Home » Posts tagged 'Nokia'

Tag Archives: Nokia

The Nokia phone business is to be relaunched via a $500M private startup with Android smartphones and tablets in addition to the feature phones for which manufacturing, sales and distribution, would be acquired from Microsoft by a subsidiary of Foxconn

May 18, 2016: Microsoft selling feature phone business to FIH Mobile Ltd. and HMD Global, Oy

REDMOND, Wash. — May 18, 2016 — Microsoft Corp. on Wednesday announced it reached an agreement to sell the company’s entry-level feature phone assets to FIH Mobile Ltd., a subsidiary of Hon Hai/Foxconn Technology Group, and HMD Global, Oy for $350 million. As part of the deal, FIH Mobile Ltd. will also acquire Microsoft Mobile Vietnamthe company’s Hanoi, Vietnam, manufacturing facility. Upon close of this deal, approximately 4,500 employees will transfer to, or have the opportunity to join, FIH Mobile Ltd. or HMD Global, Oy, subject to compliance with local law.

Microsoft will continue to develop Windows 10 Mobile and support Lumia phones such as the Lumia 650, Lumia 950 and Lumia 950 XL, and phones from OEM partners like Acer, Alcatel, HP, Trinity and VAIO.

As part of the deal, Microsoft will transfer substantially all of its feature phone assets, including brands, software and services, care network and other assets, customer contracts, and critical supply agreements, subject to compliance with local law. The transaction is expected to close in the second half of 2016, subject to regulatory approvals and other closing conditions.

Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT” @microsoft) is the leading platform and productivity company for the mobile-first, cloud-first world, and its mission is to empower every person and every organization on the planet to achieve more.

For FY16 Q3:

  • Surface revenue increased 61% [to $1.111] in constant currency driven by Surface Pro 4 and Surface Book
  • Phone revenue declined 46% in constant currency

Now under Nokia Technologies (TECH) the relaunched Nokia phone and tablet business will also exploit such TECH innovations as the recent Nokia OZO: a better way to capture VR

May 18, 2016: Nokia signs strategic brand and intellectual property licensing agreement enabling HMD global to create new generation of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets

Nokia signs strategic brand and intellectual property licensing agreement enabling HMD global to create new generation of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets

Espoo, Finland – Nokia has announced plans that will see the Nokia brand return to the mobile phone and tablet markets on a global basis. Under a strategic agreement covering branding rights and intellectual property licensing, Nokia Technologies will grant HMD global Oy (HMD), a newly founded company based in Finland, an exclusive global license [1] to create Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets for the next ten years. Under the agreement, Nokia Technologies will receive royalty payments from HMD for sales of Nokia-branded mobile products, covering both brand and intellectual property rights.

HMD has been founded to provide a focused, independent home for a full range of Nokia-branded feature phones, smartphones and tablets. To complete its portfolio of Nokia branding rights, HMD announced today that it has conditionally agreed to acquire from Microsoft the rights to use the Nokia brand on feature phones, and certain related design rights. The Microsoft transaction is expected to close in H2 2016. Together these agreements would make HMD the sole global licensee for all types of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. HMD intends to invest over USD 500 million over the next three years to support the global marketing of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, funded via its investors and profits from the acquired feature phone business.

Nokia-branded feature phones remain one of the most popular choices of mobile phone in many markets around the world today, and HMD will continue to market them as part of an integrated portfolio alongside a new range of smartphones and tablets. HMD’s new smartphone and tablet portfolio will be based on Android, uniting one of the world’s iconic mobile brands with the leading mobile operating system and app development community.

As also announced today by FIH Mobile Limited (FIH), a subsidiary of Hon Hai Precision Industries (trading as Foxconn Technology Group), the remainder of Microsoft’s feature phone business assets, including manufacturing, sales and distribution, would be acquired by FIH. HMD and Nokia Technologies have signed an agreement with FIH to establish a collaboration framework to support the building of a global business for Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets. This agreement will give HMD full operational control of sales, marketing and distribution of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, with exclusive access to the pre-eminent global sales and distribution network to be acquired from Microsoft by FIH, access to FIH’s world-leading device manufacturing, supply chain and engineering capabilities, and to its growing suite of proprietary mobile technologies and components.

Nokia will provide HMD with branding rights and cellular standard essential patent licenses in return for royalty payments, but will not be making a financial investment or holding equity in HMD.  Nokia Technologies will take a seat on the Board of Directors of HMD and set mandatory brand requirements and performance related provisions to ensure that all Nokia-branded products exemplify consumer expectations of Nokia devices, including quality, design and consumer focused innovation.

HMD would be led, once the Microsoft transaction closes, by Arto Nummela as CEO, who previously held senior positions at Nokia and is currently the head of Microsoft’s Mobile Devices business for Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa, as well as Microsoft’s global Feature Phones business. HMD’s president on closing would be Florian Seiche, who is currently Senior Vice President for Europe Sales and Marketing at Microsoft Mobile, and previously held key roles at Nokia, HTC and other global brands.

Ramzi Haidamus, president of Nokia Technologies, said:
“Today marks the beginning of an exciting new chapter for the Nokia brand in an industry where Nokia remains a truly iconic name. Instead of Nokia returning to manufacturing mobile phones itself, HMD plans to produce mobile phones and tablets that can leverage and grow the value of the Nokia brand in global markets. Working with HMD and FIH will let us participate in one of the largest consumer electronics markets in the world while staying true to our licensing business model.”

Arto Nummela, CEO-designate of HMD, said:
“We will be completely focused on creating a unified range of Nokia-branded mobile phones and tablets, which we know will resonate with consumers. Branding has become a critical differentiator in mobile phones, which is why our business model is centered on the unique asset of the Nokia brand and our extensive experience in sales and marketing. We will work with world class providers in manufacturing and distribution to move quickly and deliver what customers want.”

Vincent Tong, Chairman of FIH, added:
“We are looking forward to fostering a strong and long-term collaboration with HMD global and Nokia. We are impressed by the experience and expertise of the HMD management team and are committed to supporting them with our manufacturing, technology and supply chain capabilities, to capture market opportunities together in the future.”

1 Excluding Japan

About Nokia Technologies
Nokia Technologies (TECH) is Nokia’s advanced technology and licensing business. Formed in 2014, TECH builds upon Nokia’s solid foundation of industry-leading licensing and technology R&D capabilities. By focusing on Digital Health, Digital Media, Brand Licensing, and Patent Licensing, TECH is expanding the human possibilities of the ever-evolving world of technology. In 2015, Nokia Technologies launched OZO, the world’s first virtual reality (VR) camera designed for professionals.

About Nokia
Nokia is a global leader in the technologies that connect people and things. Powered by the innovation of Bell Labs and Nokia Technologies, the company is at the forefront of creating and licensing the technologies that are increasingly at the heart of our connected lives.

With state-of-the-art software, hardware and services for any type of network, Nokia is uniquely positioned to help communication service providers, governments, and large enterprises deliver on the promise of 5G, the Cloud and the Internet of Things.http://nokia.com

About HMD global
Registered and headquartered in Helsinki, Finland, HMD is a new private venture founded to create a new generation of Nokia-branded mobile devices. HMD is run by a group of experienced industry leaders, including CEO Arto Nummela, previously of Nokia and currently the head of Microsoft’s Mobile Devices business for Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa as well as Microsoft’s global Feature Phones business, and President Florian Seiche, who is currently Senior Vice President for Europe Sales and Marketing at Microsoft Mobile, and previously held key roles at Nokia, HTC and other global brands.
www.hmdglobal.com

The answer to the question you’ve all been asking, Nokia

We are proud to announce that the Nokia brand will be returning to the worldwide mobile phone and tablet market.

Every day our fans continue to ask for Nokia smartphones. In fact, in a recent survey, we found that Nokia smartphones are amongst the top five considered brands for purchase by smartphone buyers – and they aren’t even available yet.

So, under a new agreement, Nokia Technologies has granted HMD, a new company led by some of the world’s top mobile specialists, an exclusive global license to create a full range of Nokia-branded smartphones, tablets, and feature phones for the next decade.

The new smartphones and tablets will be based on Android, uniting one of the world’s iconic mobile brands, Nokia, with the leading mobile operating system and app development community.

There is still much work for HMD to do, so you’ll need to wait a bit longer to see what the next wave of Nokia phones and tablets look like. One thing we can assure you is that they will exemplify what you have come to expect from all Nokia devices, including quality, design, and innovation.

A big thanks to you and all of the Nokia supporters around the world. You continue to remind us of the difference our devices have made in your lives. We can’t wait for you to meet the next generation.

HMD Global Team:

arto-nummela[1]Arto Nummela is currently the Vice President of Mobile Devices Business of Microsoft in Greater Asia, Middle East and Africa region.

Subject to regulatory approval and the closing of the Microsoft feature phone transaction to the new company, Arto will become CEO of HMD global, the holding company & exclusive licence holder of Nokia phones.

As an experienced figure in the telecoms industry, Arto has a proven track record in commercial success, building long-term partnerships to enable global business innovation and growth. An intrinsic part of this process – is establishing and motivating strong teams around him – as well as being committed to continued personal growth.

Arto has deep roots in Finland, but has a genuinely global perspective built through experience. His insights into consumer business have been deepened by leading diverse teams from Europe, the Americas, India, the Middle East, Africa and the Asia-Pacific region, including Australia, China and Japan.

Having been an intrinsic part of the original Nokia team, Arto’s list of accomplishments include; open-distribution model development, strategic alliances, joint ventures and partnerships, market-based pricing strategies, global R&D management – specifically for high end smartphone devices, ramping up new global phone architecture work, as well as ramping up product portfolio for new cellular technology generation, alongside a very strong focus on employee loyalty and retention. Arto has led teams in strategic and tactical global product planning, developing and launching new products, as well as brand development and broader market expansion. From 2011 to 2013, Arto also served as a member of the board of directors for CommNexus, a California-based tech incubator, built for start-ups.

Since 2015, Arto has been driving the Microsoft Devices business in Greater Asia, the Middle East and Africa, with global leadership of the Feature Phones business. He joined Nokia in 1994, leading through Microsoft’s 2014 acquisition of the company.

florian-seiche[1]Florian Seiche is a recognised name in the telecoms industry, having been one of the key figures behind the launch and subsequent growth of the HTC brand. He has since gone on to develop and drive the mobile divisions at Nokia and most recently at Microsoft, in the role of VP of Sales across Europe.

Subject to regulatory approval and the closing of the Microsoft feature phone transaction to the new company, Florian will become President of HMD global, the holding company & exclusive licence holder of Nokia phones.

Well known for his lynchpin role as President of HTC EMEA (Europe, Middle East, and Africa), Florian not only established HTC’s EMEA operations in 2005, he went on to oversee the growth of HTC’s business and brand to become one of the most critically acclaimed phone names in the world.

His big brand global experience is far reaching. Prior to joining HTC, Florian was the Global Director of Devices for the Orange Group in London (2003-2005). Under his leadership, Orange successfully rolled out its ‘signature device’ program, which contributed considerably to increased phone usage and ARPU, while at the same time increasing customer loyalty by delivering a compelling user experience.

Florian began his career at Siemens, where he worked for more than ten years. Between January 2000 and February 2003, Florian served as Vice President and General Manager of Siemens Mobile Phones USA in San Diego, leading Siemens’ mobile phone entry into North America.

Having worked extensively across both sales and marketing, Florian boasts an intimate understanding of both consumer trends and demands, as well as the requirements of the key stakeholders in the telecoms supply chain.

Florian holds both Master’s and Doctorate degrees in Economics from the University of Cologne, Germany. He lives in Windsor, UK with his wife Michele and son Jan-Philipp.

Advertisements

Mobile devices from ex-Nokia joined with Microsoft’s own: Stephen Elop on approach and strategy under Microsoft Devices Group

More information: Satya Nadella on “Digital Work and Life Experiences” supported by “Cloud OS” and “Device OS and Hardware” platforms–all from Microsoft [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, July 23, 2014]

 

What Microsoft will do with the Nokia Devices and Services now taken over, but currently producing a yearly loss rate of as much as $1.5 billion?

In the information made officially available for this transition (see below) there are no answers for that question. It only becomes clear that the new Microsoft Devices Group under formation needs to be put into much more efficient organisation, with significantly better strategic setup than any of its constituent parts were before. This would be not an easy task as this group will “oversee an expanded devices business that includes Lumia smartphones and tablets, Nokia mobile phones, Xbox hardware, Surface, Perceptive Pixel (PPI) products, and accessories”.

The stock market, so far, was positive about this:

image
Source: Google Financse – Yahoo Finance – MSN Money

The real explanations for that optimism are not related to the acquisition itself at all. Instead to the more and more visible signs of  “Microsoft 2.0” which will end the “Microsoft 1.0” era of “loss of business focus” and “morphing into a different company, whose focus may be different from selling low margin mid and low end mobile phones, mostly in very competitive markets”. The speculation is that the upcoming “Microsoft 2.0 is about MICROSOFT on every device”  instead of “Microsoft 1.0 which was about Windows on every computer”. There is even an overall consensus that the nominally $7.2 billion Nokia acquisition will be soon quite easily written off (as well as other unpaid previous strategic investments), as in fact that costed to Microsoft only $4.5 billion in reality.

Note here as well that my findings last week are quite well proving the above line of thoughts: Microsoft is transitioning to a world with more usage and more software driven value add (rather than the old device driven world) in mobility and the cloud, the latter also helping to grow the server business well above its peers [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, April 25, 2014].

So before the Nokia Devices and Services transition information released officially, read the below stock market expert opinion:

Microsoft Completes Nokia’s Acquisition: Expect A Significant Write-Off, Mitigated By A Tax Advantage [Paolo Gorgo on Seeking Alpha, April 28, 2014]

While we believe that Microsoft will have a hard time digesting and turning around an unprofitable division like Nokia’s handset business, having to deal with three different operating systems (Microsoft’s own WinPhone, Asha and now even a forked version of Android that powers Nokia’s new X range), and operating in a very competitive sector where only Samsung (OTC:SSNLF) and Apple (AAPL) can now turn a profit, we are fully aware that only time will tell investors if a happy ending out of Nokia’s acquisition is possible.

Some recent moves, however, following Microsoft’s CEO transition may indicate that the climate that lead to the Nokia’s acquisition has already changed, and allow for some educated guesses about what we estimate as the most probable outcome.

Microsoft 1.0 morphing into Microsoft 2.0

John Kirk recently wrote one of the most interesting analysis of Microsoft’s business model, and how it may be evolving:

Microsoft 1.0 had one of the most successful business models of all time. But no matter how successful Microsoft became, management seemingly could not abide the thought of any other technology company sharing the spotlight of success.

  1. If a competitor was being successful with customers Microsoft wasn’t addressing, Microsoft had to have those customers as well.
  2. If a competitor was being successful in a market where Microsoft didn’t compete, Microsoft felt compelled to compete there as well.
  3. Most damning of all, if a competitor’s success could be attributed to its business model, Microsoft felt compelled to assimilate that business model and make it their own.

Microsoft wasn’t setting their own agenda. Instead, they were letting the successes of their competitor’s set the agenda.

The analysis goes on describing how Microsoft behaved in relations to Apple’s iPod success, and how it failed trying to win that market (do you remember Zune?).

In the mobile market, Microsoft tried once more to copy Apple’s strategy, becoming an integrated hardware/software producer through the Nokia acquisition.

A failed attempt, already: no one, for example, would expect Apple to license its iOS free of charge to other OEMs in an attempt to create a sustainable ecosystem.

Time to try analyze Microsoft’s new CEO, Satya Nadella, first moves, and what they may mean related to the Nokia acquisition.

Nadella cuts Windows umbilical cord

The launch of Word, Excel and Powerpoint in the Apple App Store, ahead of the Windows platform, was a clear indication that Nadella may be pursuing a different strategy from Ballmer:

The move was anticipated, pragmatic (given the contrasting installed bases of the two tablets, especially in enterprises), and only relates to one product on one device. But it was just about as symbolic as a gesture could be, reinforcing the promises which Nadella made on his accession to the throne – to put mobile and cloud strategies at the heart of Microsoft’s growth plan.

The Office for iPad announcement makes all this explicit, though it also raises new questions – particularly, whether Nadella is less sold than Ballmer on the idea of creating an integrated hardware/software platform, Apple-style, for mobile, post-PC and cloud-attached devices.

Back to John Kirk’s analysis, we’d like to highlight one of his forecasts for Microsoft 2.0 we completely agree with:

Unprofitable strategies (like Windows RT, the Surface tablet, Windows Phone 8, buying Nokia, moving to a functional organization) will be undone. This will take some doing but the process has already begun.

In other words (with our note added in brackets and Italic):

Microsoft 1.0 was about Windows on every computer. Microsoft 2.0 is about MICROSOFT on every computer. [we would probably use the word “device” instead of computer to underline a post-PC era]

Another write off, soon? A definitive “probably”, although Microsoft investors shouldn’t be too worried

A quick look at some recent Microsoft write offs, mostly due to acquisitions / entries into unknown territories that were not completely successful (some numbers are missing for attempts like Zune, etc. that did not technically require a write-off):

image

We do believe that Nokia might soon become Microsoft’s next big write off, as the Redmond company morphs into a different company, whose focus may be different from selling low margin mid and low end mobile phones, mostly in very competitive markets .

The way the deal was structured, however, will probably mitigate the negative impact for Microsoft investors.

Kudos to Robert Cringely for his bright use of lateral thinking at the time the Nokia acquisition was announced:

I don’t think Nokia has to succeed in order for Microsoft to consider the acquisition a success.

So why, then, did Microsoft buy Nokia? The stated reason is to better compete with Android and iOS, furthering Ballmer’s new devices and services strategy, but I think that game is already lost and this has more to do with finance than phones.

Microsoft, like Apple and a lot of other companies, has a problem with profits trapped overseas where they avoid for awhile U.S. taxation. The big companies have been pushing for a tax holiday or at least a deal of some sort with the IRS but it isn’t happening. So Apple, sitting on $140+ billion has to borrow $17 billion to buy back shares and pay dividends because so much of its cash is tied-up overseas. But not Microsoft, which just bought Nokia – a foreign company – with some of its overseas cash. Redmond said so today. That makes the real price of Nokia not $7 billion but more like $4.5 billion, because it’s all pre-tax money.

So what does that make Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia?

Money laundering.

Calling the Nokia acquisition money laundering may probably be a stretch, but as many analysts noticed when the deal was announced, the real “cost” to Microsoft is less that the number reported, because of the use of overseas funds.

Add to this that a write-off can be positively seen as a creative “NOL generating” financial operation for a very profitable company, and you get to our point: as Microsoft’s new strategies, which may include de-emphasizing the device and services reorganization, become clearer, Nokia may represent the last bad news generated by “Microsoft 1.0” loss of business focus, and a not-too-expensive price to pay for Microsoft investors while moving to a better focused Microsoft 2.0.


Nokia Devices and Services transition information released officially

Microsoft officially welcomes the Nokia Devices and Services business [press release, April 25, 2014]

Microsoft and the Nokia Devices and Services business are coming together as one to deliver a family of devices and services that will delight consumers and empower businesses.

image
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella (left) and executive vice president of Microsoft Devices Group Stephen Elop share a moment as the deal that brings together Microsoft and the Nokia Devices and Services business closes today.

Microsoft Corp. announced it has completed its acquisition of the Nokia Devices and Services business. The acquisition has been approved by Nokia shareholders and by governmental regulatory agencies around the world. The completion of the acquisition marks the first step in bringing these two organizations together as one team.

“Today we welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business to our family. The mobile capabilities and assets they bring will advance our transformation,” said Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella. “Together with our partners, we remain focused on delivering innovation more rapidly in our mobile-first, cloud-first world.”

Reporting to Nadella is former Nokia President and CEO Stephen Elop, who will serve as executive vice president of the Microsoft Devices Group, overseeing an expanded devices business that includes Lumia smartphones and tablets, Nokia mobile phones, Xbox hardware, Surface, Perceptive Pixel (PPI) products, and accessories. Microsoft welcomes personnel with deep industry experience in more than 130 sites across 50 countries worldwide, including several factories that design, develop, manufacture, market and sell a broad portfolio of innovative smart devices, mobile phones and services. As part of the transaction, Microsoft will honor all existing Nokia customer warranties for existing devices, beginning April 25, 2014.

Windows Phone is the fastest-growing ecosystem in the smartphone market, and its portfolio of award-winning devices continues to expand. In the fourth quarter of 2013, according to IDC, Windows Phone reinforced its position as a top three smartphone operating system and was the fastest-growing platform among the leading operating systems with 91 percent year-over-year gain.[1] Furthermore, with the Nokia mobile phone business, Microsoft will target the affordable mobile devices market, a $50 billion annual opportunity,[2] delivering the first mobile experience to the next billion people while introducing Microsoft services to new customers around the world.

Microsoft will continue to deliver new value and opportunity, and it will work closely with a range of hardware partners, developers, operators, distributors and retailers, providing platforms, tools, applications and services that enable them to make exceptional devices. With a deeper understanding of hardware and software working as one, the company will strengthen and grow demand for Windows devices overall.

As with any multinational agreement of this size, scale and complexity, Microsoft and Nokia have made adjustments to the deal throughout the close preparation process. As announced previously, Microsoft will not acquire the factory in Masan, South Korea, and the factory in Chennai, India, will stay with Nokia due to the tax liens on Nokia’s assets in India that prevent transfer. As a result, Microsoft will welcome approximately 25,000 transferring employees from around the world.

More information about Microsoft’s expanded family of devices and services is available here.

Founded in 1975, Microsoft (Nasdaq “MSFT”) is the worldwide leader in software, services and solutions that help people and businesses realize their full potential.

Microsoft refers to Microsoft Corp. and its affiliates, including Microsoft Mobile Oy*, a subsidiary of Microsoft. Microsoft Mobile Oy develops, manufactures and distributes Lumia, Asha and Nokia X mobile phones and other devices.

1 IDC Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, February 2014

2 Strategy Analytics Inc.

* Oy being a Finnish abbreviation of Osakeyhtiö which translates to Limited company ala Wikipedia

From Nokia Corporation Interim Report for Q1 2014 [April 29, 2014]

DISCONTINUED OPERATIONS

The following table sets forth a summary of the results for discontinued operations, for the periods indicated, as well as the year-on-year and sequential growth rates.
image

Note: The –16.9% operating margin for the discontinued operations in Q1/2014 means a loss of $452 million (EUR 326 million). That is huge, considering even that in the previous Q4/2013 quarter the loss was “only” $274 million (EUR 197.6 million), as with that the ongoing annual loss rate could be estimated close to $1.5 billion.

Net Sales

The year-on-year and sequential declines in discontinued operations net sales in the first quarter 2014 were primarily due to lower Mobile Phones net sales and, to a lesser extent, lower Smart Devices net sales

On both a year-on-year and sequential basis, our Mobile Phones net sales were affected by competitive industry dynamics, including intense smartphone competition at increasingly lower price points and intense competition at the low end of our product portfolio. Our Smart Devices net sales were affected by competitive industry dynamics including the strong momentum of competing smartphone platforms.

