billion to stay away from Android. The partnership was announced last year in July 2010, but actual transition of Ovi Mail accounts to Yahoo will start this week.

Ovi_mail_yahoo_integration

Below is an excerpt form the email sent out to Ovi Mail users.

Once the transition starts, you will immediately begin receiving new
emails into your updated Ovi Mail account, but you may not see your
old emails for several days until the transition has finished
.  Don’t
worry because your emails are safe and are being moved to Yahoo!.  You
will see them in your inbox again once the transfer is complete.

The thing that might concern Ovi Mail account users is that, users might not be able to see their old emails for several days. The emails will be accessible to Ovi Mail users once the transition is done. This email is a little vague. There is not timeframe that defines several days. Several days could mean 3-4 days or even 20 days.

Nokia has made some strange partnerships. It has partnered with Microsoft, which seems to be a smart move as they will be receiving 1$ Billion from Microsoft. Yahoo as a partner is quite strange. In my opinion Yahoo is a bit of a sinking ship.

Thanks to Akshay for the tip.

What are your views on this Nokia and Yahoo partnership? Do you think Ovi Mail experience will actually be enhanced?