Monday, February 24, 2014

Nokia XL hands-on

The Nokia showroom floor at the MWC 2014 is chock full of people eager to see Android running on Nokia hardware. We’ve managed to get cozy with the Nokia XL for a minute and we’re now going to tell you all about it.

The Nokia XL features a 5″ IPS LCD display of WVGA resolution and it’s bad at all even though we’re used to seeing FullHD resolution on this sort of screen sizes.

At €109 it’s a cheap phone to begin with, so we weren’t expecting that much, but the screen’s colors are nice even though contrast isn’t that great. As you’ll see from the live Nokia XL photos below, it gets covered in fingerprint smudges very easily.

As far as the Android experience on the Nokia XL, it’s very fluid and smooth. The phone runs a version of Jelly Bean as far as we could tell, but no one specified which one. The 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 chipset does a good job of opening and running apps as well as switching between them.

Nokia has also included a bunch of its Lumia apps on the XL including its Store, Camera, Mix Radio and HERE Maps. Microsoft’s presence is also felt with the addition of Skype and OneCloud apps. Speaking of which, XL users will get 10GB of free OneCloud storage as well as 1 month free of Skype Premium. Speaking of goodies, Nokia also includes a 4GB microSD card in the XL’s package.

The Nokia XL features a plastic build with an exclusive color, which the X and X+ don’t get – bright orange. It feels very nice to the touch, similar to the Nokia Asha 501 and Lumia 1320.

Nokia XL live photos

At the back of the phone, there’s a 5MP snapper with LED flash. As you can see from the photos, there’s a large physical key below the display, which acts like a Home/back button. The user interface is overly simple, too, with two main screens – the app list screen and the Fastlane UI.

The app list is reminiscent of the home screen of the Windows Phone 8 UI and features app tiles, which can be resized. The larger the tile, the more information it displays. For example, expanding the People’s tile will display your favorite contacts, while the Gallery will display the latest photos you’ve snapped.

Nokia XL live photos

Check out the Nokia XL in action in our hands-on video below.

Nokia 220 and Asha 230 hands-on

Nokia made the most headlines with the Android-powered X line of devices (X, X+ and XL) but did push the boundaries of affordability with the Nokia 220 and Asha 230. Both feature dual-SIM versions as well.

We got to spend some quality time with the 220 and Asha 230. The 220 starts at an insanely-low €29 while the Asha 230 starts at €45. Both devices we handled at the Mobile World Congress were yellow in color. Jump after the break for the impressions and images.
Nokia Asha 230

The Asha 230 is a full-touch operated device – even the back button is capacitive. There are physical unlock and volume keys too. It has a 2.8″ of the same QVGA (320 x 240) resolution and clocks in at 142 pixels per inch. The Asha 230 includes Nokia’s Glance screen tech, a slap in the face of the Lumia 520, which lacks it. The Nokia 220 has a 2 MP camera on the back.

The plastics used in the Asha 230 feel even lesser in quality compared to the Nokia 220. The Asha 230 is heftier at 89.3 g.

Nokia Asha 230

The screen looks okay at these parameters. Asha’s UI operation is a little stuttery probably due to the lower-end specs.

Nokia Asha 230

The Asha 230 comes with a 1020 mAh battery that’s good for 33 days of stand by time according to Nokia. Talk time over 2G is rated at 11 hours. To complete the tally there’s a 1.3 MP camera on board.
Nokia Asha 220

The Nokia 220 is a non-touch device which focuses on the bare essentials in order to accommodate the €29 price tag. The 220 comes with only 2G connectivity, skipping even Wi-Fi along the way. It does, however, feature preinstalled Twitter and Facebook. The plastic used in the 220 isn’t the best but feels okay to the touch.

Nokia 220

At this price point we can’t really expect miracles, the phone is very thick at 13.2 mm for starters. The UI is fluid enough and the buttons are good and those not enamored with touch-operation will love the full numpad. The 2.4″ QVGA LCD offers an unimpressive 166 ppi but has good colors. The 220 weighs a manageable 83.6 g.