On both a year-on-year and sequential basis, discontinued operations unit volumes declined in the first quarter 2014. The year-on-year decline in discontinued operations unit volumes was due to lower Mobile Phones unit volumes, partially offset by higher Smart Devices unit volumes. Sequentially, the decline in discontinued operations unit volumes was primarily due to lower Mobile Phones unit volumes and, to a lesser extent, lower Smart Devices unit volumes.

Discontinued operations Average Selling Price (ASP) declined on both a year-on-year and sequential basis in the first quarter 2014. The year-on-year and sequential declines in discontinued operations ASP were due to lower ASPs for both Smart Devices and Mobile Phones.

Discontinued operations ended the first quarter 2014 within our normal 4 to 6 week channel inventory range
Non-IFRS Gross Margin
The year-on-year decline in discontinued operations non-IFRS gross margin in the first quarter 2014 was primarily due to lower Smart Devices gross margin and, to a lesser extent, lower Mobile Phones gross margin. Compared to the first quarter 2013, Smart Devices non-IFRS gross margin was negatively impacted by the absence of the reversal of approximately EUR 50 million of previously recognized inventory related allowances for our Windows Phone 7-based Lumia products which benefitted Smart Devices non-IFRS gross margin in the first quarter 2013 as well as approximately EUR 20 million of allowances related to excess components in the first quarter 2014. Compared to the first quarter 2013, Mobile Phones non-IFRS gross margin in the first quarter 2014 benefitted from lower warranty costs, mainly offset by the negative affect of approximately EUR 40 million of allowances related to excess components.
On a sequential basis, the decline in discontinued operations non-IFRS gross margin in the first quarter 2014 was primarily due to lower Mobile Phones gross margin and, to a lesser extent, lower Smart Devices gross margin. On a sequential basis, Smart Devices non-IFRS gross margin in the first quarter 2014 benefitted from the absence of approximately EUR 50 million of net allowances related to excess component inventory, future purchase commitments and an inventory revaluation that negatively impacted Smart Devices non-IFRS gross margin in the fourth quarter 2013, partially offset by approximately EUR 20 million of allowances related to excess components in the first quarter 2014. Compared to the previous quarter, Mobile Phones non-IFRS gross margin in the first quarter 2014 benefitted from lower warranty costs, mainly offset by the negative affect of approximately EUR 40 million of allowances related to excess components.
Non-IFRS Operating Expenses
On both a year-on-year and sequential basis, the decline in discontinued operations non-IFRS operating expenses in the first quarter 2014 was due to lower operating expenses in both Mobile Phones and Smart Devices.
Non-IFRS Operating Profit
The year-on-year decline in discontinued operations non-IFRS operating profit in the first quarter 2014 was primarily due to lower Smart Devices and Mobile Phones non-IFRS operating profit. On a sequential basis, the decline in discontinued operations non-IFRS operating profit in the first quarter 2014 was due to lower Mobile Phones non-IFRS operating profit, partially offset by higher Smart Devices non-IFRS operating profit.
Discontinued operations non-IFRS other income and expenses was an expense of EUR 22 million in the first quarter 2014, compared to an expense of EUR 18 million in the first quarter 2013 and an expense of EUR 9 million in the fourth quarter 2013.
Operating Profit
The year-on-year decline in discontinued operations operating profit in the first quarter 2014 was primarily due to lower Smart Devices and Mobile Phones operating profit. On a sequential basis, the decline in discontinued operations operating profit in the first quarter 2014 was due to lower Mobile Phones operating profit, partially offset by higher Smart Devices operating profit.
Discontinued operations other income and expenses was an expense of EUR 32 million in the first quarter 2014, compared to an expense of EUR 65 million in the first quarter 2013 and an expense of EUR 15 million in the fourth quarter 2013. On a year-on-year basis discontinued operations other income and expenses was a lower expense primarily due to lower restructuring charges.

From #1: Conversations LIVE: Ask me anything with Stephen Elop [Conversations : now part of Microsoft, April 28, 2014]

Earlier today we hosted a live Q&A session with Stephen Elop on his first day as the Executive Vice President of the Microsoft Devices Group.

Re: You’re so cool killed Nokia …Thanks to you, Meego, Symbian, Meltemi buried …Once you get it all comes back to haunt

I know that there is a lot of emotion around some of the hard decisions that we had to make. Back in late 2010 and 2011, we carefully assessed the state of the internal Nokia operating system efforts. Unfortunately, we could not see a way that Symbian could be brought to a competitive level with, for example, the iPhone that had shipped THREE years earlier! And the Meego effort was significantly delayed and did not have the promise of a broad enough portfolio soon enough. We had to make a forceful decision to give Nokia the chance to compete again.

Re: You have [been] bashed very harshly with your efforts to take Nokia to Microsoft, have been awarded as Trojan in online discussions and comments. Do you take any effect of all this on your work/decision?

As a result of the work that we have done, we have transformed Nokia into a stronger company with NSN, HERE and Advanced Technologies. At the same time, our Devices and Services business has a new opportunity within a stronger Microsoft. As for the Trojan horse thing, i have only ever worked on behalf of and for the benefit of Nokia shareholders while at Nokia. Additionally, all fundamental business and strategy decisions were made with the support and approval of the Nokia board of directors, of which I was a member.

Re: Don’t you think the decision of jumping the burning platform was significantly delayed by Nokia? Do you think MSFT will be in the state of competing Android any time soon?

It’s hard to comment on what came before, but I do know that the “burning platform” galvanized the mindset of thousands of employees with the recognition that we faced a critical situation. We brought urgency into the organization and within 6 months we produced our first two Windows Phone devices. This was faster than we had ever gone before and marked the beginning of our cultural change.

Now, we’re one Microsoft: open letter from Stephen Elop [Conversations : now part of Microsoft, April 25, 2014]

Today we are announcing that the acquisition of substantially all of the Nokia Devices and Services business by Microsoft has reached completion, following approval by Nokia shareholders and regulatory authorities.

Six months ago, we announced our plans to bring the best of Microsoft and Nokia Devices and Services business together. Today is an exciting day as we join the Microsoft family, and take the first, yet important, step in our long-term journey.

At our core, we are passionate about building technology that will change the world. From the early vision of Microsoft of placing a PC in every home and on every desk, to Nokia connecting billions of people through mobile devices, we have empowered generations. But we could not have achieved any of this without our fans around the world.

Your support has created strong momentum for Nokia Lumia smartphones and they continue to grow in popularity around the world. Last year alone, the awards, accolades and fan-generated rave reviews offered proof of the growing number of champions for our phones and tablets.

And we are committed to continuing our support for feature phones, the Asha family, and the Nokia X family of devices, announced at the Mobile World Congress in February.

Whether you want to read more, capture more, watch more, listen more or get more done, Nokia mobile devices have been and are your go-to choice.

As Microsoft and Nokia Devices and Services come together as an expanded family, we will unify our passion, dedication and commitment to bringing you the best of what our joint technologies have to offer.

Together, we can connect and empower people with one experience for everything in their life in a world where it is mobile first and cloud first.

From today onwards, the possibilities are endless. As now, we’re one!

Stephen

From #2: Conversations LIVE: Ask me anything with Stephen Elop [Conversations : now part of Microsoft, April 28, 2014]

Microsoft Mobile Oy is a legal construct that was created to facilitate the merger. It is not a brand that will be seen by consumers. The Nokia brand is available to Microsoft to use for its mobile phones products for a period of time, but Nokia as a brand will not be used for long going forward for smartphones. Work is underway to select the go forward smartphone brand.

Re: Will Microsoft keep up the innovation and pace that Nokia has set with the line of Lumia devices?

I think we can go even further than that. By combining with MSFT, we will each be able to innovate together in ways that we could not as separate companies. Lots of good things ahead.

Re: Why did you not make the 1020 with a better photo processing like in the original 808 dedicated image processor?

Great question because it highlights the benefits of the acquisition of Nokia. The 1020 is consistently rated as one of the best camera phones. But, we could have gone further if the engineering teams between MSFT and Nokia were not in separate companies. As we come together, innovation will be able to move faster.

Re: As the Executive VP of MS Devices how do you see the future of the integration and cloud utilization between Windows, Windows Phone and Xbox devices going. What would you like to see happen?

I think that people are looking for and deserve a consistent and continuous experience across their different devices and platforms. A good example of this today is Onedrive, where i have consistent access to my stuff across all of my devices. Same thing with Skype.

Re: How about Nokia X future after acquisition?

Microsoft acquired the mobile phones business, inclusive of Nokia X, to help connect the next billion people to Microsoft’s services. Nokia X uses the MSFT cloud, not Google’s. This is a great opportunity to connect new customers to Skype, outlook.com and Onedrive for the first time. We’ve already seen tens of thousands of new subscribers on MSFT services.

Re: When will we get the first Microsoft branded Smartphone?

Now that we are One company, the marketing and product folks will lay in the plans for the shift to a consistent brand. While we are not ready to share precise details, i can assure you that it will not be the “Nokia Lumia 1020 with Windows Phone on the AT&T LTE Network” … too many words! That somehow doesn’t roll off the tongue…

Re: What is going to happen to Nokia Mixradio, Nokia TV, Nokia Camera apps and other Nokia apps in Lumia phones. Are they gonna disappear. Which one, Nokia or Microsoft, is going to continue developing and updating them?

We have been building a lot of app’s that have been specific to Lumia, but now those people and efforts will transfer to MSFT. We believe that these types of capabilities are critical to differentiation, so you will see these themes continue.

Re: Do you think that Nokia with Android is a good idea?

When we made the decision to focus on Windows Phone back in 2011, we were very concerned that a decision to pursue Android would put us on a collision course with Samsung, who already had established a head of steam around Android. That was the right decision, as we have seen virtually all other OEMs from those days pushed to the side. Today, we are using AOSP to attack a specific market opportunity, but we are being thoughtful to do it in a way that accrues benefit to Microsoft and to Lumia.

Re: How are other smartphone manufacturers encouraged to produce or keep producing Windows Phone devices? I can imagine they fear that a lot of Windows Phone APIs will be available for Microsoft Devices only.

Really good question. It is GOOD for Microsoft to encourage other OEMs to also build WP devices, and there have been some announcements in this direction recently. Our intent is for the Microsoft Devices Group to “make the market” so that others can participate, so we will be doing things to facilitate other OEMs as much as possible.

Re: One of Nokia’s strengths is its truly global presence, moreso in emerging markets. I believe it responds faster than Microsoft in this regard. Can we expect better localization in these markets in terms of services?

Both Nokia and Microsoft are global companies, but it turns out that our strengths are complementary. We have great strength in emerging markets while Microsoft has more strength in developed markets. I think this will work well together.

Re: What is the future of innovation/new technologies worked at Nokia R&D dep. as solar charging (wyps) or radio waves charging on Lumia? Will be a move of these project (and others) to Microsoft R&D to allow future innovation just like Nokia did through the years?

When I first started at Nokia, i characterized the “landscape of unpolished gems” when looking at all the great R&D within Nokia. Now, combined with Microsoft, that landscape is even broader, which is very exciting for all of us. So, stay tuned to lots of innovation ahead.

Re: As a blogger and long-time time Nokia fan, Nokia Connects (WOMWorld) have been helpful, appreciative to us in many ways particularly in providing review products and services of Nokia. Unlike Nokia Connects, Microsoft Social team is aloof and uncaring. I would to like know the future of Nokia Connects and Nokia Conversations because both are important to us especially to the fans, evangelists.

Today we are part of Microsoft, and Conversations is with us (actually, sitting right next to me!). And this will continue. I strongly believe in an open and transparent dialogue, and am proud that the team made Nokia Conversations one of the most influential company and technology blogs in the world.

Everything just became a lot #MoreColorful [Conversations : now part of Microsoft, April 28, 2014]

What does color mean to you? Does it spark emotion? Does it invoke taste? Does it change your mood? Do you express yourself through color?

Color runs through our devices; it’s part of our DNA. From the bright and bold Nokia X family to the metallic-fused Lumia 930, our colors draw attention and make heads turn. It’s what sets us apart from our competitors and what many of you love about our design ethos.

We’re not like everybody else. Are you?

Not Like Everybody Else [Nokia YouTube channel, April 28, 2014]

Today, everything just became a lot more colorful. You can read more about Nokia Devices and Services coming together with Microsoft here. Soundtrack: The Kinks, ‘Not Like Everybody Else’.

Our journey begins [Conversations : now part of Microsoft, April 25, 2014]

Today is a big, new and exciting day for us. We are announcing that the acquisition of substantially all of the Nokia Devices and Services business by Microsoft has reached completion, following approval by Nokia shareholders and regulatory authorities.

For our readers here on Conversations and our fans across the world, today is a beginning of something new. But we’re happy to report that many of those things that matter to you most will stay the same.

As Microsoft, we will continue to produce, sell and support the phones and devices you have come to love, including our award-winning Lumia and Asha ranges, feature phones and the Nokia X family of devices.

The hardware engineering and design talent that produced world-leading devices under Nokia ownership will continue to set the mark for new mobile experiences and innovation.

And the software innovation continues too. The unique imaging, music and location experiences that are such a valuable part of our devices will continue to be developed, supported and enhanced.  Software updates and the continued growth of our app and device ecosystems are now more important than ever.

Importantly for existing customers, we will bring you right along with us. Your device warranty is completely unaffected by this change and the same world-class customer service and support teams will continue to look after your devices. You can still get all the help and support through the usual channels: online support, contact centers and local Nokia Care points.

And we’ll continue to take good care of your personal data – our commitment to your privacy remains paramount.

Your friends at Conversations will still be here, too, along with the social channels you follow. The Conversations blog and discussions forums, together with country-specific Facebook pages and Twitter accounts will continue to offer news and information about our devices and services, run by the same people and teams now at Microsoft.

Nokia’s global Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube accounts, as well as Nokia Finland’s Facebook and Twitter accounts, will have news and updates both from Nokia as a company and about Nokia-branded devices and services from Microsoft.

So today, most things will remain the same.

But today is also an exciting day for us, and a historic day for the industry. And none of this would be possible if it weren’t for you – our readers and fans across the world. We have experienced many things together and we hope you join us on this exciting journey too!

Microsoft BUILD 2014 Day 1: consistency and superiority accross the whole Windows family extended now to TVs and IoT devices as well—$0 royalty licensing program for OEM and ODM partners in sub 9” phone and tablet space

OR Microsoft is going against Android and Apple with a vastly updated Windows/Windows Phone 8.1 for $0 royalty fee on smartphones and tablets with screens under 9”, integrated Windows desktop experience (upcoming in the next update), capability of creating Universal Windows apps accross the whole Windows family (demonstrated with the Modern version of the Office upcoming later), an open-source cross-platform WinJS framework, the first true digital assistant for phones (Cortana), showing that for TVs, as well as planning for IoT devices.

Update: the expectation was somewhat higher: image
although was met when looking back to Nadella’s March 27 Office for iPad announcement:
image

Microsoft showcases latest updates to Windows, opportunities for developers April 02, 2014
Unveils converged developer platform, new software advances with Windows Phone 8.1, and Windows 8.1 Update and new licensing; Nokia announces new Lumia phones.

SAN FRANCISCO — April 2, 2014 — Wednesday at Build 2014, Microsoft Corp.’s developer conference, the company announced several advances to Windows including Windows Phone 8.1, the availability of Windows 8.1 Update, a converged developer platform, and a $0 royalty licensing program for OEM and ODM partners developing smartphones and tablets with screens under nine inches.
Microsoft detailed new developer opportunities on the Windows platform with a common platform across devices, a single toolset, a common infrastructure across the Windows and Windows Phone stores, and a clear commitment to interoperability. The announcements highlight Microsoft’s continued commitment to its partners and the developer community by maximizing opportunities across the broadest range of devices and services.
Also as a part of the conference, Nokia announced three new Lumia smartphones for Windows Phone 8.1, including the flagship Lumia 930, the affordable Lumia 635 and the first dual-SIM Lumia 630.
“The news today shines a light on continued Windows innovation in ways that benefit our customers, partners and developers alike. Our commitment is to make Windows more personal and accessible to individuals, and to ensure a vibrant ecosystem through closer collaboration with our industry partners,” said Terry Myerson, executive vice president, OS Group at Microsoft.

… <more is inserted in the below keynote report>

The essence of the Day 1 keynote:

Microsoft Build 2014 keynote in seven minutes [The Verge YouTube channel, April 2, 2014]

Couldn’t sit through Microsoft’s three-hour Microsoft Build conference? We’ve cut it down to just the highlights for your viewing convenience.

The Full Day 1 Keynote record on Channel 9: 2 hours, 59 minutes, 13 seconds or a YouTube copy of that from MicrosoftEurope:

Attention developers and tech-fanatics! Build 2014 has started with breaking news and updates! Catch-up with the key announcements made by Satya Nadella, Terry Myerson, Joe Belfiore, David Treadwell and Stephen Elop.

Terry Myerson: Executive Vice President, Operating Sy stems group

    • Making your creativity come to life
    • Using public translation APIs to translate everything said here

Joe Belfiore (~ 1 hour): Corporate Vice President, Operating Systems group
==> Full transcript

  • Running PC, tablet and phone within the Operating Systems group

Windows Phone is the world’s most personal phone

image

  • 2 additional partners: Micromax and Prestigio (working with Qualcomm and Longcheer)
  • Windows Phone 8.1: ==> Made more personal
    – new Action Center
    – new lock screen APIs
    – option to choose a high density tile layout with custom background as well … even on a small screen

    Microsoft Build 2014 8.1 Update Personalized Digital Assistant named CORTANA

    Cortana Microsoft Build 2014 8.1 Update Personalized Digital Assistant named Cortana Microsoft VP Joe Belfiore unveils 2 new phones with hardware partners Micromax and Prestigio using Windows Phone 8.1
    Windows Phone gets even more personal
    Microsoft unveiled Windows Phone 8.1 and introduced Cortana, the world’s first truly personal digital assistant with a persona inspired by a much-loved “Halo” character. Powered by Bing, Cortana gets to know you and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something. She detects and monitors the stuff you care about, looks out for you throughout the day, and helps filter out the noise so you can focus on what matters to you.
    Other new features that make Windows Phone 8.1 smartphones even more personal include Action Center, which complements Live Tiles by showing new activities and notifications at a glance; and Senses, a suite of features that takes the work out of managing data use, storage space and battery life. Windows Phone 8.1 also makes it easier for IT professionals to manage devices and for professionals to connect to essential business apps and services with features such as simplified device enrollment, a built-in mobile device management client, S/MIME for encrypted mail and VPN support.
    Windows Phone 8.1 will start rolling out to current Windows Phone 8 users over the coming months. It will also come pre-installed on new phones starting this month. Cortana will launch shortly in the U.S. as a beta, in the U.K. and China in the second half of 2014, and in other countries in 2015. Registered developers can update their phones to Windows Phone 8.1 as part of the developer program later this month.

    – working long for one a half year on (video): Cortana (launching as a Beta, in order to learn with linguistic & search things) – a digital assistance for Windows Phone; powered by Bing (knows the whole Internet); learns about you …; also replaces the search function for you …; can be extended via 3d party apps; giving Cortana a notebook in order to put the user in contact with Cortana; about the people matter most to you; about the places you use to frequent; has permission to read all e-mail on the phone in order to prompt pro-actively the owner on …; good with the calendar too; … example queries via voice …; works with typing as well; reminders; only Cortana can do: people reminders …; new version of Skype; starting apps for you via Cortana (like Hulu, even yommunicating with like for Facebook);
    ==> The first true digital assistant for phones
    ==>
    The Ultimate Assistant: Halo’s Cortana Coming to Windows Phone

    ==> Searching for something more personal
    ==>
    Bing at Build 2014: More Helpful, Personal and Intelligent/
    ==> Introducing the New Skype for Windows Phone 8.1 and Improved Skype for Windows 8.1

  • Consumers can choose for their device:
    image
    – VPN, S/MIME support, MDM capabilities, … many, many more hosted capabilities
    ==> The right choice for business
    ==> Building the Mobile Workplace with Windows and Windows Phone
  • Apps from the Store: … store experience more engaged for you …, new version of Calendar … with other views
  • Improved basic performance: … WiFi Sense to connect to automatically when sensed … even securely share with friends automatically (no need to tell the WiFi password); … from ordinary phone call to a video call, even for RCS apps as well; Word Flow [Keyboard] typing … world’s fastest typing on the smartphone (the previous record was Samsung Galaxy …); focus on settings; IE11 with a bunch of new features
  • to consumers rolling out in next few months
  • on very new phones late April

==> Announcing an updated version of Internet Explorer 11 for Windows and introducing IE11 for Windows Phone 8.1

==> Windows & Windows Phone 8.1 – Better Together

See how we’ve reinvented the Windows experience across all your screens so you can shoot, share, work and play while on the go.

Windows 8.1 Update

  • boot straight to the desktop
  • going automatically to enterprise mode
  • mouse and keyboard experience of Windows, e.g. enhanced taskbar to work with Windows Store apps: no different swithching mode for Modern apps and desktop apps; PC settings tile on Start Screen; right click context menu …; power user … on Start Screen; pre-pinning the Windows Store to the taskbar to make it mouse and kleyboard friendly; new apps pin to the Start Screen or the taskbar …
  • starting April 8
  • [The update also enables Microsoft’s hardware partners to deliver low-cost machines that require only 1 GB of RAM and 16GB HDD. On Intel’s Bay Trail Cost Reduced options.]
Windows 8.1 Update: easier to use, runs great on more devices
Continuing its commitment to deliver improvements through regular updates, Microsoft also announced Windows 8.1 Update, which includes improvements that provide more of what people love about Windows across more devices: quicker access to what’s important, a more familiar and consistent experience across touch and non-touch devices, and more ways to discover great apps.
Key features of the update include user interface improvements for mouse and keyboard users, the ability to access the taskbar from any screen and pin Windows Store apps to the taskbar alongside desktop apps and favorite websites, and performance and compatibility enhancements to Internet Explorer 11. These improvements provide faster, more direct access to the things customers care most about, so activities such as powering down, searching the Web and switching between apps are easier than ever. Navigating with the mouse and keyboard will feel more familiar and intuitive because there’s more consistency with where controls are and how they work. Specific to the enterprise, Windows 8.1 Update offers improved Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11, extends mobile device management functionality, and eases deployment with increased predictability for new operating systems and line-of-business apps by leveraging familiar management tools.
Current Windows 8.1 customers will receive the Windows 8.1 Update for free through Windows Update, while Windows 8 customers will receive the update free through the Windows Store, beginning April 8, 2014.*

David Treadwell: Corporate Vice President, Operating Systems group
==> Full transcript

  • about things for developers

Microsoft’s Universal Windows App Allows Devs To Create For Any Platform [Pureinfotech, published on April 3, 2014]

Microsoft announces universal Windows apps, which simply means that apps created for the Windows platform will now run on all platforms including PCs, tablets, phones, and Xbox One.

image

Universal Windows apps:
==> Windows Runtime comes to phones

image

image

Windows developer platform: easily build innovative apps, reach more people
Microsoft also announced enhancements in the way developers can build applications that target the full range of Windows devices using Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 Release Candidate. Among other new capabilities, with the introduction of universal projects, developers are able to create apps that can be easily optimized to take full advantage of Windows devices. Developers of all types can draw upon their existing skills to deliver shared experiences for Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update. Universal projects allow developers to use approximately 90 percent of the same code, a single packaging system, and a common user interface to target apps for phones, tablets and PCs.
To improve the developer experience on Windows, Microsoft announced updates to Windows Store to improve app discoverability and monetization, as well as easier shopping for end users with improved search, more personal recommendations and better merchandising. In addition, later this week, Microsoft will release the next version of Windows App Studio, a Web-based tool for non-developers that enables the creation of universal Windows apps in a single project.
To help developers build innovative apps for Windows using a natural user interface, Microsoft detailed plans for Kinect for Windows v2, coming this summer, with a new sensor and SDK that will enable developers to create Windows Store apps, with the Kinect sensor, for the first time. The Kinect for Windows v2 sensor offers more precision, responsiveness and intuitive capabilities. Developers and partner companies, such as Reflexion Health and Freak’n Genius, are already doing great things through the Kinect for Windows v2 developer preview program.

image

image

image

  • DEMO of the above

Windows enabling cross-platform apps:

image
frameworks, libraries, tools and services for Universal Windows apps

image
Web GL
– Cutting Edge video playback etc.

image

image

image
– announcing: making WinJS cross-platform
open-source via GitHub
==> MS Open Tech Open Sources WinJS, Part of the Windows App Platform

  • DEMO My

==> Announcing New Microsoft Advertising SDKs, Tools to Help Devs Do More and Earn More with Apps

Terry Myerson:
==> Full transcript

    • Now about the TV … no better television than Xbox
    • going to enable Universal Windows apps running on Xbox
    • DEMO
My insert here: Satya Nadella email to employees on tuning our organization [Microsoft, March 31, 2014]

Today marks the start of another big week for Microsoft as we gear up for the Build conference in San Francisco. We continue to push on the momentum from last week’s news about how we will thrive and grow in a mobile-first, cloud-first world, as shown by the great Office apps for iOS, rich new APIs for developers and our new Enterprise Mobility Suite.
In advance of Build, I want to highlight three announcements about how we’re continuing to evolve and tune our organization for maximum focus and impact.…
Next, I have asked Phil Spencer to take on a new role leading Xbox, combining the Xbox and Xbox Live development teams with the Microsoft Studios team. Phil will report to Terry Myerson, allowing us to keep gaming close to the group developing operating systems across devices. In this new job, Phil will lead the Xbox, Xbox Live, Xbox Music and Xbox Video teams, and Microsoft Studios. Combining all our software, gaming and content assets across the Xbox team under a single leader and aligning with the OSG team will help ensure we continue to do great work across the Xbox business, and bring more of the magic of Xbox to all form factors, including tablets, PCs and phones. Phil will continue his close partnership with Yusuf Mehdi, who leads business strategy and marketing for Xbox, George Peckham, who heads up third-party partnerships and Mike Angiulo, who will continue leading Xbox hardware. Over the years, Phil’s team at Microsoft Studios has helped build a community of more than 80 million Xbox owners and 48 million Xbox Live members through blockbuster game franchises such as “Halo,” “Gears of War,” “Kinect Sports,” “Fable,” “Forza Motorsport” and many others. He’s helped drive the development of brand-new entertainment offerings like the partnership with the NFL and the formation of Xbox Entertainment Studios [Nancy Tellem]. I love the way the Xbox team is focused on great games and gaming experiences (go, “Titanfall”!), connects with its fans, pushes the boundary of entertainment and has embraced the power of the cloud in such interesting and impactful ways. Phil is the right person to lead Xbox forward.
    • bringing Kinect to PC ==> Kinect 2.0 for Windows with greatly improved SDK, not just for games
    • non-gaming Kinect apps: video
Developers are excited to bring their apps to the Windows Store for the first time this summer following the release of Kinect for Windows v2, with its improved precision, responsiveness, and intuitive capabilities.

image

  • DEMO

Internet of Things (IoT):

image

  • Windows ported to ARM
  • Now Intel Quark (i.e. x86 for IoT)
  • Windows for IoT will be available for $0

Windows desktop:

  • Universal Windows apps to run in a window
  • New Start Menu: live tiles combined
  • what is shown here is just for start to improve the Windows desktop
      • (upcoming in the next update of Windows)

Pricing:

image

Making Windows devices more affordable
Microsoft is evolving its Windows business model to enable partners to offer lower-cost devices in the highly competitive smartphone, tablet and PC categories. Microsoft will offer to hardware partners $0 Windows with services including a one-year subscription to Office 365.
With Windows 8.1 Update hardware partners can also more easily build lower-cost machines — such as devices with 1 GB of RAM and a 16GB hard disk drive — without sacrificing the experience customers expect. The combination of new efficiencies and innovations from Microsoft hardware partners means customers will be able to choose from a wider range of Windows devices, particularly budget-friendly notebooks and tablets.

Additional information from Terry Myerson’s Thoughts on Day 1 of Build 2014 [Blogging Windows, April 2, 2014] post:

I wanted to use this post to share some thoughts from what I said in the keynote:
1. We believe in our ecosystem of device manufacturers and devs (developers, developers, developers!), and that their creativity has incredible potential to change the world – and we want to help them do that.
2. We believe in the Internet of Things, and that as the devices get smaller, the cloud gets bigger.
3. We believe in natural user interfaces, and the power of things like voice and gesture to transform how users will interact with their devices and apps in the coming years.
Today we announced that the Windows 8.1 Update will support Intel’s Bay Trail Cost Reduced options, along with 1GB RAM and 16 GB storage configurations which are popular on entry level tablets and notebooks. We’re also working with Intel on enablement programs that make it easy for their partners to onboard new Windows devices quickly, much as we are with Qualcomm.
We showed Windows running on an Intel Quark chip. It’s a processor the size of a pencil eraser that is running a full version of Windows, enabling developers to use all their Windows knowledge and skills to create new and exciting devices and experiences. When we are ready to ship Windows for the Internet of Things, we will make that available for zero dollars to encourage creation of these new devices and experiences in this new and exciting category.
Finally, I previewed some work we are doing for the next iteration of Windows, which builds on the journey we began with Windows 8 just over a year ago as well as the releases we’ve done since then. In particular, I showed some early thinking on how the user experience in Windows will evolve in a way that will help developers’ apps make their way to users across devices and form factors.

image

We set out to do this is a thoughtful way – one where we could enable more productivity for customers working in desktop mode, while building smart bridges to the new modern user experience and ensuring customers can get access to all your great apps in the Windows Store no matter where they are in the experience, or which device type they’re on.
As I said today, these are glimpses of our roadmap, with a particular focus on the parts of our roadmap that are most relevant to our developer partners. We’ll continue to invest in these and many other areas to build a great platform and experiences for developers, customers and partners and you’ll hear more from us when this work is closer to being ready to ship out to the world.

Stephen Elop (still Nokia, but soon Microsoft):
==> Full transcript

    • Lumia 520 the best selling smartphone in the world: will have WP 8.1
    • WP 8.1 for all other existing Lumias
    • The next-generation of Lumia devices:
      Lumia 930: flagship for WP 8.1, with unprecendented images and video, Creative Studio app grealy updated, new/updated Living Images app, fantastic cinema video experiences (4 microphones included), all MS services well integrated, 2.2 GHz Snapdragon 800 SoC, from June starting in Europe, with more more than 100 operators
      Lumia 630: 4.5” ClearBlack display, 3G dual-SIM as well (different tiles for each SIM),  designed for hyper-social people, Cortana is also available, SensoreCore introduced for health and fitness apps … Lumia services (HERE maps, etc.), 1.5GHz Snapdragon 400 quadcore, from May starting in Asia, $159 single SIM
      Lumia 635: 4.5” ClearBlack display, 4G LTE, …, 1.5GHz Snapdragon 400 quadcore, from May starting in Asia
    • Two new SDKs:
      – Imaging SDK 1.2
      – new SensoreCore SDK to create motion based apps

Satya Nadella: CEO
==> Full transcript

    • developer roots of Microsoft
    • Q&A via the DPE collection made before the conference
    • Why build for Windows if one develops for Android? –> innovating in every dimension … you will see a progress in a rapid pace … pretty unique pieces, e.g. bring end-users, IT profs and devs together … create a developer opportunity accross the Windows family expanding … we are betting on this platform ourselves
    • Plans for easy development accross platforms? –> David Treadwell part … the only platform with APIs on every platform amd native, managed and the web … working w/ PhoneGap, Unity e.t.c. …
    • What MS is doing to compete against Apple and Google in the tablet space? –> tablets accross all prices ranges … innovate with Surface to make the most productive table … what is the role of a tablet in the device family … consistency of user experience
    • Approach to UX design now and in 5 years with Microsoft? –> we have fantastic people for UX … see inspiration for other platforms … Cortana … modern apps to mouse and … Bill Buxton about natural UI … the broadest range of input modes today
    • How to design for the cloud, and how MS is supporting that? –> Scott Guthrie tomorrow … data-tier built for scale-out and other consideration long taken into account, Service Bus etc. … lot of focus on tools, samples that truely take advantage of the cloud
    • Different APIs released for different products? –> Windows Universal apps is the first step in the direction of bring great consistency for developers … consistency of semantics for these APIs
    • What’s the plan with latency as we are moving and more apps to the cloud? –> build robustness … data center build-up throughout the world … great effort to enable apps to run in a true distributed way
    • How MS can better support start-ups? –> BizSpark program with 70K start-ups … seed fundings and accellerators throughout the world
    • The vision for Microsoft going forward? –> Drive in this world of mobile first, cloud first … interactions of differnt kinds getting digitized … create platforms .. build the best experiences
    • Plans to becoma a Master CEO? –> … 2514 … watch Scott Guthrie keynote tomorrow

Cortana (yes!) and Many, Many Other Great Features coming in Windows Phone 8.1 [by  Joe Belfiore on Windows Phone Blog, April 2, 2014]

Whew, what a day! What a week! I’ve just gotten off the stage at Build in front of 5,000 of our beloved developers talking about the future of the Windows platform. And now I’m here to tell YOU about the stuff we’ve been working on to delight all our Windows Phone users and fans!

During my time on stage, I went over what’s next for Windows PCs, tablets, and phones with two major updates: Windows Phone 8.1 and the Windows 8.1 Update. Both releases bring a lot of new features for consumers and businesses alike, built from the feedback we’ve heard from customers along the way. We’ve also continued to invest in our partners, enabling lots of great new phones, tablets, laptops and PCs for you to choose from in the months ahead.

Windows 8.1 Update: Focused on Mouse/Keyboard

For PCs and tablets, we’ve made improvements in Windows 8.1 that will noticeably improve the experience when you’re using a PC without a touch-screen. We’ve made commands easier to find with mouse/keyboard, we’ve made switching between apps—especially Windows Store apps—much easier with mouse/keyboard… and we’ve made it easier to find new apps to install.

To learn more about the update to Windows 8.1 for your PC and tablets, head on over to the Windows Experience Blog and read Brandon’s post. What I really want to cover in detail here is…

Windows Phone 8.1: More Personal, Smarter, and even a “World Record Holder”!

If you’re a Windows Phone user, you already know that we set out to create an experience that puts you and the things you care about most front and center. As a result, we believe Windows Phone is the world’s most personal smartphone… and with Windows Phone 8.1, we’ve added a BUNCH of new features that make your smartphone even more a reflection of your personality and desires.

Want to experience it all in one giant demo? Then watch this marathon 15-minute video. Else… read on!

The world’s most personal smartphone just got more personal. Watch the innovations of Windows Phone 8.1 come alive.
Start screen: Make the Live Tiles Yours
We want your Windows Phone Start screen to genuinely reflect your personality and the people and things you care about—so we are making it even more customizable!

image image

In 2013, we added a third column on devices for 5-inch screen or larger devices, like the Lumia 1520, to enable more stuff to show up on the screen. People really liked this so we are enabling this on all screen sizes in Windows Phone 8.1. Pin away! We’ve also added the ability to customize your Start background with a favorite picture or one of the options we’ve provided, which will make many of the tiles on your Start screen become clear so you can see the background you selected as you scroll up and down.
Lock screen: Lots of new “themes” to choose from!

image

The Lock screen is the very first thing you – or your friends—see when you grab your phone, and in Windows Phone 8.1 we’re providing a new app that lets you set a wide range of interesting “Lock Screen Themes” which show all kinds of different visuals and animations. Make it yours…
Cortana: Your PERSONAL Digital Assistant
Of everything we’re announcing today, I’m most excited to introduce you to the world’s first truly personal digital assistant, now on Windows Phone. We were inspired by the popular character from Halo who served as a brilliant AI and a deeply personal digital assistant to Master Chief… so we called her Cortana.
Powered by Bing, Cortana is the only digital assistant that gets to know you, builds a relationship that you can trust, and gets better over time by asking questions based on your behavior and checking in with you before she assumes you’re interested in something. She detects and monitors the stuff you care about, looks out for you throughout the day, and helps filter out the noise so you can focus on what matters to you. Cortana will launch shortly here in the U.S. first as a “beta,” and then will launch in the US, the U.K. and China in the second half of 2014 with other countries to follow afterwards into 2015.

image image

In Windows Phone 8.1, you get to Cortana by either a Live Tile on your Start screen or by pressing the search button on your device. This will take you to Cortana Home. To interact with Cortana, you can either speak or type—if you’re in a meeting, just type and Cortana won’t talk out loud. But if you ask her a spoken question, she’ll answer verbally and even carry on a natural conversation.
When you interact with Cortana for the VERY first time, she will start learning things about you… like your name, how to pronounce it, and ask for some personal interests.
Once she’s learned a bit about you, Cortana’s home populates with information that is curated just for you. You’ll see things like flight information she’s found from your email confirmations, weather, the latest news, and even traffic information once she learns your commute routine, such as from work and home.

image

To develop Cortana, we talked to a number of real personal assistants. One technique these assistants spoke about was keeping track of the interests and preferences of their bosses in a notebook. We thought… what a great idea! So all the stuff Cortana curates for you is stored in Cortana’s Notebook. This information enables Cortana to be proactive and helpful throughout the day. For example, she’ll let me know if my upcoming flight back to Seattle is on time and, if I choose, will even pop-up to recommend what time I should leave for the airport based on traffic. Cortana can also manage your phone when you don’t want to be disturbed by setting quiet hours where she will silence any notifications, in-coming calls, and texts. Cortana understands the “inner circle” of people-closest-to-you, and she can let them break through at any time during quiet hours. And Cortana is the only digital assistant that lets you setup people reminders. You can have Cortana remind you that your buddy owes you $20 the next time you talk to him. And ALL of these interests and preferences are under YOUR CONTROL via Cortana’s notebook.
What’s more, because Cortana is powered by Bing, some of the interests in Cortana’s Notebook will light up on Bing.comwhen you sign in on the web. Bing.com will give you access to the things Cortana tracks for you, like your weather, stocks, news, and flights.
We’ve also designed Cortana to be able to interact with 3rd Party Appsinstalled on your phone. You can ask Cortana to help you make a video call in Skype, watch a TV show in Hulu Plus, look up a news feed on Facebook or send a tweet using the Twitter app – all of which we demoed during this morning’s keynote.
And finally, Cortana isn’t just a dry computer returning search results. Just as she has in the game Halo, Windows Phone’s Cortana has a bit of personality. But you’ll have to talk to her yourself to see what I mean by that. Or… I bet you’ll be able to find some videos on the web pretty soon to see what I mean.
We think you’re going to really love having Cortana as your personal assistant!
A Whole Slew of New Delighters

image

Action Center: Live Tiles are a great way to “glance and go,” and now we’ve added Action Center to enable you to see notifications from ANY app – pinned or not—and to give you a customizable way to quickly access the settings you care about most, like Wi-Fi, Flight Mode, Bluetooth and Rotation Lock.

image

Word Flow Keyboard: The keyboard in Windows Phone is smart enough to learn your writing style and even knows the names of people in your contacts for faster typing. Best of all, our new Word Flow Keyboard lets you glide your fingers over the keys to type INCREDIBLY quickly… a kid was able to BREAK THE OFFICIAL WORLD RECORD previously held by the Swype keyboard on a Samsung Galaxy S4 using Word Flow by 8 seconds!

image

Skype:The new Skype app for Windows Phone 8.1 brings the best of Skype on a smartphone. It’s integrated with the Phone dialer, so if you’re on a call you can quickly and easily “upgrade” your ordinary phone call to a Skype video call at the tap of a button! And… the new Skype app is designed to work seamlessly with Cortana so you can use Cortana to setup your calls within Skype.

image

Calendar:The new Calendar has been redesigned to add a new week view which lots of people have been asking for and it has many nice touches—like panning right to get to the next day or week or month! What’s more, it looks a lot like Outlook on your Windows PC… e.g., the weather is integrated at the top – just like in Outlook.

image

Music, Video, Podcasts: We’ve made a ton of improvements to these experiences, which are now split out as separate apps and all of which can be updated via the Store. In Music, you can edit your playlists and manage your cloud collection really easily and effectively. Video makes it possible to buy or rent videos from Xbox Music, and Podcasts now lets you subscribe to any RSS feed AND provides a Bing-powered podcast search for every country where Windows Phone is available. Oh… and we’ve improved the phone volume control by including separate sliders for your ringer/notifications and for your apps and media. Just the way you asked for it!

image

People Hub, Email and Accounts: The People Hub has higher-fidelity feeds for your social network content (large photos!) and it connects directly to 3rd-party social networking apps so that you can have easy access to all the full functionality of the 3rd party apps once they are installed. Email now supports S/MIME secure email, and we’ve broadened our support for different account types, now including iCloud.

image

Photos & Camera: The Photos experience now jumps directly to your most recent photos and shows as collections automatically organized, in a view grouped by date and location. Online photo albums are now supported via app-extensibility, so 3rd parties can plug in their services. In the Camera, we’ve updated the UI and added “burst mode” photography that lets you capture exactly the perfect moment—just like on Windows 8.1.
Data Sense, Wi-Fi Sense, Storage Sense, and Battery Saver:We’ve added a number of features in Windows Phone 8.1 that are designed to help you get the most out of your data allowance, battery life and storage.

image image

Data Sense lets you track how much data usage you use in a given month and will give you a breakdown of usage by app so you can see which app is using the most of your data. As you near your data limit, Data Sense will more aggressively offload data to Wi-Fi and limit cellular usage… and in 8.1 there’s a new “high savings” mode that cranks up the compression of images as you browse the web so you can browse even farther using less data than WP8.
Wi-Fi Sense will automatically connect you to free public hotspots it finds to help you save cellular data. And, if you’d like, you can opt-in to automatically and securely enable your friends and contacts to auto-connect to your home Wi-Fi, so they can use the internet connection at your house without hassling you for the password and typing it in manually. If you turn off Wi-Fi in Wi-Fi Sense, you can have Cortana automatically turn it back on when you reach one of your favorite places as identified in Cortana.

image

We’re introducing Storage Sense to help you get the most out of the memory and storage on your phone. It will help you manage content you have on an SD memory card if your device supports those. You can also move content – like apps, music, photos – between the storage built in to your device and an SD memory card.

image

And Battery Saver gives you a clear breakdown of how apps are using your battery so you can make more informed usage decisions. With “automatic mode” enabled, it can dramatically extend your battery life.

Windows and Windows Phone Together

Your Microsoft Accountallows Windows and Windows Phone to work together in amazing ways. Windows Phone 8.1 furthers the integration between phone and PC. If you change your theme color, that change will sync across all your Windows devices. If you buy an in-app purchase in some of the newer apps written for Windows Phone and Windows 8.1, the purchase works on your phone AND your PC. And other settings like your home Wi-Fi password will also sync.

Ever wanted to project your phone screen onto a PC, TV set or projector? We’ve added support for that as well—connect your Windows Phone to a compatible PC using a USB cable and you can run an application on the PC to show the phone screen. Some of the forthcoming new phones will also support wireless Miracast display to compatible TVs and other devices.

And finally with Internet Explorer 11 for Windows Phone, you will be able to see all the open tabs you have on all your Windows devices and all your Favorites too. Plus the new Internet Explorer gives you InPrivate browsing, password caching, and a super-handy reading mode.

Great for Business Users and IT Managers

Windows has long been the choice for the enterprise and professionals. Windows Phone fits easily and seamlessly into a corporate ecosystem making it easier to work when you are on the go. Last year, PC Magazine’s readers selected Nokia Lumia/Windows Phones as the Business Choice Award for smartphonesby scoring them the highest in end-user satisfaction.

With Windows Phone 8.1, we’re making it even easier for IT professionals to manage devices and for professionals to connect to essential business apps and services with features such as customizable MDM enrollment, support for loads more MDM policies, LOB application & certificate management, S/MIME and VPN support. Stay tuned for a detailed blog post later today on the Windows for your Business Blog that covers all the key features for businesses.

Sounds Great! When Can I Get It? And on which phones?

Windows Phone 8.1 will start rolling out to existing Windows Phone 8 users and will come pre-installed on new phones, including the Lumia 630 and 635 and Lumia 930announced by Nokia today, in the coming months. If you want to try out Windows Phone 8.1 and you are a registered developer, you can update your phone as part of the Developer Preview Program in the first part of April.

We are very proud of the progress we are making with Windows Phone. Industry analyst IDC proclaimed Windows Phone the fastest growing smartphone platform in 2013, and we think the future is even brighter. At Mobile World Congress, we announced our commitment to growing the number of device partners making Windows Phones, and were proud to welcome nine new partners to the Windows Phone ecosystem. Today we announced two more partners – Prestigio in Europe and Micromax in India – to further ensure that individuals around the world will have access to the amazing experience that only Windows Phone delivers consistently across all price points.

We know we have lots more to do – for developers, for business customers, and for consumers. Today’s announcements at Build were all about taking the next steps – making it easier than ever to build great devices and write great apps for Windows, and enabling a new generation of cool experiences for customers that show the power of designing around people, delivering truly personal computing, and helping us all to get more out of the technology in our lives.