Nokia 220

The Nokia 220 is available starting today while the Asha 230 will hit the first wave of shelves in March.

Nokia X family official videos are out

Nokia’s X family of Android smartphones are headlining today’s morning at the MWC 2014. To get people more familiar with the X, X+ and XL, the Finns have launched an official hands-on video where the company details the most important features of the phones.

The trio of Nokia X smartphones are built on top of the Android Open Source Project (AOSP) and feature an interface similar to the Windows Phone 8 one. There’s Nokia Glance Screen, which gives you information of the time and pending notifications without the need to unlock the phone.

As you’ll see on the video, Nokia X, which will be available in six colors, runs Android like a champ and everything runs quite well. However, don’t expect to see anything Google on it, as Nokia and Microsoft have preloaded Skype, OneCloud, Nokia HERE Maps.

The Nokia X+ boasts more RAM than the Nokia X and as a result, the user interface runs a bit smoother. Nokia’s task switcher is based on cards that stack on top of one another, so its easy to switch between apps.

Finally, the Nokia XL with its 5″ WVGA display is the largest of the lot. At the back, it packs an 5MP camera with LED flash. Nokia boasts the phones as super affordable starting at €89, €99, €109 for the Nokia X, Nokia X+ and Nokia XL, respectively.

Check out their performance on camera below.
Also, here’s a couple of Nokia X advertisements to get you even more excited.

Nokia to bring its second major update to Asha lineup soon

Live from the MWC 2014, Nokia’s CEO, Stephen Elop, has announced that the Nokia Asha family of devices is about to get treated to another major update, which will bring Microsoft’s OneDrive service and free streaming Mix Radio.

The update will be available for all Asha devices, even those released last year.

Stephen Elop says this is the second major update to the Asha platform and didn’t miss mentioning that this attention to detail is missing in rivals at this price point.

BBM coming to Nokia Lumia [Update: And Nokia X]

Nokia has taken to the stage at the MWC 2014 and the announcements are coming in thick and fast. One of the first announcements is some new apps for the Lumia platform, including BBM for Lumia.

BBM or BlackBerry Messenger has traditionally been limited to BlackBerry devices until it was made available on iOS and Android last year. Now BBM will also be available on Lumia devices, bringing it to an even wider audience. The app will be available ‘in the coming months’.

Update: BBM will also be available on the new Nokia X series phones, but that is not that big a deal since BlackBerry already has an Android app.


Android-powered Nokia XL is official, costs €109

Much to everyone's surprise, Nokia announced a third addition to the Nokia X family - the 5" Nokia XL.

The phone is made of plastic and at the back there's a 5MP snapper with LED flash. At the front, there's a 2MP camera perfect for Skype calls.

The Nokia XL+ is powered by a 1GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 chipset with 768MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage, which is expandable via the on-board microSD card slot (up to 32GB).

Nokia also throws in 1-month free of Skype premium for every Nokia X-family customer. Users will also get 10GB of free storage to the OneDrive cloud service for storing their files online.

The Nokia XL will be available in early Q2 for €109. The phone will start making its debut in growing markets, but Stephen Elop didn't specify which ones.

Nokia announces Android running Nokia X and Nokia X+

Nokia announced its first Android-app running smartphones - the Nokia X and Nokia X+. The phones pack a 4" LCD display and come with Nokia and Microsoft app preloaded.

The Nokia X, X+ and XL are powered by a 1GHz dual-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 8225 chipset with 512MB of RAM and 4GB of internal storage. Happily, it's expandable via the microSD card slot and supports up to 32GB cards.

The Nokia X and X+ feature a 4" 800x480 IPS LCD capacitive touch display making up for a pixel density of 233ppi. However, the Nokia X+ and XL get a bump in RAM to 768MB.

At the back of the Nokia X and X+, there's a 3MP fixed focus camera with both phones weighing 129 grams and pack 1500mAh battery. It's good for 10.5 hours of 3G talk time and have a maximum standby time of 17 days. Both phones are also capable of maximum music playback of up to 26 hours, while video playback is rated at 8.4 hours before the battery needs a recharge.