Tags: Windows phone, Build 2014, Word Flow Keyboard, Battery Saver, Start screen, Email, camera roll, Windows Phone 8.1, Xbox Video,Enterprise, Announcement, inprivate, Action Center, Photos, Windows 8.1, Business, Devices, VPN, Cortana, Platform, skype, Xbox Music,Lock Screen, Windows 8.1 Update, podcasts, People Hub, calendar, Microsoft Accounbt, Windows, Live Tiles, Internet Explorer 11, Nokia, Wi-Fi Sense, Data Sense, Storage Sense

Windows 8.1 Update – important refinements to the Windows experience [ by  Brandon LeBlanc on Windows Experience Blog, April 2, 2014]

As Joe mentioned here, today we’re announcing two important updates to the Windows platform: Windows Phone 8.1 andWindows 8.1 Update. With these updates, we continue to refine and improve Windows based on feedback from customers to deliver ongoing value to all their Windows devices. Joe’s post goes into detail on all the awesomeness that’s in Windows Phone 8.1(Cortana is rad – trust me!) but also gives some great context around our new engineering culture in the Operating Systems Group now that we’re in this mobile-first, cloud-first world. It also underscores how we are moving more quickly to improve the Windows experience for customers. In this post, I wanted to share a little bit more about the update for Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1.
With the current generation of Windows, we made a pretty big bet on touch and mobility. Along with building on top of the strong foundation in Windows 7, we also introduced a brand new approach to the Windows user experience that brought touch to the forefront. Since the original introduction of Window 8 in 2012, we have been continuously refining the experience, and we are making steady progress. More than 40 percent of Windows PCs at big box retailers, like Windows Stores Only at Best Buy, this past holiday season were touch-enabled – up from only 4 percent a year ago. As Joe recently said at Mobile World Congress, customer satisfaction for a device running Windows 8 with touch is actually higher than it was for a PC running Windows 7 without touch. We believe deeply in the notion that delivering a compelling personal and modern experience across all the devices that matter in your life should not mean sacrificing familiarity. Windows 8 and 8.1 were first steps, and we continue to make refinements based on customer and partner feedback.
Last fall, less than a year after we shipped Windows 8, we released Windows 8.1– bringing a large set of customer-driven improvements including the return of the Start button, tutorials, more personalization options, the ability to boot to desktop, improvements to multi-tasking, and more. Today marks the next step as we release a new update for your Windows experience.
The Windows 8.1 Update delivers a collection of refinements designed to give people a more familiar and convenient experience across touch, keyboard and mouse inputs. It also brings improvements for business customers, really accelerates opportunity for developers, and enables device makers to offer lower cost devices.
See what’s new with Windows 8.1 in the latest update, including easier mouse and keyboard functions, a new taskbar, and Bing’s improved Smart Search!
Easier access to your favorite apps and key controls:
image
On the Start screen, on select devices you will now find Power and Search buttons at the upper-right corner next to your account picture. You can now more quickly shut down your PC if you need to and do a search right from the Start screen.
If you like using the desktop, you will be happy to know that select devices will now boot to desktop as the default setting. And on your taskbar, you can now pin both desktop apps and apps from the Windows Store as well as your favorite websites. You can now pin any app you want to the taskbar so you can open or switch between apps right from the desktop. I’ve got some of my favorite apps like Xbox Music, Skype, Facebook, Flipboard, and Mint pinned to my taskbar. You can also access the taskbar from anywhere when you’re using a mouse; you can see the taskbar on any screen by moving your mouse to the bottom edge of your screen. Just click on any of the apps pinned to your taskbar to open or switch to them.
More familiar mouse and keyboard options:
image
We’ve made it so your mouse works more consistently anywhere in Windows. If you move your mouse to the top of the screen when using a Windows Store app, you will see the familiar Close and Minimize buttons. And as I mentioned above, when you move your mouse to the bottom of the screen in a Windows Store app, the taskbar comes up.

image

On the Start screen, if you right-click on an app tile, you will get a context menu next to the app tile that shows you what you can do with the tile, like unpin from Start, pin to the taskbar, change the tile size or even uninstall the app. Right-clicking on an app tile on the Start screen works just like right-clicking on something on the desktop.
Simpler way to find new apps:
image
After installing the update, you’ll find the Windows Store is now pinned to the taskbar by default so you can easily discover new apps (yes, you can unpin it if you don’t want it there).
image
And after installing new apps, you’ll notice a message at the lower-left corner of the Start screen that points you to the Apps view so you can see what you recently just installed.
Seamless browsing on all devices:
image
With today’s update, Internet Explorer 11 adapts your browsing experience by detecting your Windows device and input type – whether an 8-inch touch tablet in portrait mode or a 24-inch desktop with mouse and keyboard. The web is still front-and-center but new design enhancements make your browsing experience feel like it was made just for your device – like the number of tabs on-screen, the size of the fonts and menus. You can also now control when the browser remains on-screen or hides away for full-screen browsing. Check out 22tracksto see these updates in action.
Improvements for business customers: We are introducing several key improvements for businesses such as Enterprise Mode Internet Explorer (EMIE) and extended Mobile Device Management (MDM). EMIE enables Internet Explorer 8 compatibility on Internet Explorer 11 so companies can run existing web-based apps seamlessly on Windows 8.1 devices. And with extended MDM, we are introducing additional policy settings that can be managed with whatever MDM solution an enterprise chooses including whitelisting or blacklisting Windows Store apps and websites. Look for a blog post later today on the Windows for your Business Blog that discusses these in greater detail and a post on the Springboard Series Blogon deployment guidance for the Windows 8.1 Update.
New low cost devices:With the Windows 8.1 Update, we have enabled our hardware partners to build lower cost devices for Windows such as devices with only 1GB RAM and 16GB of storage that provide customers with the experience they expect from a Windows device without sacrificing performance.
We have made the Windows 8.1 Update available today for MSDN subscribers, and will begin to roll it out for free to Windows 8.1 and Windows RT 8.1 customers via Windows Update next Tuesday April 8th. For the majority of folks, they will receive the update automatically. If you are still on Windows 8, you can get the Windows 8.1 Update via the Windows Store on April 8th as well.
NOTE: The Windows 8.1 Update will be KB2919355 for those of you interested.
We’re really excited to get this update out to everyone! Moving forward, we’ll continue to deliver improvements through regular updates like this one to Windows, allowing us to respond more quickly to customer feedback as your needs change.
Tags: Windows 8, Keyboard, Start screen, Windows Store, Windows 8.1, search, Apps, Windows 8.1 Update, Windows, Update, Pinning,Taskbar, Mouse

Extending platform commonality through universal Windows apps [by  Kevin Gallo on Building Apps for Windows, April 2, 2014]

Today during our BUILD conference in San Francisco we unveiled the latest Windows software for phones, tablets, and PCs. Windows Phone 8.1 further establishes Windows Phone as the world’s most personal smartphone, with an even more engaging Start screen, the fastest keyboard on the market, thanks to Word Flow, and of course Cortana – the only personal digital assistant built around you. We also shared Windows 8.1 Update features such as UI improvements for mouse and keyboard users, the ability to pin Windows Store apps to the taskbar, and Internet Explorer compatibility enhancements. These OS features, and a new wave of devices that consumers will love, open up new opportunities for developers.
With this release of the Windows developer platform we set out to accomplish three major goals: 1) Reach customers across phones, tablets, and PCs; 2) Deliver innovation that supports developer investments; 3) Make cross-platform technology easier and more capable.
Reaching customers across phones, tablets, and PCs
Windows Phone 8 brought the same core set of operating system components used by Windows 8 to the modern UI of Windows Phone. Today we’re taking an even bigger step with Windows Phone 8.1 and Windows 8.1 Update by empowering developers to create universal Windows apps for a common Windows runtime.
Since universal Windows apps run on the same Windows runtime, developers have a common way of building and architecting apps for phones, tablets and PCs; from how they handle suspend and resume and do background processing, to the way they manage in-app security.
To help developers create universal Windows apps for Windows 8.1 and Windows Phone 8.1, we’ve announced the release of Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC. In addition to enhanced productivity and collaboration features, Visual Studio 2013 Update 2 RC includes Shared Projects that allow developers to create an app that is easily tailored to render a contextually appropriate experience across Windows phones, tablets and PCs. Get the tools now!
Innovation that supports developer investments
We’ve designed Windows for the long term, to address developers’ needs today, while respecting prior investments. We do this with one familiar toolset based on Visual Studio 2013, with support for C#, C++, JavaScript, XAML, DirectX, and HTML. The tools and technology stacks already used by hundreds of thousands of developers extend app development across Windows devices. Developers who have built apps for Windows 8.1 will find it fairly easy to reuse their work and bring tailored experiences to Windows Phone 8.1. Windows Phone 8 developers can use the same code, and also access new features, when they develop for Windows Phone 8.1.
Windows now also offers an expansive set of common APIs for everything from displaying notification toasts to accessing the file system and device capabilities. With Windows Phone 8.1, we are adding a wide array of new features including support for Bluetooth LE to connect to devices, Action Center extensibility to more effectively connect with users, triggers to ensure battery-friendly multitasking, VPN so end users can connect to their workplace, and many more.
Even Cortana delivers developer extensibility. Cortana brings a significant evolution of the speech technology developed by Windows and Bing, which first appeared in Windows Phone 8. In Windows Phone 8.1 we expose new enhancements to the Speech API that developers can use to integrate their apps with the Cortana family of services. Developers can now leverage speech recognition and voice commands to denote a series of actions triggered by heuristically derived scenarios that are surfaced through the Cortana speech recognition service. Fewer steps and more types of natural verbal exchanges open more apps. All of this is delivered through a simple API so developers who use Windows Phone 8 speech features today can plug into Cortana with little additional effort.
Developers are interacting with tablets and Windows computers in new ways as well. Kinect for Windows v2 will be released this summer. Soon developers can start building Kinect apps for Windows Store and publish or commercially deploy Kinect apps and solutions.
We’re also improving the way people find and use apps, as well as increasing monetization options and providing a more consistent Store experience across devices and markets. Developers can choose to link apps among phones, tablets and PCs so when a user downloads an app on one device they can install it on all of their Windows devices, increasing usage and engagement. Windows 8.1 Update brings the Store icon and pinned apps to the taskbar on the desktop. Developers are also getting more ways to market and monetize apps, such as common price tiers that bring the popular $0.99 and $1.29 price point to PCs, and updated advertising SDKs that support more rich media standards for better fill rates.
Also, by popular demand, we’ll soon be piloting a program through which developers can directly respond to app reviews to address potential confusion or other issues that may be hurting their ratings. These are just a few of the new Windows Store features being detailed this week during BUILD. Todd Brix will share much more detail about what’s new in Windows Store later today.
Make cross-platform technology easier and more capable
We’ve also been working for developers who may not already be on the Windows platform by supporting a mix of languages, runtimes, frameworks, and protocols that run across devices. Middleware partners like Unity have helped developers bring thousands of titles to the Windows Store. In a newly released beta version, Unity is delivering support for Windows Phone 8.1, including universal Windows apps.
Microsoft Open Technologies also works with various open source communities to contribute code to popular C++ frameworks and optimize them for Windows devices. For example, Windows Store supports Cocos2D-X, openFrameworks, OpenCV, Cinder, and Ogre3D apps. Box2D and Bullet also have joined the Windows Store. jQuery now fully supports Windows Runtime, so web developers can build Windows 8 apps reusing their existing code and skills. Developers who use HTML5 to build cross-platform apps for iOS and Android with tools like Apache Cordova will find it easy to port their apps to Windows.
In fact, we’re taking a much more pragmatic approach to the web in general. We know that HTML is a critical cross-platform technology. Windows Phone 8.1 brings the same powerful hardware-accelerated IE11 HTML engine in Windows 8.1 to the phone. We’ve made great strides in extending IE to developers by focusing on open standards. Now we want to focus even more on interoperability. We already support WebGL and other technologies, such as media streaming extensions for adaptive streaming scenarios.
Today we’re also announcing that Microsoft Open Technologies has brought the Windows Library for JavaScript (WinJS) cross-platform apps and is open sourcing it under the Apache 2.0 license. Find the source code on GitHub. Use this powerful Windows development framework to build high-quality web apps across a variety of browsers and devices beyond Windows, including Chrome, Firefox, Android, and iOS.
Where we go from here
We’re enabling universal Windows apps for a common Windows runtime today, and we know we have more work to do, including expanding the range of devices running universal Windows apps so developers can reach more customers in more places, from Xbox One and the Internet of Things scenarios, to millions more desktop Windows users. We also continue to strive to make the app development, submission, and management process faster and easier. In the coming weeks and months, you’ll see additional updates to the Windows platform – including tools and Store – all designed to deliver even better experiences and enable greater opportunity for our developer community.
Tags: phone, PC, Tablet

Multiplatform value proposition for developers from Nokia, with potential of Microsoft joining the fray

After understanding what does the new Nokia X platform mean in preceding posts mine:
Nokia’s “best of everything” X range smartphones to conquer the smartphone market between the Asha and Lumia devices [Feb 24, 2013] and
Nokia X family of smartphones, leading local brand partners for Windows Phone and the potential of all that on the Indian market [Feb 27, 2014]
it is time to consider the Nokia X announcement from developers’ point of view.

Nokia Developer Day at MWC 2014 [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, Feb 27, 2014]

Amit Patel, VP Developer Relations at Nokia tells us more about Nokia X, the Nokia porting bus and the Nokia Developer Day at Mobile World Congress 2014

The Nokia provided content included here (later on): Lunagames success story—Nokia Developer Day Keynote—Nokia X: where Android apps will thrive—HERE Maps on Nokia X Family—Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1—Nokia X Porting Busbring apps to the Nokia Store for the Nokia X family—Five reasons: Android App to Nokia Store—Nokia’s Developer Day at MWC

But first take note of Nokia X Get Started Portathons [Nokia Developer, Feb 24, 2014]

The Nokia X Porting Bus is going to be driving all over Europe. If you’re nearby, please drop by with your Android app. We’ll show you just how easy it is to port to Nokia X. …

image

as well the Developer Offers for Nokia X.

And why there is a definite potential of Microsoft joining it? The proof-points for that were already included in a recent post of mine here:

  1. Consumers are now calling the shots <—> consumerization of IT”, i.e. enterprise computing is not ruling ICT alone any more, and as a result of BYOD the private, consumer devices are even dictating.
  2. Sales are not simple for developers anymore” Instead of the earlier uniform way of selling developers should use the most sophisticated approaches—think of the fremium, or advertisement based models as examples—in order to earn their revenue.
  3. The times of single platforms are gone, as developers own several platforms now

I met “cloud first” last summer with regards to Microsoft at TechEd, primarily through the words of Satya Nadella, who is the CEO now (see “Cloud first” from Microsoft is ready to change enterprise computing in all of its facets [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 4, 2013]). … Tim … was elaborating that Microsoft was much more considering the cloud interfaces (APIs) in the development of their software in this regard.

From View from Redmond via Tim O’Brien, GM, Platform Strategy at Microsoft [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Feb 21, 2014]

As the biggest news of this new developers’ value proposition is that of the new Nokia X:

We’ve maintained maximum possible compatibility with AOSP [Android Open Source Project]. We’ve made a few changes. And that’s mostly in the services layer. So we’ve taken away some of the Google services and replaced them with some of our own or some of the Microsoft services.

There are 3 services which we’ve changed:
– In-App Payment [Nokia In-App Payment], and I’ve already explained that it’s an advantage for developers
– Location [HERE Maps], and
– Notification [Nokia Notifications]
and for these APIs [Nokia APIs] some changes are needed. Otherwise your Android apps just work.

From [46:56 and on] of the keynote video (embedded later on) by Amit Patel, VP of Developer Relations 

imageimage
from [45:12] of the keynote video continued into the following feedback from partners:image
Lunagames: A Nokia Asha success story [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, Nov 28, 2013]

We all need a break from the daily grind. That’s why developer Lunagames delivers consumers “daily feel good moments” through a variety of free-to-play games for mobile phones and tablets. The Netherlands-based company focuses on creating games that offer short moments of entertainment — ideal for your morning commute or waiting for an appointment. And it’s working quite well for them! The company, which develops specifically for the Java platform, has more than 100 apps in the Nokia store today with a combined total of more than 150 million downloads! [NOW THEY MOVED TO NOKIA X PLATFORM WHICH YOU CAN WATCH IN THE KEYNOTE FROM [49:43]]

image

Regarding the position of the upcoming owner of Nokia Devices & Services Business an actual report stated that Microsoft: ‘no surprises’ regarding Nokia X, knew about Android work, okay with it [Windows Phone Central, Feb 25, 2014]:

If there was any question today about what Microsoft thinks about the Nokia X and its Android phone, their public line is that they’re fine with it. During Nokia Developer Day, John Shewchuk [see Deep technical evangelism and development team inside the DPE (Developer and Platform Evangelism) unit of Microsoft [May 17, 2013]], a Microsoft technical fellow responsible for “strategy for cloud platform services”, took to the stage to demonstrate Microsoft services running on the Nokia X, noting that they’re a ‘devices and services company’ first and don’t consider Nokia’s choice to be against their interests.

Before the session even officially kicked off, Shewchuk chose to address the elephant in the room by talking about Nokia X and Microsoft. Their stance, at least overtly, was that they knew about Nokia’s Android work going into the deal (to acquire Nokia’s hardware division) and that there were “no surprises” here this week. Instead, Microsoft’s focus on services, specifically OneDrive, Outlook.com and Skype, were considered to be just as important business for Microsoft as Windows Phone.

The session then focused on the benefits of developing services on Nokia X and Lumia phones, with Microsoft’s services being front and center. Nokia then later returned to the stage to discuss their imaging SDKs and development work.

We spoke with Shewchuk briefly after the session regarding his statement. He was forthright in stating that Windows Phone, as a developer platform, is still superior for many companies out there whom are making apps. The idea here is yes, Android is popular, but Windows Phone has momentum now and things like the web developer tools offer a great alternative.

Microsoft clearly has two business here to consider. More, actually. It’s not about just Windows Phone, but about Skype, OneDrive, Bing and even Azure. While to Windows Phone users, prioritizing that OS seems very obvious, Microsoft is taking a different approach. At least in this regard, publicly, they are on board with Nokia X and do it see it as an opportunity to grow Microsoft’s services in emerging markets.

Will Nokia X remain after the sale? We’re leaning towards yes, that this is a long term strategy by Microsoft. We’ll just have to wait and see. But for now, Nokia and Microsoft are acting like everything is business as usual.

Nokia Developer Day Keynote @ Mobile World Congress 2014 [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, Feb 27, 2014]

Welcomed by an excited and upbeat crowd, Stephen Elop kicked off the Nokia Developer Day with a keynote where he recapped Nokia’s product announcements and how the Nokia X software platform opens up new opportunities for existing and new developers. He also emphasized that Windows Phone is the fastest growing ecosystem today and that between Nokia X and Lumia families, Nokia is further increasing the market opportunity for developers. Timo Toikkanen, EVP Mobile Phones, cemented the news: “The Nokia X is the ultimate affordable smartphone in growth markets. Now that we’ve re-mapped the software platforms as well as the hardware. It will introduce new apps to millions of new people.” Many of our partners agree. Richard Hazenberg, CEO Lunagames, told the crowd that he is excited about the market potential Nokia X has to offer his company as it combines high volume, ease of porting and seamless billing. He announced “Our game HighWay Hei$t, is now available in the Nokia Store and we are going all in and shipping 20 more games for Nokia X platform”. Bryan Biniak, VP & GM of Developer Experience, Amit Patel, VP of Developer Relations, Neil Broadley, Director of Product Marketing for Nokia X, Sam Browne, Managing Partner from Carat, and David Proulx, from Blackberry, also took the stage.

Nokia X: where Android apps will thrive [Nokia Conversations, Feb 26, 2014]

The developer world for our devices is changing. With the Nokia X software platform opening up rich opportunities for Android devs to expand the reach for their apps, what does this mean for the developer community and consumers?

We spoke to Amit Patel, Vice President of Developer Relations, Nokia to get his take on this brave, innovative world.

image

NC: How do you see the Nokia X software platform as an attractive proposition for developers?

AP: Developers are interested in reaching more consumers. With the Nokia X family of device, we are able to reach new consumers in the affordable smartphone segment. This part of the smartphone (sub €100) is growing four times faster than any other part of the smartphone market and we are in the best possible shape to capture our share.

The majority of the growth is coming from the emerging marketsIndonesia, Thailand, India, etc. – where we are already significantly present, especially with Nokia Asha. There’s already brand preference and brand loyalty for Nokia.

In essence, we’re going to be able to deliver a large amount of consumers to developers very easily.

NC: What if developers already have Android apps. How can they get them onto Nokia X?

AP: Those developers are our primary target audience. And, for them, we have made it really easy to bring their apps to Nokia Store. We provide an online tool called Nokia X Analyser where you can drag and drop your app to see whether you’re 100% compatible, or whether you need to make some changes. In most cases, the majority of apps just work. If that’s the case, just publish your app into the Nokia Store and you’re done.

image

NC: And if you don’t reach the magic 100% compatibility rating?

AP: There are three APIs that make them non-compatible; HERE Maps, notification and in-app payment. For any apps that are using these APIs, the developer would need to be some modifications. In many cases the changes are relatively small and can be completed in a matter of hours. Once done, just package your app and put it into the Nokia Store.

NC: Ok, so from a consumer’s point of view – how will they see an ‘Android’ app?

AP: Consumers can find apps in Nokia Store and from third-party stores. In Nokia store, modified and unmodified apps will be shown side-by-side, there is no difference. From a consumers’ point of view, the only thing that changes is the ever increasing amount of apps on offer.

NC: How do in-app purchases work on Nokia X?

AP: We’ve had in-app payments on Nokia Asha for a while now, and it’s the same mechanism that’s being used on Nokia X. All a developer needs to do is change the in-app purchase API ‘call’ from Google Play to Nokia.

However, one of the big worries that developers have is fragmentation – where they need to service all types of app stores. What we’ve done is to develop the platform, tools and APIs in such a way that we’re promising developers that they can maintain a single ; if you need to support the Nokia APIs, you can make the edits in the same code as your Google code.

The benefit of this for the developers is that he has much lower costs to maintain his app. This is just one of the things we’ve done to make things easy for developers.

NC: Is there anything else you’ve done to make the process easier for devs?

AP: Absolutely. One key area is in-app payments linked to operator billing. Taking India as an example, there are 1.2 billion people, around 350-million phones and 24-million credit cards. It’s clear that most people aren’t using credit cards for their in-app purchases. People are paying with operator billing. And we have ‘more than one’ operator billing deal in India.

Not many of our competitors have that.

So, publishing in the Nokia Store using our in-app payment method, means you’ve instantly got 350 million people at your disposal to buy your app, or an in-game sword!

NC: Are there any upcoming Nokia X apps that you’re excited about?

AP: We already have many of the top apps preloaded on the Nokia X devices including apps like Plants vs. Zombies, BBM, Skype, Facebook and many more. And we have others like OneDrive, Outlook.com, Angry Birds and hotels.com in the Nokia Store. We are continuously adding new apps and I am looking forward to apps like Facebook Messenger, Spotify and Temple Run 2, which should be amongst the many apps coming soon.

NC: Do you think there’s a good enough range of apps on Nokia X to give, what might be some peoples first foray into phone apps, a great experience?

AP: Right now, for the Nokia X family, we’ve got hundreds of thousands of apps available in the Nokia Store and in third-party stores. The Android ecosystem being what it is, there are lots of places for consumer to get all the apps they want.

NC: What do you think of people side-loading apps onto Nokia X?

AP: Side-loading happens predominantly in markets where consumers are reluctant to spend money on data. Often the mobile data costs in these markets make downloading large apps prohibitive. Obviously we encourage people to download over wi-fi, but we also realise that it’s convenient for people to side-load apps, often in bulk, to their devices.

Our focus is to give developers the chance to reach millions of consumers. Side-loading helps us to achieve that. With our in-app payment solution and our leading operator billing network, we are also uniquely position to maximize the revenue potential for developers regardless of how the apps are distributed.

None of our major competitors have the same operator billing coverage and device market share in growth markets.

Are you a developer? We’ve love to know what you think of the porting system. Let us know in the comments, below.

HERE Maps shows the way on Nokia X Family [Nokia Conversations, Feb 27, 2014]

The new Nokia X family bring together popular Microsoft services like Skype, OneDrive and Outlook as well as the best of Nokia experiences – HERE Maps included.

We sat down with the HERE team to learn more about the HERE Maps experience on the Nokia X and how it all came to be.

Nokia’s HERE business was charged with creating the new location and navigation app for the Nokia X family, working from scratch and in a time-frame of less than twelve months.

Nonetheless, says Niko van Eeghen, HERE Maps for Nokia X product manager:

“We’ve managed to pull off a hell of a release. We’d say that, though it says it’s version 1.0, it’s more like a version 2.0 release in terms of functionality and polish.”

The team had high ambitions. Niko’s colleague Jens Klaus explains:

“For Nokia X we have brought the HERE Maps experience, with regular search, nearby search, and points of interest. We also have routing functionality for cars, pedestrians and transit. And there’s the in-car experience with voice-guided turn-by-turn navigation.”

Niko adds that the app offers online and offline functionality, with maps available for nearly 200 countries, and navigation available for 98 countries.

image

The experience is very smooth and Lumia-like. “Customers will be really surprised at the performance of HERE Maps on the Nokia X family,” says Niko with a smile.

“Compared to mapping and navigation solutions that draw their maps from online, it’s amazingly fast, because we store our maps offline.”

While the app is installed out of the box, the team decided not to preload the local country maps. “This way, we give customers the choice of which map, what regions and cities to install, and whether to install the map in the main storage memory or on a MicroSD card,” explains Jens.

The HERE Maps app also integrates with the device’s Fastlane feature. The HERE Maps shows up on Fastlane together with other apps you’ve recently launched. This way you can easily go back to your most recent locations and also get notifications for when updates are available to be downloaded for your offline maps. You can perform direct searches for locations on HERE Maps for Nokia X using the device’s global search. The app also integrates with contacts in the address book. If you’ve stored your friend’s address, you can click through to show a map and get directions.

image

But the HERE Maps application was not the only job for Niko’s team. They also had to power location services on other apps, creating API’s to allow developers to tap into HERE services for their own functionality. “When you share your location in WeChat, for example,” Niko explains, “the app uses our APIs to establish your location and our maps are shown when you share that location.” Developers can tap into the HERE API by downloading an SDK plug-in that makes it simple to switch from competing mapping services.

“It’s our ambition to provide a great experience for all mobile phone users,” Niko concludes.

More on this story on HERE Three Sixty.

New Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1 available [Developer News | Nokia Developer, Feb 24, 2014]

Today we’re announcing the latest release of the Nokia Imaging SDK. This powerful library of exciting image manipulation tools makes it quicker and easier to create imaging apps for Windows Phone 8, and now also Windows 8.1 – desktop and RT.

With the Lumia 2520 tablet (running Windows 8.1 RT) now part of the Nokia family; the shared API allows developers to reuse a lot of the code across Windows Phone and Windows 8.1

The new 1.1 release also includes a number of new effects:

  • Interactive Foreground Segmenter: this filter API picks the foreground/background from an image and makes it easier for you to create an interactive UI where users tap, swipe or point at the object boundaries and the API will figure out which objects belong to foreground and vice versa. This is often used to e.g. swap backgrounds or for blurring effects.
  • Lens Blur, also known as Bokeh: this is used in professional photography for creating photorealistic image effects. The Nokia Imaging SDK makes applying the new Lens Blur effect or blending with mask quick and easy.
  • Single Image HDR: this effect can be applied to an image to create stunning and vibrant photorealistic color effects similar to HDR, or with more conservative settings, auto enhance the image colors.

We have also made some improvements under the hood, with fixes and memory optimisations.

Bottom line, the Nokia Imaging SDK is now even more powerful than before.

Documentation and sample code have been updated to help you get started and you can now also sign up for next week’s Lumia App Lab webinar, where Windows Phone MVP Michael Samarin will walk through everything that’s new in this release.

More than 1,500 developers have already created great imaging experiences for consumers using the SDK 1.0. Will you create the next outstanding imaging app using 1.1? If you think you’ve got what it takes, make sure you enter our new Imagin8 Mission competition: your creation you could win you an expenses-paid trip for 2 to experience zero gravity! Check out the Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1 today!

Learn more and download the SDK

More information: Get creative with Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1 [Nokia Conversations, Feb 25, 2014]

Get on the Nokia X Porting Bus [Developer News | Nokia Developer, Feb 27, 2014]

A lot of enthusiastic developers came over to meet us this week at Mobile World Congress. Now it’s time for us to return the favour: we’re going to come to you. The Nokia X Porting Bus has been parked in Hall 8 in Barcelona all week and inside its comfort we’ve helped developers port hundreds of apps to Nokia X. (To be honest, not much help’s required; most ports are simple.)

Now it’s time to hit the open road. Over the next month we’re driving across Europe with a crew of experts, a pile of Nokia X devices and DVLUP XP that we’ll trade for ported apps. When we stop in your area we’d love it if you pop in. No registration, no reservations. Just bring your laptop, your Android apps, and an appetite. We’ll get you started with Nokia Store and you just might walk away with some DVLUP points you can redeem for rewards.

Find a portathon near you

Nokia and Handster, an Opera Software company, bring apps to the Nokia Store for the Nokia X family [Developer News | Nokia Developer, Feb 27, 2014]

Working together, Nokia and Handster, an Opera Software company, have brought apps submitted via the Opera Mobile Store’s publisher portal and published them in Nokia Store for use with the Nokia X family of devices.

Announced this week at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Nokia X family offers access to the world of apps via Android Open Source Project (AOSP), coupled with Nokia signature experiences and the most popular Microsoft services. For Android app developers, it’s an easy, risk-free way to expand the reach of their applications to a new user base while still using the existing code base.

Based on Handster’s existing agreements with its developers, they have granted distribution rights to Nokia for these free Android apps which have been published in the Nokia Store.

How Handster developers can join the Nokia Store and reach new users

Developers with apps distributed by Handster can quickly join the Nokia Store and reach new users with their apps.

If you are ready to start the registration process, click here. Nokia will then contact you to get your consent and to explain the process for creating your Nokia Store account.

Also, if you already have a Nokia Store account, you will not need to do anything else. Your compatible Android apps will automatically be added to your account. Log in to Nokia Publish to check your apps.

Want to learn more about Nokia X?

Check out the five reasons why you should publish your Android app to Nokia Store.

Five reasons to publish your Android App to Nokia Store [Developer News | Nokia Developer, Feb 24, 2014]

  1. Nokia X opens new markets to your existing apps
    Nokia’s sales leadership and brand strength in the fastest growing smartphoneand mobile app markets provide the launchpad for your apps’ success. With Nokia X, you can reach an untapped pool of savvy – and app-hungry — new smartphone users around the world.
    Learn more …
  2. Nokia X’s monetization tools create additional revenue streams for your apps
    Monetization tools like Nokia In-App Payment, combined with Nokia’s extensive operator billing network, provide your existing apps with new monetization mechanisms in emerging markets. Consumers in many high growth markets do not have international credit cards, making revenue collection a challenge. Nokia X leverages Nokia’s wide operator billing coverage, which extends to over 3 billion mobile subscribers, with over 160 operators in more than 60 markets. Operator billing has been shown to deliver up to a 5x increase in revenues and a 10x increase in purchases over credit-card billing in the Nokia X targeted markets, meaning more revenues opportunities for your apps.
    Learn more …
  3. Android app compatibility
    Nokia has tested over 100.000 Android apps and approximately 75% are directly compatible and ready to be published to Nokia Store. If your app uses Google services for maps, push notifications or in-app payments, you will need to replace these APIs with Nokia specific APIs that have been built to work almost identically to those they replace.Nokia services have been designed to minimize porting effort from apps using corresponding Google services and allow developers develop and distribute a single app package targeting both ecosystems.
    Learn more …
  4. Develop apps for Nokia X using your existing Android SDK, toolkit and skillset
    If you already develop Android apps, you can continue to use your existing tool chain. Nokia provides a plugin package to the Android SDK, including the services APIs and the Nokia X emulator.You’ve already got the other tools and skills you need.
    Learn more …
  5. Nokia Developer programs provide the marketing and technical support you need
    Through programs like DVLUP, Nokia Developer Offers and local outreach, Nokia offers you opportunities to promote your apps to new users and potential customers, while our online training, events and support tools make sure you’re putting your best app forward.
    Learn more …

A success! Nokia’s Developer Day at MWC [Nokia Conversations, Feb 27, 2014]

Porting, tech sessions, space selfies, a bus and games. This year’s event had it all!

The figures are incredible; more than 102-billion app downloads and $26 billion in revenue. That’s what the app economy looks like today. In the next three years, the takings are expected to grow to $77 billion.

It’s no wonder then, that hundreds flocked to this year’s Nokia Developer Day at MWC 2014 to see how they could be part of one of technology’s biggest growth areas, summed up by Nokia’s Seppo Aaltonen, VP Mobile Phones Business Management who said: “Our affordable smartphones are about connecting the next billion.”

image

Seppo Aaltonen telling it how it is…

Welcomed by an excited and upbeat crowd, Stephen Elop kicked off the event with a keynote where he recapped Nokia’s product announcements and how the Nokia X software platform opens up new opportunities for existing and new developers.  He also emphasized that Windows Phone is the fastest growing ecosystem today and that between Nokia X and Lumia families, Nokia is further increasing the market opportunity for developers.

image

Stephen Elop working up a dev frenzy

Timo Toikkanen, EVP Mobile Phones, cemented the news: “The Nokia X is the ultimate affordable smartphone in growth markets. Now that we’ve re-mapped the software platforms as well as the hardware. It will introduce new apps to millions of new people.”

Many of our partners agree. Richard Hazenberg, CEO Lunagames, told the crowd that he is excited about the market potential Nokia X has to offer his company as it combines high volume, ease of porting and seamless billing.  He announced “Our game HighWay Hei$t, is now available in the Nokia Store and we are going all in and shipping 20 more games for Nokia X platform”.

Bryan Biniak, VP & GM of Developer Experience, Amit Patel, VP of Developer Relations, Neil Broadley, Director of Product Marketing for Nokia X, Sam Browne, Managing Partner from Carat, and David Proulx, from Blackberry, also took the stage.

Besides Nokia X, developers also heard more details about some of the other news of this week, including, the availability of the Blackberry messaging service BBM on Nokia X and Lumia, as well as the latest release of the Nokia Imaging SDK and the Imagin8 Mission competition for Windows Phone.

image

A packed developers’ hall

The agenda was packed, with technical sessions about Nokia X and Windows Phone, as well as a number of fun activities for developers to engage and learn about Nokia Developer offerings.

Hundreds of Android apps were ported to Nokia X on the spot, with all participants walking home with a brand new Nokia X. Porting continues at the Nokia X bus, which is parked in Hall 8, so if you are a developer make sure you stop by.

image

Hop on, plug in, port out!

Attendees also went to space. Really.

They experienced the capabilities of the Nokia Imaging SDK at a special photo booth where they took a very cool #spaceselfie, and learned about the Imagin8 Mission, the new imaging contest which will earn the winner a trip to experience zero gravity.

image

#1 Conversations’ Editor in space

image

#2 Conversations’ Editor in space

The day ended with a cocktail reception where the winners of Nokia Create, who flew in from all over the world, were congratulated and received their prizes from Patrick Stanton, Director of Lumia Developer Offering.

The day was a huge success, inspiring hundreds of developers to learn, do and have fun.

Nokia X family of smartphones, leading local brand partners for Windows Phone and the potential of all that on the Indian market

For some observers in the Western media the Nokia X family is a kind of challenge to Microsoft unlike my earlier post describing it as Nokia’s “best of everything” X range smartphones to conquer the smartphone market between the Asha and Lumia devices [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Feb 24, 2014]. In Will Satya Nadella and Microsoft Pick Up The Challenge Laid Down By The Android-Powered Nokia X? Forbes contributor, Ewan Spence simply concludes that:

If Nadella is looking to move Microsoft towards a future with more focus on easily accessible services rather than hardware lock-in, then the Nokia X should continue to receive some love and affection, along with continued support in the media and from the press teams in Redmond. It may even be made available for other manufacturers looking for an Android base to build on with some preferential patent licensing bundled along with the deal.

Other journalists accustomed to the U.S. market, where you don’t buy your smartphone but getting it as part of your paid subscription “for free”, even critisizing the Nokia X performance (see two critics on the right) unlike the head of UX Design, an American (see his view on the left) in charge of the team in Beijing, China “with global scope and BRIICA (Brazil, India, Indonesia, China, Africa) focus”:

Doug Walston, Head of MP [Mobile Phones] UX Design, Nokia – Beijing*:

“With the X family,” says Doug, “we were really focused on the needs of new people using smartphones, especially those in emerging markets. We wanted to create a beautifully simple device that gives access to a wealth of apps.”

“Apps don’t need to be rewritten to tap into Fastlane. We’ve used some special sauce (and native platform hooks) so it all just works.”

“If there’s an element of the interface of which I’m particularly proud, it’s the home screen. It’s so distinctive, bold and direct. It’s a break from the confusion that you see elsewhere in phones at this price.”

“The simplicity of the interface also means that it has a very low overhead on performance. Typically for a phone with all these features, you would expect a horrid battery life and a laggy interface in this segment, but that isn’t true of the X family at all. The performance is surprisingly good.”

From Not just a pretty face – the UI of the X family [Nokia Conversations blog, Feb 26, 2014]
*” The entire MP UX Design team is in Beijing now with global scope and BRIICA (Brazil, India, Indonesia, China, Africa) focus and encompasses accountability for the UX Design of the entire MP devices portfolio (15 + devices annually, with an expected volume of around 300 million devices sold annually).” This is a rephrased text corresponding to the job announcement of the Head of Mobile Phones Industrial Design [ID] on LinkedIn. Walston took this role on May 9, 2013 when he came from Motorola Mobility to take over the MP UX Design part of Peter Skillman’s job leaving him with the role of heading the HERE Design group based in Berlin and Cambridge. Before that Skillman was heading the UI and services design for the successful Asha range for two years.

Jane McEntegart, Writer/Editor at Tom’s Hardware:

Nokia X 1.0 is not slow or sluggish, but in the brief time we played with it, it wasn’t blazing fast either. The tile-interface also didn’t feel quite as sleek as it does in Windows Phone 8.

From Hands On with Nokia’s Windows Phone-flavored Android OS [Tom’s Hardware, Feb 24, 2014]

Tom Warren, Senior Reporter for The Verge, the resident Microsoft expert:

If you put the Nokia X side-by-side with the company’s Lumia 520 handset it might be hard to tell them apart.

Using the X software can be quite frustrating, however, as the entire interface is prone to slow response and a lot of lag. Closing or switching between apps on the X takes far longer than other, even entry-level, smartphones, and browsing the web will quickly test your patience. The third-party apps we saw on the X, such as Facebook, looked as they do on other Android smartphones, but they too suffered from poor performance. Nokia’s choice to combine the functions of home and back into the single back button is confusing, and it’s difficult to predict exactly where in the interface the button will take you when you press it. Part of the reason for the laggy interface and apps … is more likely related to the Android version in use on these devices.

Nokia appears to be positioning the X as a method to draw people to Microsoft’s cloud services.

From This is Nokia X: Android and Windows Phone collide [The Verge, Feb 24, 2014]

Is the head of MP UX design is right or such a harsh critic as Tom Warren? You could decide it for yourself by watching the video below. Draw special attention to the Fastlane performance difference between the Nokia X with 512MB of RAM and Nokia X+/XL with 768MB ([3:46-4:30] vs. [5:53-6:26]). It is also not an accident that “Resizeable tiles” are demonstrated on the 768MB version. My impression is, that if you are buying the 768MB versions (Nokia X+ or Nokia XL) you won’t feel the problems Tom Warren outlined above, won’t feel at all:

Nokia Launches Nokia X At Mobile World Congress In Barcelona [Red Robot – Intelligent Distribution YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2014]

Today at the Mobile World Congress, Nokia introduced the Nokia X family, affordable smartphones that offer access to a world of Android apps. The new devices feature the best of Nokia design and quality, signature Nokia experiences such as HERE Maps and Mix Radio, and popular Microsoft services such as Skype, OneDrive and Outlook.com.
[0:06] Press conference
>> [0:50] Elop’s 1st introduction: the new Nokia 220
>> [1:20] 2nd introduction: the new Nokia Asha 230
>> [1:32] 3d introduction: the new Nokia X and Nokia X+
>> [2:07] Preloaded great applications on the Nokia X family, hundreds of thousands of Android apps, Nokia signature experiences (HERE Maps, Nokia Mix Radio)
>> [2:42] Fastlane as a fantastic element of Nokia X experience
>> [2:57] 4th introduction: the Nokia XL
[3:40] B-roll (i.e. alternative) footages (with no sound):
> [3:42] Nokia X: Runs Android Apps, 4″ display, Fastlane, 3MP camera, 1GHz Dual Core Processor, Dual SIM
>> [3:46] Nokia X: Fastlane
>> [4:30] Nokia X: Skype
>> [5:08] Nokia X: Nokia Store
>> [5:33] Nokia X: Third Party App Stores
> [5:49] Nokia X+: Runs Android Apps, 4″ display, Fastlane, 3MP camera, 1GHz Dual Core Processor, 768MB RAM, Dual SIM
>> [5:53] Nokia X+: Swipe
>> [6:26] Nokia X+: Resizeable tiles
>> [7:15] Nokia X+: Nokia Mix Radio
>> [8:02] Nokia X+: Demo App: Plants VS Zombies 2
> [8:40] Nokia XL: Runs Android Apps, 5″ display, Fastlane, 5MP camera with flash, 2MP fron-facing camera, 1GHz Dual Core Processor, 768MB RAM, Dual SIM
>> [8:45] Nokia XL: Swipe
>> [9:26] Nokia XL: Camera: 5MP with autofocus and flash

Even more, as the rest of my post goes through the below details (i.e. sections 1. to 4.), you will find (along with with me) that from the point of view of focusing on the BRIICA (Brazil, India, Indonesia, China, Africa) markets (which was the task of the development team in Beijing China) this is an excellent product with no problems mentioned by some media people in the West. There is even no conflict with Microsoft at all (another critical speculation typical to the Western Media) as the Nokia X family is also preparing the ground for the upcoming super low-cost (higher levels as well) Windows Phone devices from local and regional brands like the #3 Karbonn and the #4 Lava (Xolo) in India, as well as Gionee which is a large local brand in China with strong recognition in India as well, not to speak of those who will supplied from Foxconn, the biggest white-label phone manufacturer in China.

  1. Why does this post concentrate on the Indian market?
  2. Nokia X family has been well positioned for the highest growth Indian market
  3. The feature phone and smartphone markets in India according to CyberMedia Research India and IDC
  4. New low-cost Windows Phone partnering strategy by Microsoft especially aimed at the Indian market


1. Why does this post concentrate on the Indian market?

Answer #1: The Indian smartphone market is expected to double and touch 80 million by the end of current fiscal, a top Samsung India official said today.

“We are expecting smartphone sales in the country to touch 80 million mark by the end of current fiscal [Samsung’s fiscal years are the same as the calendar years], while total sales were around 40 million in 2012-13,” Samsung Mobile and IT India Head Vineet Taneja said.

From Indian smartphone market to double to 80 million by fiscal end: Samsung [The Economic Times (of India), Feb 18, 2014]

Answer #2:Now is the right time because there is a rapidly growing low-price affordable smartphone segment that’s really taking off in a number of growth economies. We’re seeing that in countries like Indonesia, Russia, Vietnam and a number of others,” [Stephen] Elop [former Nokia CEO and soon-to-be Microsoft executive vice president] says in the interview, shot at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona.

While Nokia X is based on Android, the user interface “is remarkably similar to the Windows Phone interface,” he says.

That means these customers, many of whom have never owned a smartphone before, will learn to navigate in Microsoft’s world first, with the potential over time to buy higher end Nokia Lumia phones that run Windows Phone as Lumia prices drop.

“And so we’ve gone for that and we’ll take advantage of that to keep people in the Lumia family but using Nokia X as a feeder system into our Windows Phone strategy,” Elop says.

The strategy isn’t meant for the U.S. where cellular carriers widely and generously subsidize the price of high-end phones in order to lock customers in to long-term contracts, he says.

The above excerpts are from the Nokia’s Stephen Elop Talks Android video interview:

Nokia’s Stephen Elop talks about the move by the company to embrace Android at this time.

From Nokia chief: Nokia X Android smartphone is a gateway drug to Windows Phone [Network World, Feb 25, 2014]

Answer #3: is in another post of mine: Nokia’s “best of everything” X range smartphones to conquer the smartphone market between the Asha and Lumia devices [‘Experiencing the Cloud’ Feb 24, 2014] but before reading that here is Nokia X/ Nokia X Plus Hands On (Dual SIM) [WPXBOX YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2014] video from which you can easily understand why is it “best of everything” instead of a stock Android smartphone:

Detailed Hands on of Nokia X and Nokia X+ which only differ by memory of 256 MB Ram. They both come with 4GB memory card which can be expanded to 32GB.

Answer #4: in section 2 of this post I will show you that these smartphones will quite probably have a competitive on line pricing starting at most from:
Rs 7400 ($119) for Nokia X vs. the list price of EUR 89 [$122]* (Rs 7582)
Rs 8000 ($129) for Nokia X+ vs. the list price of EUR 99 [$136]* (Rs 8434)
Rs 8600 ($139) for Nokia XL vs. the list price of EUR 109 [$150]* (Rs 9284)
* Although these prices are before local taxes.

Answer #5: India will be key to future smartphone growth as it represents more than a quarter of the global feature phone market. “Growth in the India market doesn’t rely on high-end devices like the iPhone, but in low-cost Android phones. Nearly half of the smartphones shipped in India in 2013 cost less than US$120,” said Kiranjeet Kaur, Senior Market Analyst for mobile phones at IDC Asia/Pacific.
From Smartphone Prices Race to the Bottom as Emerging Markets Outside of China Come into the Spotlight for Future Growth, According to IDC [press release, Feb 24, 2014]

Answer #6: In addition to existing partnersNokia, Samsung, HTC and Huawei — Microsoft has announced it is now working with Foxconn, Gionee, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE to develop on the Windows Phone platform. … Customers can expect to see an even broader array of devices, from iconic to lower-cost options, coming to market. … The expanded Windows Phone ecosystem will also provide mobile operators and retail partners with additional opportunities to offer white-label Windows Phone devices under their own brands.
From Microsoft adds nine new Windows Phone hardware partners [press release, Feb 23, 2014] where Karbonn is the #3 and Lava (Xolo) the #4 brands (after #1 Samsung and #2 Micromax), while Gionee is a local brand in China with strong recognition in India as well, and Longcheer as a local Chinese brand that has long been in India as well (albeit with top recognition already lost). Finally Foxconn is the biggest white-label phone manufacturer in China whose production has already influenced the Indian market very much.