The Nokia X features the signature Nokia Glance Screen. A swipe to the right reveals a list of installed apps, and another one gets you to fastlane. You can reorganize the tiles similarly to Windows Phone 8 UI. They are resizable as well and the larger the tiles get, the more information they display.

Unsurprisingly, the phone doesn't have the Google Play Services installed, so the Play Store isn't available on the Nokia X or Nokia X+. However, Stephen Elop highlighted that users can take advantage of the Nokia store for Android apps as well as the popular Yandex Store.

Nokia's Asha 230 is the most affordable touch Asha

Nokia unveiled the Asha 230 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona - the device is a full-touch operated Asha, which will cost just €45.

The Asha 230 has WhatsApp preinstalled, a Swype keyboard, Nokia's Fastlane homescreen for easy access to calendar, to-do's and more.

The Asha 230 is the cheapest phone in the Asha range to date.

Nokia announces Nokia 220, costs just €29

Nokia 220 is the first device Nokia has unveiled at the MWC 2014. It's an incredibly cheap web-connected feature phone with a 2.4" display, a 2MP camera and optional dual-SIM capabilities.

Nokia 220 is internet-ready and comes with Facebook and Twitter pre-installed. Nokia will be offering its Xpress Browser with integrated Bing Search.

Nokia 220 is available worldwide as of today and costs just €29. Its battery will last a month on stand-by or 51 hours on music playback.

Nokia's MWC keynote is starting, watch it here

The ducks have arrived – now we get to find out if they are Android ducks or if they flew here from Redmond. We're, of course, alluding to the Nokia X A110, which has gained notoriety as the Android-powered Nokia phone, seemingly in defiance of the Microsoft acquisition.

It's worth noting that while the Microsoft/Nokia deal has been approved by all relevant parties, moving a huge division from one big company to another is no easy process and this is still the Nokia from 2013 that will be presenting.

Of course, we've seen leaks of the Lumia 630 – a successor of the Windows Phone-powered Lumia 620. There's a Lumia 930 in the works too, if the rumor mill is to be believed. That one is even more exciting as it's a GSM version of the Lumia 929 Icon, perhaps with a 4.5" 1080p screen.

There are plenty of unknowns here, despite all the teasers and allusions we've seen. Watch the unveiling with us to find out:

Watch it here:

Press render of Nokia Lumia 630 leaks ahead of its unveiling

The press image of the upcoming Nokia Lumia 630 smartphone has been leaked, courtesy of evleaks. Nokia's latest mid-range smartphone and the successor of the popular Lumia 620 will have on-screen buttons and supports third live tile column.

If the rumors are to be trusted, the Nokia Lumia 630 will sport a 4.3-inch WVGA display and will be powered by a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 processor clocked at 1.7 GHz. The device is said to come out with 1 GB of RAM, 8 megapixel rear camera, 2000mAh battery and 8 GB of internal memory with the ability to expand it via microSD card slot.

Nokia's press event at the Mobile World Congress is scheduled for tomorrow and as usual, you can rely on us to keep you informed with all the latest news from the event.


Saturday, February 22, 2014

Nokia HERE Maps will be available for all Windows 8.1 devices

Love the Nokia HERE Maps application, but don’t have a Nokia Windows Phone handset? Well you’re in luck.

With the Windows 8.1 upgrade, all Windows-based computers with the software update will get to enjoy Nokia HERE Maps.

This includes Windows RT devices, such as the Surface. Naturally as part of the upgrade, you’ll be able to use your mouse and keyboard with the application, enjoy high-res satellite images, zippier map loading, and a search history.

As always, Nokia HERE Maps will be completely free, and is available in North America and Europe starting now, and it’ll roll out to the rest of the world soon.

Excited to use Nokia HERE Maps on your Windows 8.1 device?