We are adding support for Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 and 400 series chipsets, with options that support all major cellular technologies, including LTE (TDD/FDD), HSPA+, EVDO and TD-SCMA. We will also support soft keys and dual SIM where our partners want it for their devices. One nice benefit of these additions is that many hardware vendors will be able to use the same hardware for both Android and Windows Phone devices [obviously if they are using the Qualcomm SoCs]. From Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft Windows Phone in Scaling Windows Phone, evolving Windows 8 [Windows Phone Blog, Feb 23, 2014]

Q. Many of your recent partnerships and announcements have focused on emerging markets. Is that a major priority?
A. It’s not our only focus, but it’s a very big one. The purpose of low-cost phones in emerging markets is to drive volume. From Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president of Microsoft Windows Phone in Q.&A. With Joe Belfiore on the Future of Windows Phone [Bits blog of The New York Times, Feb 23, 2014] That is the Nokia X family will not only prepare the ground for its own Lumias but for these upcoming low-cost Windows Phone devices as well (also why IMHO Microsoft will not kill the Nokia X family after Nokia devices and services becomes part of it)


2. Nokia X family has been well positioned for the highest growth Indian market

X marks the sweet spot [Nokia Conversations, Feb 25, 2014]

We asked Jussi Nevanlinna, VP for Mobile Phone marketing, some of your questions about the new Nokia X family, why it’s important for Nokia and why customers will be delighted with the phones.

First of all, why now? Why is the timing now right for an Android-based smartphone from Nokia?

There are a couple of answers to that question.

To launch the Nokia X family, we needed to be able to create a product that was true to Nokia’s heritage in design and build quality. But we also needed to make it very affordable. Lots of different components had to come into place for us to create something that’s clear and easy to use, but also high quality and within people’s financial reach.

The other answer is that the market itself is moving. We’re the number one manufacturer in growth markets in the ‘entry-level’ and ‘feature phone’ categories. But a lot of those people are now aspiring to smartphone products. There are a significant number of users worldwide who are about to experience the Internet through a mobile device. As you can imagine, we want to be ready for them.

image

The Nokia X family is based on the Android Open Source Platform (AOSP). Does that put the future of the family at the mercy of Google?

To fully explain, this is a Nokia smartphone that runs Android apps. At its heart, we have AOSP on top of which we have added Nokia design and usability expertise to create the user interface that people see. Then we have added Nokia experiences like HERE Maps and Nokia MixRadio, and Microsoft services like Skype, Outlook.com and OneDrive. What we don’t have is Google services: this was deliberate. Instead, we have implemented Nokia and Microsoft services to create something truly differentiated.

So who is the target audience for the Nokia X family?

These are global products, which will be available pretty much everywhere except North America, Korea and Japan. We have a particular focus on growth markets – for example, India and China, Thailand and Indonesia then over to Egypt, Kenya and Nigeria, and South America, especially countries like Brazil, and Mexico. They are all places where we’re seeing this big shift from feature phones to affordable smartphones.

Our Nokia X family customers are young, social, very aspirational and are fans of Nokia. They love our brand and our product design. And they also love Android apps: the quantity and choice is very appealing to them.

So we’re offering them the best of three worlds:

  • Nokia design and build quality;
  • Microsoft cloud services; and
  • Android apps.

image

Does the X family compete with the Lumia family and maybe mean lost sales for Lumia?

Our approach to compete in the affordable smartphone market is twofold. While Lumia remains our primary smartphone platform and we continue to push the prices down, Nokia X addresses price points that are generally lower than those reached by Lumia, and we’ll keep pushing the Nokia X prices down even further.

In fact we see Nokia X as a stepping-stone to Lumia. With Nokia X we are bringing people the best of Nokia and Microsoft services and experiences, making a future switch to Lumia natural.

Some might see creating an Android-based device as strange considering that the plan is for Nokia’s devices and services business to join Microsoft soon?

I can’t speak on Microsoft’s behalf; what I can say is our strategy with Mobile Phones has been, and remains, connecting the next billion. Microsoft is equally focussed on ‘mobile first; cloud first. As I have explained, getting people exposed to and loving Microsoft and Nokia services in the affordable segment creates a natural pathway to Lumia, which is designed to be the pinnacle smartphone experience.

image

Technology becomes cheaper all the time. When it becomes possible to create a Lumia for $100, will the X family be retired?

I think the key word is ‘family’. We will be announcing more products in the family over the course of the next year, and the price range it covers will change to suit the markets. We will be taking Nokia X into even more affordable price points.

What do app developers need to do to make their Android apps available for the Nokia X family?

The short answer is: nothing. In the vast majority of cases, Android apps will run very well on the Nokia X family, out of the box.

Furthermore, we’re working with developers to make it very easy to submit apps into the Nokia Store. In most cases, they simply republish their apps to Nokia Store .

Where apps depend on functionality that isn’t on the Nokia X family devices, like Google Maps, we’ve created API plugins for the Android SDK to allow developers to simply tick the box to use HERE Maps instead.

image

And what advantages can developers and customers gain by using Nokia Store?

Android developers stand to make big gains by supporting the Nokia X family. We have heard many times that they find it hard to monetise their apps. One reason for that is, in emerging markets, people are a lot less likely to have credit cards. The Nokia Store offers in-app payments through operator billing, and we have the largest network of operators signed up for that. It’s been shown through experience that when operator billing is available, then revenues increase by up to five times.

That’s one reason the Nokia Store offers a better alternative. The other is from the user’s side. The Nokia Store is curated. The apps are screened and scanned so you won’t bump up against malware or inappropriate content. So they can shop in our store with confidence and security.

And worldwide, people are very comfortable with using third-party app stores that aren’t owned by Google. In Russia, the Yandex Store dominates the Android marketplace. In China, Google Play isn’t available, so all app purchases are through third parties. So you see, non-Google stores are already the norm for most Android owners.

Nokia X is a phone made for India [India Today, Feb 24, 2014]

The Finnish handset maker has finally unveiled its much talked of Android phone, the Nokia X, at the ongoing Mobile World Congress 2014.

Nokia has launched a family Android phones with three variants–Nokia X, X+ and XL–at affordable prices. All three Nokia X variants are going to be low-cost phones with the Nokia XL expected to be priced around Rs.9,000 [$145]. For now, the prices that have been revealed are: Nokia X for 89 euros, the X+ 99 euros and the larger LX carries a price tag of 109 euros.

Specs-wise, these are basic level phones. All three devices are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual Core processor and are dual SIM. The Nokia X comes with 4-inch display, the X+ has a bit of more storage options and the XL variant comes with 5-inch LCD screen and and 5-megapixel rear and 2-megapixel front cameras.

The Nokia X phones do not come with pre-installed Google Play Services. As a result the Play Store isn’t available on the Nokia X or Nokia X+. Though, Android apps can be downloaded through Yandex Store.

Once, Nokia was the leader of Indian mobile industry. Nokia feature phones used to be first choice of the Indian consumers. But it could not keep pace with the emergence of smartphones. Its competitors like Samsung, Sony and Micromax took away the markets from the Finnish handsets maker with innovative smartphones at affordable prices.

With affordable Android phones, the world’s largest smartphone maker, Samsung, is dominating the Indian market. Even, the home grown tech company Micromax made a market for itself with range of affordable Android phones having great features.

With its budget prices and widely used Android OS, the Nokia X series of smartphones will target the consumers looking to upgrade themselves from feature to smartphones. As the smartphone market is growing in India, given its brand reputation in the country, Nokia phones are going to give its competitors a run for their money in the sub Rs.10,000 [$161]segment. An Android phone from the Nokia at affordable price will be a good deal.

Well aware of its advantageous positing in the price-sensitive Indian market, Nokia has listed the X series devices on its India website as coming soon just after unveiling the devices at the ongoing Mobile World Congress 2014 in Barcelona.

Nokia Lumia 525 – First Impressions [Digit YouTube channel, Jan 7, 2014]

After the major success tasted by the entry level Lumia 520, Nokia has introduced the updated Lumia 525 for those wanting just a little more, at the same price

The current (Feb 25, 2014) lowest online price for Lumia 525 (in India) is on Snapdeal.com:

image
Rs 11499 [$186]
(list price) –> Rs 9519 [$154] Black/White –> Rs 9712 [$158 ] Yellow

Competing with the following models of the marketing leading brands (Samsung, Micromax, Karbonn):

image
Rs 11230 [$181] Rs 9244 [$149] … Rs 12100 [$195] Rs 9379 [$151] … Rs 12990 [$207] Rs 9997 [$161]
image

For comparison the preceding the Lumia 520 on the same site:

image
Rs 10499 [$169] (list price) –> Rs 7976 [$128] Black –> Rs 7995 [$129] White
–> Rs 8169 [$132 ] Yellow

Then some leading competitors for the Nokia X range (also from Snapdeal.com):

image
All list prices: Rs 9999 [$161] Rs 8949 [$144] … Rs 7225 [$117] … Rs 7895 [$127]

image

13767
6878
10957
7440
7623
Broadcom BCM23550
Broadcom BCM21654G
MediaTek MT6572
Qualcomm MSM8225
Qualcomm MSM8225

Which means a competitive on line pricing starting at most from:
Rs 7400 ($119) for Nokia X vs. the list price of EUR 89 [$122]* (Rs 7582)
Rs 8000 ($129) for Nokia X+ vs. the list price of EUR 99 [$136]* (Rs 8434)
Rs 8600 ($139) for Nokia XL vs. the list price of EUR 109 [$150]* (Rs 9284)
* Although these prices are before local taxes.

For  comparison the top of the Asha Touch range, the Asha 503 on the same site (currently):

image
Rs 7399 [$119] (list price) –> Rs 6549 [$106] Black/White –> Rs 6894 [$111] Yellow
–> Rs 6939 [$112] Red

Which means that the price of Asha devices could be lowered after the Nokia X devices appear on the market. This is especially true with the introduction of Asha 230 using the same SoC:

image

As the Asha 230 was announced for EUR 45 [$62]* (Rs 3823) you got an immediate price indication for such a decrease. In fact this new model is an effective replacement for the current Asha 500 as the entry level Nokia Asha Software Platform 1.1 device which has:

  • 2 MP rear camera instead of a 1.3 MP one on Asha 230
  • standby time up to 840 h (2G), talk time up to 14 h (2G) because of an 1200 mAh battery instead of the 1020 mAh one on Asha 230

but has the best online price of Rs 3999 ($66), actually from Nokia India against the list price of USD69 before taxes or subsidies.


3. The feature phone and smartphone markets in India according to CyberMedia Research India and IDC

From CMR announces top Telecom trends for 2014 in India [CyberMedia Research India press release, Dec 31, 2013]

CMR today released its MarketVision 2014 for Telecommunications in India.  Below are the key trends identified for 2014 for some priority segments.

Mobile Handsets

2013 witnessed the first time decline in growth of feature phones in India and this trend is going to further sharpen in 2014 as the primary focus of the industry as well as consumers would remain around the smartphones.

CMR identifies the following trends for 2014 in Smartphones

  • LTE enabled smartphone releases to be among priority areas of the vendors.
  • Chinese ODM’s have started taken a direct OEM route towards India Smartphone market.  CMR expect around 10 Chinese ODMs entering into India Mobile market in 2014.
  • ‘Made in India’ smartphones amount to 47% of the total sales.  With such tremendous growth and success witnessed by these brands in the local market, 2014 will be the time to look at newer geographies including MENA, Latin America and the SAARC [South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation] region for the home grown vendors.  CMR expects 3-4 such brands looking for new geographic markets.
  • With the increasing confidence and reliance of Indian consumers on the online retailing, particularly after the emergence of successful platforms like flipkart, CMR expects the role of ‘etailing’ becoming important for emerging brands who for various reasons cannot establish their physical distribution network across the country, particularly the non-metro cities and towns.
  • While the ecosystem partners like ODMs and app developers will be exploring Windows as a platform for mobility, CMR identifies Tizen, Firefox, Ubuntu and Sailfish among the new open source OSs emerging in 2014 in the India market.
  • CMR expects vernacular apps to start getting focus in 2014 from the developer community in the country.  Since national elections are going to be among the predominant themes for 2014, we expect a lot of apps being developed around this space which could be owned by a political party or being promoted by a neutral app developer.

62.9 million mobile handsets shipped in India during July-Sept 2013, a Y-o-Y growth of 10.9%; September registers, 19.5 million handset shipments; Nokia retains overall leadership [CyberMedia Research India press release, Nov 19, 2013]

  • Smartphone shipments cross 11.1 million units; Samsung still the market leader in smartphones category with Micromax and Karbonn at #2 and #3, respectively. Top 3 vendors make up nearly 63.1% of the total smartphone shipments.
  • Featurephone segment witnesses the first ever negative growth in shipments in the India Mobile handsets market.

According to CMR’s India Mobile Handsets Market Review, 3Q 2013, November 2013 release,India registered 62.9 million mobile handset shipments for the period July-September (3Q) 2013. During the same period, 11.1 million smartphones were shipped in the country.

image

Commenting on the results, Faisal Kawoosa, Lead Analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice said, “We have been saying that the way forward is smartphones. JAS 2013 is the first quarter to actually report this trend in numbers. This means vendors can expect to see large opportunities in the upgrades market where many featurephone users will upgrade to a smartphone. It may also so happen that new smartphone purchases register lower volumes vis-à-vis upgrades. But this phenomenon may be a few quarters away.”

“So there is going to be a huge opportunity as well as competition in the entry- to mid-level smartphone segments, which is where the volumes would remain for a while,” Faisal further added.

image

India Smartphones Market

The India smartphones market during July-September 2013 saw a rise in shipments by 152.3% over and above the July-September 2012 number, taking the contribution of smartphones to 17.6% of total mobile handset shipments during the period July-September 2013.

image

Commenting on these results, Tarun Pathak, Analyst, CMR Telecoms Practice said, “The India smartphones market continues to be a competitive space with close to brands vying with each other. Going forward, we expect this segment to be even more competitive as we expect some of the China-based ODM partners entering directly into the India market during 1H 2014. It will be interesting to see what impact this will have on the market share of existing smartphone players.”

“Another interesting observation is that local handset brands have now close to 47% market share in the India smartphones market and this momentum has been a source of confidence to a couple of players to enter new geographies outside India where the smartphone market is on the rise. Going forward 3G smartphone shipments will continue to rise and we can expect to see a few smartphone vendors introduce 4G-enabled devices by the end of 2013,” Tarun concluded.

Notes for Editors
    1. This release is a part of the CyberMedia Research (CMR) Smart Mobility Market Programme.
    2. CyberMedia Research (CMR) uses the term “shipments” to describe the number of handsets leaving the factory premises for OEM sales or stocking by distributors and retailers. For the convenience of media, the term shipments has been replaced by ‘sales’ in the press release, but this reflects the market size in terms of units of mobile handsets and not their absolute value. In the case of handsets imported into the country it represents the number leaving the first warehouse to OEMs, distributors and retailers. CyberMedia Research does not track the number of handsets brought on their person by individual passengers landing on Indian soil from overseas destinations or ‘grey market’ handsets. These are, therefore, not part of the CyberMedia Research numbers reported here.
    3. CyberMedia Research (CMR) tracks shipments of mobile handsets on a monthly basis. However, as per convention, the market size is reported on a calendar quarter basis where appropriate to the context; in all such cases this refers to an aggregated number for the three calendar months in the quarter to which the press release refers.
    About CyberMedia Research
    A part of CyberMedia, South Asia’s largest specialty publisher, CyberMedia Research (CMR) has been a front runner in market research, consulting and advisory services since 1986. CMR offers research and consulting services – insights, market intelligence, market sizing, ecosystem mapping and go-to-market services – covering the Information Technology, ITeS, Semiconductor & Electronics, Telecommunications, Government, SMB & Entrepreneurship, Smart Infrastructure, Energy & Utilities and Healthcare & Life Sciences verticals.
    Cyber Media Research Ltd., an ISO 9001: 2008 company, is a member of the Market Research Society of India (www.mrsi.in) and enrolled with ESOMAR (www.esomar.org) CMR’s forthcoming studies include stakeholder satisfaction surveys, mega spender assessments and market mapping studies for these domains.
    For more details, please visit http://www.cybermediaresearch.co.in or http://www.cmrindia.com/

    Explosive Smartphone Growth Driven by Lower-Priced Models, Cannibalises Feature Phone Sales in Indian Mobile Market, Says IDC [press release, Dec 2, 2013]

    The India smartphone market grew by 229% year over year (YoY) in the third quarter of 2013 (3Q13).  According to International Data Corporation’s (IDC) APEJ Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, vendors shipped a total of 12.8 million smartphones in 3Q13 compared to 3.8 million units in the same period of 2012. 3Q13 grew by close to 28% over the units shipped in the second quarter of 2013 (2Q13).

    The 5.0 inch-6.99 inch screen size smartphones (phablets) continued to show sustained growth in 3Q2013 as well – the phablet category contributed to 23% in the overall market in terms of volume.

    The overall mobile phone market (Feature Phones and Smartphones) had a 12% growth YoY and a 7% growth quarter over quarter (QoQ) with the share of feature phones sliding further to make 81% of the total market in 3Q13 despite the feature phone market growing at 3% in 3Q2013 over 2Q2013.

    imageimage

    Source: IDC Asia Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, 3Q 2013

    The third quarter of 2013 witnessed a slowdown in the numbers for top local vendors such as Micromax and Karbonn – while international vendors like Samsung and Nokia powered by their new product launches made up for close to 30% of the overall market in 3Q2013.

    “The growth in the smartphone market continues to drive the overall growth numbers for the phone market – given that there’s still a huge potential for smartphone penetration in India, this trend is expected to continue in the coming quarters”, said Manasi Yadav, Senior Market Analyst with IDC India.

    “The change agents for this rapid shift of consumer preference towards Smartphones have been the narrowing price gap between Feature phones and Smartphones. The Smartphone market is expected to maintain these elevated levels of growth in the near future” comments Kiran Kumar, Research Manager with IDC India.

    Top Five Smartphone Vendor Highlights

    Samsung: Samsung maintained its leadership spot with about 33% in terms of market share. Its smartphone shipments grew by close to 36% from 2Q 2013 to 3Q2013. The third quarter saw quite a few new launches across price points by Samsung – however the low-mid tier phones such as Galaxy S

    Duos and Galaxy Star continued to drive their volumes.

    Micromax: Micromax held on to its second spot with about 17% in terms of market share in 3Q2013. Some of the top selling models were A27 and A26 in terms of volumes – we have seen a dedicated marketing and advertising push from the brand with continued investments to up the brand recall.

    These efforts are expected to bear fruit in the coming quarters in time for their upcoming launches.

    image

    Karbonn: The market share for Karbonn in 3Q2013 was close to 11%, some of the top selling models for this brand were A6 and A50. There has been a significant pick-up for the Titanium range of phones especially S5 and S2 specifically.

    Nokia: The Lumia range of devices continued to show a growth trajectory in 3Q2013 and garnered close to 5% market share – the trend is expected to continue with greater support from Microsoft in the coming quarters. The third quarter of 2013 saw a few notable launches like the Lumia 625 and Lumia 925 which have been able to generate positive interest from consumers and developers alike.

    Lava : Lava made it to the top 5 for the first time in 3Q2013 owing to huge shipments coming in from its XOLO and IRIS range of competitively priced devices. Some of the top selling models for the brand are IRIS 349 and IRIS 402. Keeping in mind the shifting consumer preferences, there has been a conscious shift from feature phones to smartphones, which is expected to continue in the upcoming quarters too.

    Smartphone Prices Race to the Bottom as Emerging Markets Outside of China Come into the Spotlight for Future Growth, According to IDC [press release, Feb 24, 2014]

    Singapore and London, February 24, 2014 – Emerging markets have become the center of attention when talking about present and future smartphone growth. According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Worldwide Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, in 2013 the worldwide smartphone market surpassed 1 billion units shipped, up from 752 million in 2012.  This boom has been mainly powered by the China market, which has tripled in size over the last three yearsChina accounted for one out of every three smartphones shipped around the world in 2013, equaling 351 million units.

    Recently the surge in growth has started to slow as smartphones already account for over 80% of China’s total phone sales.  The next half billion new smartphone customers will increasingly come mainly from poorer emerging markets, notably India and in Africa

    “The China boom is now slowing,” said Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager for mobile devices at IDC Asia/Pacific.  “China is becoming like more mature markets in North America and Western Europe, where smartphone sales growth is slackening off.”

    Emerging markets in Asia/Pacific outside of China, together with the Middle East and Africa, Central and Eastern Europe, and Latin America, account for four fifths of the global feature phone market, according to IDC data. “This is a very big market opportunity,” said Simon Baker, Program Manager for mobile phones at IDC CEMA.  “Some 660 million feature phones were shipped last year, which could add two thirds to the size of the current global smartphone market.”

    India will be key to future smartphone growth as it represents more than a quarter of the global feature phone market. “Growth in the India market doesn’t rely on high-end devices like the iPhone, but in low-cost Android phones. Nearly half of the smartphones shipped in India in 2013 cost less than US$120,” said Kiranjeet Kaur, Senior Market Analyst for mobile phones at IDC Asia/Pacific.

    Converting feature phone sales to smartphone sales implies a relentless push towards low cost,” added Baker. IDC research shows nearly half the mobile handsets sold across the world have retail prices of less than US$100 without sales tax. Two thirds of those have prices of less than US$50.

    “The opportunity gets larger the lower the price falls,” continued Baker. “If you take retail prices without sales tax, in 2013 nearly three quarters of the US$100-125 price tier was already accounted for by smartphones. Within US$75-100 the proportion was down to just over half, and between $50-75 it was not much more than a third.”

    Many smartphone vendors have begun gearing up for this next wave of cost pressure. Samsung is increasingly switching production to Vietnam, where manufacturing costs currently undercut mainland China. Even Hon Hai [better known outside as Foxconn], one of the largest contract manufacturers for handsets in China, has announced plans for a plant in Indonesia to furnish a lower production cost base.

    In addition to the table below, an interactive graphic showing worldwide sub-$100 feature phone shipments by region is available here. The chart is intended for public use in online news articles and social media. Instructions on how to embed this graphic can be found by viewing this press release on IDC.com.

    image

    image

    The China Smartphone Market Hiccups as Growth Streak Ends with First Sequential Decline in 2013 Q4, Says IDC [press release, Fev 13, 2014]

    Singapore and Hong Kong, February 13, 2014 – After 9 consecutive quarters of explosive growth, which propelled China into the top smartphone market in the world, the China smartphone market experience its first slowdown in 2013 Q4.

    According to the International Data Corporation (IDC) Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, shipped 90.8 million units compared to 94.8 million in 2013 Q3, declining by 4.3% quarter on quarter (see Figure 1). Several factors drove this stumble – for one, China Mobile’s 4G TD-LTE network went live on December 18, translating into supplies of 4G handsets not able to reach the market fully until 2014 Q1. The increasing popularity of phablets and channel inventory also played a role, whereby operators cut phone subsidies on phones with smaller screens, triggering distribution channels looking to clear out those stocks.

    “The world has increasingly looked to China as the powerhouse to propel the world’s smartphone growth and this is the first hiccup we’ve seen in an otherwise stellar growth path,” says Melissa Chau, Senior Research Manager with IDC Asia/Pacific’s Client Devices team.

    “There will certainly be future drivers to unlock further smartphone growth in China, as Apple demonstrated with its China Mobile tie-up in January, and the massive device migration to come of phones only supporting 2G and 3G networks to devices supporting 4G networks. However, we are now starting to see a market that is becoming less about capturing the low-hanging fruit of first time smartphone users and moving into the more laborious process of convincing existing users why they should upgrade to this year’s model”

    Looking ahead at the prospects for the Asia/Pacific (excluding Japan) region, with mature Asia/Pacific markets like already having hit market saturation and China growth facing more moderate increases, two trends will become more prominent.

    First, growth will increasingly shift to ever-more emerging markets. While India volumes significantly lag China, India has taken the number three ranking of largest smartphone markets in the world in 2013, surpassing Japan, the United Kingdom, South Korea, Germany and France, which were all ranked higher in 2012.

    Second, Chinese phone players which have previously been content to make their mark on the China market itself, are looking to expand their ambitions overseas. While this trend has started already through 2013, IDC expects it to become more common in 2014.

    Chinese players are getting hungrier to turn themselves into international rather than China-only brands. Nowhere is this more clear than Lenovo’s acquisition of Motorola’s handset business, and even smaller players, some unknown to much of the world, like Oppo, BBK, Gionee and of course Xiaomi are ramping up on international expansion.”

    Figure 1.
    Asia/Pacific (Excluding Japan) Smartphone Shipments by Sub-Region, 2011Q1-2013Q4

    image

    Notes:

    • Mature markets include Australia, Hong Kong, New Zealand, Singapore and Taiwan
    • SEA markets include Indonesia, Malaysia, Philippines, Thailand and Vietnam

    Source: Asia/Pacific Quarterly Mobile Phone Tracker, February 2014


    4. New low-cost Windows Phone partnering strategy by Microsoft especially aimed at the Indian market

    Mobile World Congress, Microsoft and Nokia [The Official Microsoft Blog, Feb 24, 2014]

    The following post is from Frank X. Shaw, Corporate Vice President of Communications at Microsoft.


    Mobile World Congress is in full swing in Barcelona this week, one of the biggest events of the year for the mobile industry. I love Barcelona, and am sad to miss MWC this year. There is something about the combination of the history and tradition of Barcelona past and the energy and innovation of Barcelona present, with all the attendees of MWC a punctuation mark. And there is always something new, companies with something to say.

    Microsoft is no exception. On Sunday afternoon, we hosted a press conference where we reinforced the momentum we’re seeing for Windows Phone – the fastest growing mobile OS with 91 percent year-over-year growth. We announced we’re working with nine new Windows Phone hardware partners , including Foxconn, Gionee, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE as well as a collaboration with Qualcomm to help more manufacturers build Windows Phones faster. You can read Joe Belfiore’s blog post [see also below] from yesterday for more details.

    Nokia held its press conference earlier Monday. They announced a number of new devices from their Mobile Phone division including Nokia X, which will compete with Android devices in the affordable smartphone category and introduce the Microsoft cloud to a new set of customers in growth markets.

    There’s been lots of speculation about what this announcement means for Microsoft and about our pending acquisition of Nokia’s Devices and Services business. Here are a couple of points to put things into context.

    First, our transaction with Nokia has not yet closed. Today, we operate as two independent companies as required by antitrust law, and we will until the acquisition is complete. The anticipated close timeframe for the acquisition remains end of the first quarter of 2014.

    Second, we’re pleased to see Microsoft services like Skype, OneDrive and Outlook.com being introduced on these devices. This provides the opportunity to bring millions of people, particularly in growth markets, into the Microsoft family. The Skype team on Monday announced an offer in select markets for the first customers who purchase a Nokia X, one month of Skype’s Unlimited World Subscription. Read the Skype blog for more details.

    Finally, our primary smartphone strategy remains Windows Phone, and our core device platform for developers is the Windows platform.

    It is a fascinating time in the industry today. The rate of improvements in devices, the breadth of services offered, the way consumers and businesses are using devices of all shapes and sizes to do more – it is a reminder to all of us that what is considered status quo in Barcelona this year has the potential to look very different in the rear view mirror a year from now.

    We’d have it no other way. 🙂

    Microsoft adds nine new Windows Phone hardware partners [press release, Feb 23, 2014]

    New hardware partners and tools will accelerate global scale.

    Microsoft Corp. on Sunday announced nine new hardware partners for Windows Phone and direct access to tools that will broaden the portfolio of devices for consumers and introduce new price points to accelerate growth in key markets. In addition to existing partnersNokia, Samsung, HTC and Huawei — Microsoft has announced it is now working with Foxconn, Gionee, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer, JSR, Karbonn and ZTE to develop on the Windows Phone platform.

    With this latest news, Microsoft is now working with seven of the top 10 smartphone manufacturers in the world in addition to leading brands in China, India and Taiwan, representing more than 56 percent of the addressable market globally (IDC Worldwide Mobile Phone Tracker, 2013). Customers can expect to see an even broader array of devices, from iconic to lower-cost options, coming to market.

    “We are pleased to add these new partners to our expanding Windows Phone ecosystem. They will be key contributors to continued growth across price points and geographies for Windows Phone,” said Nick Parker, corporate vice president of the OEM Division at Microsoft.

    Windows Phone is the fastest-growing smartphone operating system, according to IDC, and posted the largest increase for 2013 (90.9 percent), more than doubling the growth of the overall market during the year.

    Microsoft also unveiled expanded hardware support that provides more flexibility so Windows Phone partners can build devices to meet the unique needs of their region or customer segments. Microsoft is adding support for Qualcomm Snapdragon™ 200 and 400 processors by Qualcomm Technologies Inc. with options that support various major cellular technologies, including LTE (TDD/FDD), HSPA+, EVDO and TD-SCMA. Windows Phone will also support soft keys and dual SIM, critical requirements particularly in Asian markets. These changes allow for manufacturing partners to easily leverage existing design investments to diversify their portfolio to include Windows Phone devices, including larger screen phablets.

    On Sunday, Microsoft launched the Windows Hardware Partner Portal, which is designed to speed up device commercialization while minimizing development costs. Speed and economies are especially important for manufacturers needing to compete and win in the dynamic high-volume smartphone segment. The Windows Hardware Partner Portal is now open to all smartphone device manufacturers to learn about and begin the process to develop on the Windows Phone platform. Windows Phone device manufacturers will also be able to leverage the great services Microsoft has to offer in that market, which could include Office Mobile, Skype, Xbox and Bing; a growing app catalog; and features like Live Tiles and People Hub, which make Windows Phone so uniquely personal.

    To further help enable smartphone device manufacturers to quickly and easily broaden their portfolio to include Windows Phone devices, Microsoft and Qualcomm Technologies are collaborating to give OEMs and ODMs that are working with the various Qualcomm Reference Designs for Snapdragon 200 and 400 processors direct access to Microsoft tools, content and adaptation kits to build devices on the Windows Phone platform. With Microsoft and Qualcomm Technologies, through its Qualcomm Reference Design program, delivering the building blocks to help design and build Windows Phones, Microsoft hardware partners will be able to focus on differentiating their offering based on apps and services. Device manufacturers will now be able to choose from hundreds of ways to customize their Windows Phone devices while keeping the consistently high-quality experience that the Windows Phone platform provides.

    “We are making it easier, faster and more affordable for partners to develop a Windows Phone,” Parker said.

    The well-established Qualcomm Reference Design program offers Qualcomm Technologies’ leading technical innovation, differentiated hardware and software, easy customization options that save engineering costs, access to an ecosystem of hardware providers, and testing and acceptance readiness for regional and leading operator requirements.

    The expanded Windows Phone ecosystem will also provide mobile operators and retail partners with additional opportunities to offer white-label Windows Phone devices under their own brands. Mobile operators will also have more options to build custom apps and services for their Windows Phone devices that increase customer satisfaction, retention rates and revenue streams.

    Scaling Windows Phone, evolving Windows 8 [Windows Phone Blog, Feb 23, 2014]

    The following post is from Joe Belfiore, Corporate Vice President of corporate vice president of Windows Phone and Windows Program Management & Design at Microsoft.


    A lot of you folks know me as “the Windows Phone guy.” Over the past five years I’ve been co-managing the Windows Phone product team on a mission to make Windows Phone a delightful and successful platform. Recently my job changed to focus not just on Windows Phone but also on the user experience of Windows 8 and future versions of Windows. Today Nick Parker and I had a chance to talk to media and analysts from around the world attending Mobile World Congress in Barcelona—we shared some updates about Windows and Windows Phone, and we announced a new phase in our plan to continue growing and scaling Windows Phone globally.

    Let’s start with Windows Phone.

    We’ve experienced steady growth in recent years due to our “highly personal” approach to the smartphone experience and the amazing devices we’ve seen from our hardware partners HTC, Huawei, Nokia and Samsung. Together we’ve solidified our spot among the top three operating systems and celebrated some impressive milestones:

    • Recognized as the fastest growing OS with 91% year-over-year growth in 2013 (IDC, February 2014)
    • More than 10% share across Europe—which is more than double compared with last year. (Kantar Worldpanel ComTech, January 2014)
    • Most important to me, we’ve seen high customer satisfaction data—a fact that even our competitors have acknowledged!
    • Reached critical mass in the Windows Phone Store (now over 240,000 apps) and are still growing – fast – with an average of 500 apps added each day. We’ve had key additions such as Instagram, Vine, Waze and Mint—and today, we announced Facebook Messenger will be available in the coming weeks.

    This past year was especially busy as we delivered three updates to the Windows Phone platform—we continued building the platform out for scale (via new chipsets, new carrier/country support, and more screen sizes) and we enabled some great scenarios for customers (e.g. the Nokia Lumia 41 MP camera and advanced camera features).

    New Windows Phone Hardware Partners

    Broadly speaking, our partners overall are the engine of growth for Windows. In addition to our great partners HTC, Huawei, Nokia and Samsung, today in Barcelona we announced we’re now working with nine new Windows Phone partners, including: Foxconn, Gionee, JSR, Karbonn, Lava (Xolo), Lenovo, LG, Longcheer and ZTE. Collectively, Windows Phone partners make up an impressive 56 percent of the global smartphone market, according to IDC.

    This is exciting news for phone buyers around the world. With seven of the top 10 global OEMs—in addition to some of the leading brands in China, India and Taiwan— now collaborating with Windows Phone, you can expect to see an incredible new range of devices across screen sizes and price points. And of course we’re committed to delivering this device diversity without compromising the consistent, designed-around-you Windows Phone experience our users have grown to love.

    Some of these partners are names that might not be familiar to you, but they’re leading the global expansion in the smartphone category. They bring competitive products to market because of their knowledge of the local markets, channels and consumers. They are important partners that will help broaden availability of Windows Phones to new and emerging markets.

    New Windows Phone Hardware Support

    Getting a wider range of device builders to create Windows Phones required us to enable even more hardware flexibility and to make the engineering process of building a Windows Phone even easier. Thus we also announced:

    • We are adding support for Qualcomm Snapdragon 200 and 400 series chipsets, with options that support all major cellular technologies, including LTE (TDD/FDD), HSPA+, EVDO and TD-SCMA. We will also support soft keys and dual SIM where our partners want it for their devices. One nice benefit of these additions is that many hardware vendors will be able to use the same hardware for both Android and Windows Phone devices.
    • To streamline the process of building a Windows Phone device, today we launched the Windows Hardware Partner Portal so that all our hardware partners will have direct access to the tools and content needed to build and market their Windows Phone devices efficiently and cost-effectively.

    We also are working closely with Qualcomm Technologies, Inc. to help manufacturers anywhere in the world quickly and easily broaden their portfolio by building Windows Phone devices through the well-established Qualcomm Reference Design (QRD) program. Making it easier for manufacturers to take advantage of reference design options is an important step for Windows Phone. ABI Research notes a major smartphone industry shift towards reference designs since they speed time to market, and estimates that more than 400 million reference design smartphones will be shipped in 2014.

    Evolving Windows 8

    As part of my “new job,” I talked as well about Windows on tablets and PCs, and what to expect from us in the near future.

    We are committed to making Windows the best place for our partners to build great devices. Today that means different screen sizes, input methods, connectivity needs, and usage scenarios. Above all, we want that experience to feel natural for our customers. We want it to be familiar and tailored to the device. We want your stuff to be there no matter where you are, ready for whatever you need, and we want it to run beautifully on hardware made by partners around the world.

    With Windows 8, there’s no doubt that we made a big bet and took a first step toward that future. We bet on touch and on mobility in a big way, and included a fresh take on what a touch-based interface could be for customers. We believe deeply in this direction and the future will continue to build on Windows 8.

    We shipped Windows 8.1 in under a year in response to customer and partner feedback, and we’ll continue to refine and improve Windows to deliver a productive and delightful experience for all users on all devices. And, you’ll see us continue on a more rapid release cadence where we deliver ongoing value to all your Windows devices.

    Over the next few months, we’ll continue to deliver innovation and progression with an update to Windows 8.1, coming this spring. We’re especially excited about several things I want to preview with you here.

    • We’ll enable our partners to build lower cost hardware for a great Windows experience at highly competitive price points.
    • We are making improvements to the user interface that will naturally bridge touch and desktop, especially for our mouse and keyboard users. We have a number of targeted UI improvements that keep our highly satisfying touch experience intact, but that make the UI more familiar and more convenient for users with mouse/keyboard. Don’t worry, we still LOVE and BELIEVE IN touch… but you’ll like how much more smooth and convenient these changes make mouse and keyboard use!
    • We are enhancing support for enterprise customers via a few tweaks, particularly including features that greatly improve IE8 compatibility in Internet Explorer 11, which is especially critical for web-based line of business applications. Additionally, we’re extending mobile device management capabilities and making deployment easier.

    More news still to come

    Speaking of our enterprise customers, we are also hard at work on delivering a compelling new update for Windows Phone that will add key features for consumers, as well as a big investment in enterprise customer capabilities, including VPN, S/MIME support, enterprise Wi-Fi, extended mobile device management and certificate management. Along with a host of great developer and consumer value, we expect to deliver this to customers this spring with new phones following as we move into summer.

    2013 was an exciting and busy year chock full of big changes in our industry and at Microsoft. I’m really excited about seeing what the new and hot technologies are as Mobile World Congress opens tomorrow, and even more excited about the work we’ll be able to deliver for customers, partners and developers over the next several months. Stay tuned!

    Q.&A. With Joe Belfiore on the Future of Windows Phone [Bits blog of The New York Times, Feb 23, 2014]

    Joe Belfiore is the corporate vice president of Microsoft Windows Phone, and he oversees the software that powers handsets using the company’s operating system. Microsoft is expected to close its $7.2 billion deal to buy the handset and services division of Nokia by the end of March. The acquisition will give Microsoft control of both mobile software and hardware, as it looks to expand its 4 percent market share in global smartphone sales. Mr. Belfiore will play a crucial role in Microsoft’s efforts to take on Apple and the cellphone makers that use Google’s Android operating system.

    On Sunday, Mr. Belfiore declined to comment on rumors that Nokia would unveil an Android-based phone on Monday at the Mobile World Congress conference in Barcelona. But during a news conference earlier in the day, he said, “What they do as an independent company is up to them. There are some things they do that we are excited about. There are other things that we are not so excited about.”

    The following is an edited interview with Mr. Belfiore on other questions facing Microsoft and Windows Mobile.

    Q. You have talked about 2013 being a year that Windows Phone had to eat its vegetables. What do you mean by that?

    A. We faced a massive problem. It would have been very difficult to create a range of devices for every operator at every price that included every app in the world. We decided to focus on building something at a limited set of price points in a small, limited number of countries. That’s what we did this year. We had to get that right. Now that we’ve done that, we want to get Windows Phone at more price levels and in more countries.

    Q. It’s difficult to attract users if you can’t offer them the apps that they want. But to get the apps, you need users. How do you solve that problem?

    A. There’s no magic solution. We have to grow phone volume where we can. To increase our market share, we have to be available where customers are at low-cost and high-end price points. The stage is now set. Given our hardware partners, and Microsoft and Nokia coming together, we are in a good position to kick-start our market share.

    Q. The Microsoft-Nokia acquisition is expected to close this quarter. What excites you about the deal?

    A. There are some straightforward benefits. We can build on our existing healthy engineering relationship between software and hardware. And when one company takes products to market, it can tell the story with one voice. That will be a benefit. The biggest problem we face is how to get the word out about what we do. Those marketing activities, the storytelling around our products, are underestimated.

    Q. When Microsoft closes the deal with Nokia, it will compete directly with other handset makers that also use the Windows Phone operating system. What is your response to that?

    A. We can help build the market for Windows Phones. When there’s a healthy ecosystem, there’s a sales opportunity for all our partners. There are some markets and some countries where Nokia already competes with other manufacturers. But there’s a large opportunity out there. There are niches that are partners will be able to fill.

    Q. Many of your recent partnerships and announcements have focused on emerging markets. Is that a major priority?

    A. It’s not our only focus, but it’s a very big one. The purpose of low-cost phones in emerging markets is to drive volume. But doing high-end products like the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 1020 also gives an aspirational view of the way the product line will go.

    Q. In a year’s time, where would you like the Windows Phone experience to be?

    A. A year from now, I would like to have widespread consumer knowledge of the type of value proposition that is available with Windows Phone. People who use the phones have a favorable experience with them. But we need to get the word out there.

    Q. Smartphones that use either Android or Apple’s iOS have almost 95 of the global market share. What is your response to analysts who say that Microsoft should give up on Windows Phone?

    A. We benefit from investing in mobile innovation. And we think we have a lot to offer our partners and customers. The mobile market will continue to grow, the opportunities will continue to grow. We are not going anywhere.

    Q. Microsoft has just appointed a new chief executive. How does Windows Phone fit into his vision?

    A. The way we’ve built our team and how we have approached innovation is massively focused on mobile first, cloud first. That’s very much aligned with the vision that he has outlined.

    Nokia’s “best of everything” X range smartphones to conquer the smartphone market between the Asha and Lumia devices

    Nokia X and X+ [Henrique Martin YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2014]

    Updates:
    NOKIA X DUAL SIM, Go! With Nokia X [Nokia India product page, March 10, 2014]

    … Starting from: Rs 8,599 [$140] …

    Nokia X Price in India – Buy Nokia X Black 4 GB Online [Flipkart.com, March 13, 2014]

    Rs. 9990 [$163] 18% OFF      Rs. 8175 [$133]  Inclusive of taxes (Free home delivery) …

    Nokia X Pre Orders: More Than 1 Million In Just 4 Days, in China [G for Games, March 14, 2014]

    image

    – Source from the above Weibo: Nokia X – Jingdong Mall [March 3, 2014]

    … RMB 599 [$97] … (RMB 699 [$114]) …

    End of Updates

    Stephen Elop interview at MWC 2014 [Myriam Joire YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2014]

    Yes, I got a chance to interview #Nokia’s Stephen Elop at #MWC2014… Enjoy!

    … OR how the market impetus noted as Nokia should introduce an Android forked smartphone for the $75-120 range in order to enhance its Asha Software Platform strategy [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Jan 17, 2014] has been met now
    … OR how and why Nokia segmented the mobile market better than everybody else (note also that: “our new Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL smartphones primarily for growth economies” and those products will not even be available in North America)
    To understand that see: Playback: Nokia’s MWC 2014 keynote in four minutes [The Verge YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2014]

    At Nokia’s last major press conference as an independent company, Stephen Elop took the stage to announce a shocker: the Nokia X, an Android-powered cellphone for the developing world. It’s a radical reinvention of Android, it’s colorful as can be, and it’s all here in just over four minutes.

    … OR how that is a very powerful answer from Nokia to the current mobile phones situation:

    … OR what are the incredible new developer advantages from Nokia to support that strategy:

    • multiple platforms from Asha, Nokia X and Lumia, which means list prices starting at EUR 45 [$62]*;
    • access to one of the largest mobile operator billing network in the world (in more than 60 markets and with more than 160 operators), which is a powerful revenue driver  (up to five times that of credit-card billing offered within other platforms);
    • ~75% of Android apps portable without code changes, while for the rest porting is supported in a way that it takes usually less than 8 hours

    … OR how the following points from View from Redmond via Tim O’Brien, GM, Platform Strategy at Microsoft [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Feb 21, 2014] are now getting a very powerful meaning:

    1. Consumers are now calling the shots <—> consumerization of IT”, i.e. enterprise computing is not ruling ICT alone any more, and as a result of BYOD the private, consumer devices are even dictating.
    2. Sales are not simple for developers anymore” Instead of the earlier uniform way of selling developers should use the most sophisticated approaches—think of the fremium, or advertisement based models as examples—in order to earn their revenue.
    3. The times of single platforms are gone, as developers own several platforms now

    Nokia X and XL hands-on with Nokia’s Jussi Makinen [SlashGear YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2014]

    My transcript (done because conveying unique information not available elsewhere):

    0:05 My name is Jussi Mäkinen and I’m working at the Nokia X range product marketing and I’m going to give you a demo of the new Nokia X range family.

    0:15 We have today introduced three new products. We have the Nokia X which is a device combining great Nokia design, Android applications with the power of Microsoft services like Skype. We have also introduced the Nokia X+ which is exactly same as Nokia X but with more memory, with 768 MB of internal memory, and then 4 GB of user memory for storing applications.

    0:41 Also we introduced the Nokia XL, a 5 inch screen Nokia XL that has great Nokia design, changeable covers, really stirdy kind of designer things, a lot of cool kind of things like beatings and holds ups for a long-long time. It also is a same thing, so Android applications that you can download from Nokia Store and many global and local app stores, and you have of course the Microsoft services like Skype, for example.

    1:11 The user interface is inspired by—I would say—three things. So we have taken the best out from the Windows Phone world. So the home screen with these tiles. For example I have a live imaging tile here that updates from time to time, and you have the great design that’s really kind of shows you great way that we can feed people into the Lumia ecosystem.

    1:33 We have taken from the Nokia Asha, we have taken the Fastlane [see in: New Asha platform and ecosystem to deliver a breakthrough category of affordable smartphone from Nokia [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, May 9, 2013] So this is inspired by not only Nokia Asha but also the Nokia N9, MeeGo. So we have the kind of Fastlane of all your favorite applications, so you can find your favorite applications faster. So it isn’t taking your time and gives you more freedom.

    1:51 Also from the Android you can see this way to access most-used settings from here like WiFi, Bluetooth and sound, and so on.

    2:00 So it’s really kind of —I would say—the best of everything.

    2:04 We have the power of Microsoft services, and here—for example—we have the swipe keyboard. So you can write very easily just by swiping. So we have taken that into account as well. The Microsoft services are of course first and foremost in this product. We have Skype, we have Outlook on that phone, then you can download more from different app stores, so this is really important for us.

    2:27 And again, one more user interface thing, just a small thing we have taken again from Asha, is the contextual menu that you can access inside applications.

    2:37 So I would say that it’s really kind of best of all worlds: taking that great Nokia design that built to last, and Android applications with power of Microsoft services.

    2:47 I’ve been working on this product now for one a half year on the product development side, and it’s a kind of really there has been a kind of opening for this product. Not only in a way [of being] in the right price point between Lumia and Asha, but also in the consumer mindset. When we have done consumer research everybody has been saying, or I’ve been asking people all around the world like: “What is the feature that you want to have in your Asha?” And people have been saying that “We want Android”. And this is exactly what we were doing here. Giving people what they want.

    3:19 And I think we’ve positioned that with Nokia and with Microsoft uniquely in order to do this, unlike any other company out there.

    From Nokia connects the next billion with affordable smartphones [press release, Feb 24, 2014]

    Stephen Elop, executive vice president of Nokia’s Devices & Services, commented on the launches:
    “Nokia has connected billions of people around the world, and today we demonstrated how our portfolio is designed to connect the next billion people to great experiences.”

    “Our deliberate approach is to offer four tiers of products including our affordable entry-level devices like the new Nokia 220; our entry-level Asha touch phones like the new Nokia Asha 230; our new Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL smartphones primarily for growth economies; and our Lumia portfolio, which is where we introduce the greatest innovation and provide full compatibility with the Microsoft experience,” he added.

    Nokia X family delivers the best of all worlds

    The Nokia X family features Nokia’s renowned handset quality and design, with a fresh, tile-based user interface inspired by our Lumia family. All devices come with Fastlane, a screen which lets people switch between their favorite apps more smoothly. People can access curated, quality-tested apps from Nokia Store, more than a dozen third-party app stores and by sideloading. Out of the box, they can enjoy signature Nokia experiences including free* HERE Maps, with true offline maps and integrated turn-by-turn navigation, and Nokia MixRadio for free* music streaming and downloadable playlists. All devices are also pre-loaded with a variety of third-party apps and games.

    The Nokia X family is also an affordable introduction to popular Microsoft services, including free* cloud storage using OneDrive. With the purchase of any Nokia X family smartphone in select markets, people will get one month of Skype’s Unlimited World Subscription for a limited time, ideal to make international calls to landlines in more than 60 countries and to mobile phones in 8 countries.

    The first device, the Nokia X, comes with a 4″ IPS capacitive display and 3MP camera. The Nokia X+ is optimised for multimedia enthusiasts, who can enjoy even more games, music, photos and video thanks to more memory and storage. Both the Nokia X and Nokia X+ will be available in bright green, bright red, cyan, yellow, black and white**. The third family member, the Nokia XL, boasts a 5″ display with 2MP front-facing camera – ideal for Skype video calls – and a 5MP rear-facing, autofocus camera with flash. The Nokia XL will be available in bright green, orange, cyan, yellow, black and white. The entire Nokia X family is powered by the Qualcomm® Snapdragon(TM) dual core processor and supports Dual SIM, letting people switch SIM cards to get better tariffs.

    The Nokia X will go on sale immediately, starting at EUR 89 [$122]* and rolling-out in Asia-Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle East and Africa [i.e. NOT in North-America]. The Nokia X+ and Nokia XL are expected to roll out in these markets starting early second quarter, priced at EUR 99 [$136] and EUR 109 [$150], respectively.

    * All prices are suggested retail before local taxes and subsidies. Actual in-market prices may vary.

    Porting on Nokia X [nokiadevforum YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2014]

    Developers who have been working with Nokia X have great things to say about it. 75% of Android apps will run on Nokia X software platform without any modifications. Bottom line – porting Android apps to Nokia X is easy!
      • The entire process – from downloading SDKs and porting, to integrating Nokia HERE in place of Google Maps – has been seamless. Satyajeet Singh, VP Products, Zomato
      • The API analyzer made it very simple to identify the areas of change, making app portability even simpler. Vinodkumar Putta, Team Lead, Zomato
      • Nokia X services API documentation is fabulous and helped me port my app in a few hours. Pedro Monteiro Kayatt, Lead Developer, Naked Monkey
      • Porting our apps to Nokia X was a very pleasant experience due to in-app billing and push notification APIs being compatible with Google’s architecture. Marko Štamcar, Senior Android Developer, Outfit7
      • From a development perspective it’s not going to cost you anything and it just take you a few hours to do. Samuel Forrest, VP of Business Development, PICSART

    Nokia X is ready for your Android Apps! [Nokia Developer Blog News, Feb 24, 2014]

    We’re happy to announce that Nokia X is now ready for your apps!

    Nokia X is a new developer platform made to run Android apps, including yours. It’s an easy, risk-free way to turn your Android app on to a whole new user base without adding to your code base.

    We’re excited to be able to deliver your Android applications on Nokia X smartphones. If you’re as ready as we are, head over to Nokia Publish now to get started—it should only take a few minutes to test and submit your app. (Note that if your app uses Google Cloud Messaging, Google Maps, or Google In-App Billing, you will need to migrate to our APIs[ link] for those services.)

    If you want to learn more before jumping in, check out five simple reasons why you should publish your Android app to Nokia Store now.

    Five reasons to publish your Android App to Nokia Store [Nokia Developer Blog News, Feb 24, 2014]

    1. Nokia X opens new markets to your existing apps
      Nokia’s sales leadership and brand strength in the fastest growing smartphoneand mobile app markets provide the launchpad for your apps’ success. With Nokia X, you can reach an untapped pool of savvy – and app-hungry — new smartphone users around the world.
      Learn more …
    2. Nokia X’s monetization tools create additional revenue streams for your apps
      Monetization tools like Nokia In-App Payment, combined with Nokia’s extensive operator billing network, provide your existing apps with new monetization mechanisms in emerging markets. Consumers in many high growth markets do not have international credit cards, making revenue collection a challenge. Nokia X leverages Nokia’s wide operator billing coverage, which extends to over 3 billion mobile subscribers, with over 160 operators in more than 60 markets. Operator billing has been shown to deliver up to a 5x increase in revenues and a 10x increase in purchases over credit-card billing in the Nokia X targeted markets, meaning more revenues opportunities for your apps.
      Learn more …
    3. Android app compatibility
      Nokia has tested over 100.000 Android apps and approximately 75% are directly compatible and ready to be published to Nokia Store. If your app uses Google services for maps, push notifications or in-app payments, you will need to replace these APIs with Nokia specific APIs that have been built to work almost identically to those they replace. Nokia services have been designed to minimize porting effort from apps using corresponding Google services and allow developers develop and distribute a single app package targeting both ecosystems.
      Learn more …
    4. Develop apps for Nokia X using your existing Android SDK, toolkit and skillset
      If you already develop Android apps, you can continue to use your existing tool chain. Nokia provides a plugin package to the Android SDK, including the services APIs and the Nokia X emulator.You’ve already got the other tools and skills you need.
      Learn more …
    5. Nokia Developer programs provide the marketing and technical support you need
      Through programs like DVLUP, Nokia Developer Offers and local outreach, Nokia offers you opportunities to promote your apps to new users and potential customers, while our online training, events and support tools make sure you’re putting your best app forward.
      Learn more …

    Nokia X Platform overview [Nokia Developer, Feb 24, 2014]

    image

    Nokia X is a customized platform built on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), the software stack upon which some of the most popular smartphones in the world are based. Nokia X lets you leverage your existing Android apps, while taking advantage of Nokia’s optimizations to help you grab more downloads and generate more revenues in targeted markets.

    Ready to start porting your apps? Get started ›     Download the plugin ›

    Will your Android app work on Nokia X?

    Nokia Store testing has shown that approximately 75% of Android apps will run properly without any modifications; they’re ready to be published in Nokia Store.

    Develop and distribute a single APK targeting multiple stores.

    If your app uses Google services for push notifications, maps or in-app payments, you’ll need to make a few changes, but it won’t take long (usually less than 8 hours). Nokia services have been designed to minimize porting effort from apps using corresponding Google services and allow developers develop and distribute a single APK targeting multiple stores.

    Test your app’s compatibility ›

    Nokia X platform details

    The core Nokia X platform is built on AOSP v4.1.2 [Jelly Bean], which supports API level 16. On top of this, Nokia has added several enhancements to improve both the user experience and the developer experience:

    Nokia service APIs

    Distribution and billing

    UX elements

    Nokia In-App Payment  ›
    HERE Maps  ›
    Nokia Notifications  ›

    Distribution in Nokia Store  ›
    Payment with Operator billing  ›

    Design overview ›
    Design essentials ›
    Nokia X icon toolkit ›

    Nokia X app development uses a plugin to the Android SDK, so it will be familiar to developers who have used the Android SDK before. The Nokia X services SDK includes support for emulating Nokia X devices for testing and debugging.

    Download the Nokia X services SDK ›

    First hands-on with the Nokia X family [Nokia YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2014]

    Introducing the new Nokia X family of devices – the Nokia X, X+ and XL. The Nokia X smartphone family combine Nokia design, build quality and gives you access to the world of Android apps, benefits from signature Nokia experiences including MixRadio and HERE maps, and offers an introduction to Microsoft’s most popular services such as Skype, OneDrive and Outlook.com. Read more: http://conversations.nokia.com

    The above video has been expanded in XTRAORDINARILY XCELLENT: THE NOKIA X FAMILY [Nokia Conversations, Feb 24, 2014] by the following information:

     Today Nokia introduces a brand new family of smartphones, the Nokia X family, a range of handsets that combines Nokia design, build quality and services with the ability to run Android apps.

    The first three phones in the family – the Nokia X, X+ and XL – are priced between the existing Asha and Lumia lines, at €89 [$122], €99 [$136] and €109 [$150] respectively, to appeal to new smartphone users looking for popular apps and their first cloud services.

    The X family boasts Nokia’s exciting, high quality hardware design and a range of bright colours. The brand new, tile-based Home screen offers you a simple, elegant way to manage your apps and phone functions and also reintroduces a redesigned version of the enormously popular Fastlane notifications centre – a second Home screen if you like – from the latest Asha devices.

    My insert here: The new Nokia X family – Your Fastlane to Android™ apps [Nokia YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2014]

    Meet the new Nokia X family of affordable smartphones. The Nokia X, X+ and XL give you access to the world of AndroidTM apps:http://nokia.com/nokiaXrange

    image

    My insert here: Nokia X – Life in the Fastlane [Nokia YouTube channel, Feb 24, 2014]

    Xciting services bring a smile

    The Nokia X family offers terrific value with acclaimed Nokia and Microsoft services and experiences. HERE Maps with turn-by-turn navigation and offline maps are included. Nokia MixRadio offers hundreds of free streaming and offline playlists. Free cloud storage from Microsoft OneDrive with 7GB of space for free is included out of the box. There’s also access to Outlook.com as your email service. And there’s Skype with a month’s free calls to international landlines in selected markets.

    All three of the devices are powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon Dual Core processor and are Dual SIM. A range of third-party apps comes preinstalled, including BBM, Plants vs. Zombies 2, Viber, Vine and Twitter. As many more as you can fit can be obtained from the Nokia Store, third-party app stores and sideloaded.

    image

    Xtreme family resemblance

    The table below covers the differences between the devices, but these are the highlights:

    • The Nokia X is the entry level member of the family, with 4-inch IPS LCD screen, 512MB RAM and a 3-megapixel camera. It will be available in green, black, white, yellow, cyan and red.
    • The Nokia X+ offers you a little more, as the name suggests: there’s 768MB RAM and a 4GB MicroSD card is included in the box. It comes in the same colours as the Nokia X.
    • Lastly, the clue is in the name for the Nokia XL, as well, with its 5-inch screen. The Nokia XL also boasts 768MB RAM, the free MicroSD card and it has both a 2-megapixel front-facing camera for Skype calls, as well as a 5-megapixel rear camera with autofocus and flash. The same colours are available as for the Nokia X and X+, except bright orange replaces the red with this model.

    image

    Check the speX

    Nokia X

    Nokia X+

    Nokia XL

    Screen

    4-inch IPS LCD, 800 x 480px

    4-inch IPS LCD, 800 x 480px

    5-inch IPS LCD, 800 x 480px

    RAM

    512MB

    768MB

    768MB

    Storage

    Up to 32GB
    MicroSD

    Up to 32GB
    MicroSD; 4GB card included

    Up to 32GB
    MicroSD; 4GB card included

    Rear camera

    3-megapixel fixed focus

    3-megapixel fixed focus

    5-megapixel with autofocus and flash

    Front camera

    2-megapixel

    Processor

    8225 Qualcomm Snapdragon

    1GHz Dual Core

    8225 Qualcomm Snapdragon

    1GHz Dual Core

    8225 Qualcomm Snapdragon

    1GHz Dual Core

    Networks

    ESGM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

    WCDMA 900 / 2100

    ESGM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

    WCDMA 900 / 2100

    ESGM 850 / 900 / 1800 / 1900

    WCDMA 900 / 2100

    Dimensions

    115.5 x 63 x 10.4mm

    115.5 x 63 x 10.4mm

    141.3 x 77.7 x 10.8mm

    Weight

    128.66g

    128.66g

    190g

    Standby time

    2G = Up to 28.5 days

    3G = Up to 22 days

    2G = Up to 28.5 days

    3G = Up to 22 days

    2G = Up to 41 days

    3G = Up to 26 days

    Talk time

    2G = Up to 13.3 hours

    3G = Up to 10.5 hours

    2G = Up to 13.3 hours

    3G = Up to 10.5 hours

    2G = Up to 16 hours

    3G = Up to 13 hours

    The Nokia X will be available to buy immediately in Asia Pacific, Europe, India, Latin America, the Middle-East and Africa [i.e. NOT in North-America]. The Nokia X+ and XL are expected to be available from Q2 2014. The prices quoted do not include any local taxes or operator subsidies.

    image

    We’ll be bringing more details and interviews with the Xperts on the new Nokia X family over the next few days. But let us know your first impressions below.

    Note 1: The 8225 Qualcomm Snapdragon 1GHz Dual Core is based on 45nm Cortex-A5 cores and corresponds to the previous Snapdragon tiering which was upto Qualcomm decided to compete with the existing Cortex-A5/Krait-based offerings till the end of 2012 [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, Sept 30, 2012] in which it was described as follows:


    From the announcement point of view the [MSM]8225 was launched by Qualcomm Brings Snapdragon S4 Processors to High Volume Smartphones and Expands Qualcomm Reference Design Development Platform and Ecosystem Program [press release, Dec 8, 2011] in which it was declared that:

    The MSM8625 and MSM8225 chipsets will be available on Qualcomm’s third generation QRD development platform in the first half of 2012, in addition to being available as standalone chipsets. QRD development platforms based on both the MSM7x27A and MSM7x25A chipsets [the previous entry level from Qualcomm] are currently available. Qualcomm has shipped over 100 million MSM7225 and MSM7227 chipsets [the preceding even to those “A” chipsets entry level from Qualcomm], and smartphones based on these chipsets are operating on multiple carrier networks worldwide.

    Note 2: The hardware is therefore quite similar to HTC Desire X [Qualcomm Developer Network, Aug 30, 2012]

    Manufacturer:

    HTC

    Name:

    Desire X

    Model:

    HTC Desire X

    CPU:

    Qualcomm MSM8225 snapdragon

    CPU Clock:

    1000

    GPU:

    Adreno 203

    Platform OS:

    Android 4.0.4

    Operators:

    Unlocked

    Date announced:

    8/30/12

    Date available:

    10/8/12

    ROM Capacity:

    4GB

    RAM Capacity:

    768MB

    Display type:

    Super LCD capacitative touchscreen

    Display Resolution:

    480×800

    Primary camera:

    5 megapixels

    Secondary camera:

    None

    Connectivity:

    GPRS, EDGE, 3G, WLAN, USB, Bluetooth 4.0

    Sensors:

    Accelerometer, Compass

    Stand-by (GSM):

    Up to 750 hours
    [31 days]

    Talk Time (GSM):

    Up to 6 hours

    For the less familiar heritage of the Nokia X range watch Nokia N9 [Meego] UI hands-on demo [NokiaConversations YouTube channel, June 20, 2011]

    Nokia Marketing Manager Jussi Mäkinen walks us thru Nokia N9. Nokia N9 is designed around the things people typically use the most. Read more on Nokia N9: http://conversations.nokia.com/2011/06/21/introducing-the-nokia-n9-all-it-takes-is-a-swipe/

    For more information on that see: Nokia N9 UX [?Swipe?] on MeeGo 1.2 Harmattan [‘Experiencing the Cloud’, June 24, 2011 – Aug 10, 2012]

    Nokia welcomes Android developers; expands global developer footprint with momentum across Lumia and Asha [press release, Feb 24, 2014]

    News at-a-glance:

    • New Nokia X software platform opens fast-growing segment to Android(TM) developers to monetize and expand the reach of their apps.

    • Nokia’s market-leading operator billing network powers in-app purchases, gives developers global reach.

    • Leading apps available for Nokia X devices include BBM, Facebook, LINE, Skype and Twitter.

    • Nokia Lumia momentum continues with addition of BBM, Adobe Photoshop Express and Facebook Messenger.

    • Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1, with powerful editing features, now available for Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.1 tablets and PCs.

    Barcelona, Spain – Today at Mobile World Congress, Nokia unveiled five new affordable handsets including a new family of smartphones debuting on the Nokia X software platform. Based on the Android Open Source Project (AOSP), and backed by Nokia’s deep ties with operators, the Nokia X platform gives Android(TM) developers the chance to tap into, and profit from, a rapidly expanding part of the market. The launch builds on Nokia’s leadership in delivering innovation to more price points with its family of Lumia smartphones, and the latest momentum for Windows Phone.

    “Today Windows Phone is the fastest growing mobile ecosystem in the world, and we continue to see incredible momentum with our Lumia smartphones,” said Bryan Biniak, Vice President and General Manager, Developer Experience at Nokia. “Now, with the introduction of the Nokia X family of devices, we’re delivering the same design, quality and innovation Nokia is known to lower price points to capture the fastest-growing segment of the smartphone market.”

    Monetization, plus porting made easy

    With billing agreements in more than 60 markets and with more than 160 operators, Nokia provides developers with access to one of the largest mobile operator billing network in the world, offering the scale and global reach needed to successfully monetize their apps and generate higher revenues.

    “The reach of Nokia’s operator billing network provides developers with a powerful revenue driver – up to five times that of credit-card billing offered within other platforms,” said Amit Patel, Vice President, Developer Relations at Nokia. “Combined with Nokia In-App Payment, developers have the freedom to build on the model that works best for them.”

    The vast majority of Android apps can be published to the Nokia Store as is. For those that require modifications, the Nokia X analyzer tool significantly reduces porting time by identifying the required changes. To make porting even easier, developers only need to maintain one code base and distribute a single application package file (APK) to target multiple stores.

    At launch, leading global apps will be available for the Nokia X family of devices, including Facebook, LINE Free Voice and Messages, LINE Camera, LINE Bubble, Picsart, Plants vs. Zombies 2, Real Football 2014, Skype, Spotify, Swiftkey, Twitter, Viber, Vine and WeChat, among others. And in a first for Nokia customers around the world, BBM, a premier mobile messaging platform, will also be available on the Nokia X family of devices in addition to Windows Phone.

    “BBM continues to provide a best-in-class mobile messaging platform with productivity, collaboration and community-building as cornerstones,” said David Proulx, Senior Director, BBM at BlackBerry. “We continue to see great enthusiasm for the BBM experience around the globe and we are thrilled to work with Nokia to preload BBM on devices beginning with Nokia X in select markets. We welcome Nokia X users to the BBM community.”

    LINE’s partnership with a global player such as Nokia is indeed an honor. Delivering LINE on Nokia X represents our commitment of ensuring that people around the world will experience the joy of communication through LINE on Nokia X smartphones,” said Shin Jung-ho, CEO of LINE Plus Corporation. “We are pleased to announce that LINE will continuously offer a variety of features to Nokia X platform to enhance users’ exciting experience in communication, social sharing, imaging, and gaming.”

    Lumia momentum continues while developers embrace cross-platform opportunity across Nokia’s product portfolio

    Many partners such as Facebook, BBM, Twitter, LINE, Viber, Electronic Arts, Gameloft and Rovio are also making their key apps available across Nokia’s device portfolio of feature phones, Asha, Nokia X and Lumia.  Facebook Messenger, a fast, free and reliable way to stay in touch, will also be coming soon across Nokia’s four tiers of products. Global food delivery app, Foodpanda/hellofood, will also launch across the Nokia Asha, Lumia and X family of devices.

    Developer innovation on Nokia Lumia continues, which reflects Windows Phone’s status as the fastest-growing mobile ecosystem in the world. Today, Nokia also announced that leading partners, including Adobe Photoshop Express, Facetune and JUSP will soon launch for Windows Phone – joining other must-have apps and games including Instagram, Vine, Grand Theft Auto: San Andreas and Subway Surfers, among others that have recently launched.

    Adobe’s Photoshop Express app, already available on Windows 8, is coming to Windows Phone later this year to allow consumers to edit easily across Windows PCs, tablets and smartphones. European mobile payment provider JUSP will launch across Windows PCs, tablets and smartphones in the coming weeks, while Facetune will soon let users create high-end portraits from everyday photos with intuitive and powerful tools previously reserved for the pros.

    “In a world of mobile development, speed and time-to-market is of the utmost importance,” said Biniak. “At Nokia, we’re focused on helping developers accelerate the development process across platforms, while also providing access to the latest innovation and tools to help them focus on what they do best – creating the next great app.”

    Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1 now for Windows

    Built on the technology that powers Nokia’s own imaging apps like Nokia Storyteller and Nokia Camera, Nokia introduces a key update to the latest Nokia Imaging SDK – version 1.1. Nokia’s Imaging SDK 1.1 brings powerful image editing features to Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8.1 tablets and PCs. Developers can now utilize the capabilities of the SDK to deliver a converged Windows app experience across any Windows Phone 8 device, such as the Lumia 1020 and 1520, as well as the Nokia Lumia 2520 tablet.

    The Nokia Imaging SDK 1.1 is available today at developer.nokia.com.

    Also starting today, the Imagin8 Mission competition further encourages developers registered with DVLUP to create innovative imaging apps. Among many prizes, the developer of the best new or updated app will win a trip to experience zero gravity with the ZERO-G Corporation. More information at developer.nokia.com/imagin8.

    Nokia Developer Exchange Marketplace

    Nokia now offers premium merchandising slots in 181 countries to its key partners through the Nokia Developer Exchange Marketplace. This new offer represents an expansion of the Campaign feature introduced in October 2013 for DVLUP, Nokia’s rewards program for developers. Inaugural partners participating in the exchange include Electronic Arts, Gameloft, AE Mobile, Miniclip and Outfit7.

    “Even in digital, selling is all about ‘location, location, location,'” said Daniel Morel, Chairman and CEO, Wunderman. “With Nokia Developer Exchange Marketplace, developers have access to prime real estate for their apps, they can leverage performance metrics and do so much more. It’s a big step forward.”

    “Nokia Developer Exchange Marketplace is an exciting new proposition,” said Sam Browne, Managing Partner of Carat Global, the number one-ranked agency network in the world. “Nokia’s investment illustrates ongoing intent to build, support, and cooperate with the developer community. Partners will have unique access to a range of valuable media properties, with a proven capability to deliver high consumer reach, and the opportunity of app distribution growth. Both large and small partners can view this as a significant new marketing asset.”