Source | Via

Microsoft considers bringing Android apps to Windows and Windows Phone

According to a report in The Verge, Microsoft is considering bringing support for Android applications to Windows and Windows Phone. Planning for the radical move is said to be ongoing and in early stages.

If materialized, the shift in strategy will aim to counter the lack of popular apps available on Microsoft’s OS platforms. Despite featuring mainstream titles such as Flipboard and Instagram, Windows Phone still lacks many of the popular iOS and Android apps and games.

Microsoft threw a lot of efforts in luring developers to create apps for Windows Phone. However, the OS is still well behind iOS and Android as their choice of platform.

To make the process work, Microsoft will need to make installing Android apps on Windows Phone an easy exercise. BlueStacks – a company which enables users to run Android apps in Windows environment might be the key factor on this instance.

In addition to increasing the WP market share and device shipments, Android support will also help Microsoft raise the profile of, and build consumer base for its enterprise and cloud services such asOneDrive. The upcoming Nokia X will employ similar tactics as well.

Everything considered, a final decision on the matter will be left to the newly appointed CEO of MicrosoftSatya Nadella.


Nokia launches Treasure Tags, Bluetooth tag key chains

The Nokia Treasure Tag is a small Bluetooth Low Energy brick that will keep you from losing your keys or your phone. It’s about the size of a matchbox, 30 x 30 x 10mm to be precise and weighs 13g.

The Treasure Tag has a squarish look and comes in several colors – it’s reminiscent of a Windows Phone live tile for a reason.

You can connect your phone – a Lumia, if Nokia has its way – to up to four Tags. Tags work as all the other Bluetooth-based tokens – if your phone goes out of range, both the phone and the tag will start beeping. Even if you don’t hear the beeping, the dedicated app will help you locate the item on Nokia’s here maps by indicating where it was last detected by the phone.

The app allows you to pin live tiles to the homescreen that are color-coded to match the Tag. Alternatively, you can use a photo of the item the Tag is attached to (keys, laptop back, etc.). Those tiles will give you updates on when the Treasure Tag was last detected and allow you to silence alarms (e.g. if you leave your keys at home intentionally).

Tags are powered by a coin cell battery (CR-2032), which has enough juice for half a year.

Each Tag will cost €25 / $30 when they go on sale globally in April. The color options will be Cyan, Yellow, White and Black. You’ll need a Bluetooth LE-enabled Lumia phones with the Black update installed. Third-party apps for iOS and Android will be available too.


Friday, February 21, 2014

Another Nokia X vine tease is posted

Nokia continues the green duck teasing of their X Android smartphone. This time, we see a wall of cell phones barely able to hold back a flood.

Expect the full reveal to occur during Mobile World Congress, which starts on February 24th in Barcelona. As always, we’ll be providing up to-the-minute information on the event and all of its news and releases.

We gave a sneak peak of the Nokia X yesterday, and even posted pictures of Nokia’s first Android smartphone here.

It’s worth noting that the X will not be a top-tier Android device: it will retail for under $115, according to the leak.

The interface of the X hardly seems like Android, it looks more like a Windows Phone device, so even if Nokia is experimenting with a new mobile OS, it looks as if they are trying to keep a consistent feel for their users.

Anybody excited in learning more about the Nokia X, or do you think that the Finns have a winning formula with Windows Phone and shouldn’t deviate from their success?


Thursday, February 20, 2014

Nokia X A110 photo gives us first peek at new UI

For a company that purposefully steered away from Android, Nokia sure is making a lot of fuss about its upcoming Android phone.

The device in question, the Nokia X A110, was caught in China. It's supposed to join the Asha line and it looks the part – it has a single back button below the screen. That's because the A110 will run a customized version of Android.

Nokia X A110 spy photos

The UI certainly looks quite different – obviously inspired by Windows Phone's live tiles. The Store shortcut will lead to an separate app repository (not the Play Store) but so far little is known about it.

Nokia will also be replacing Google's Maps with its own HERE suite and the Nokia X A110 will come with a free navigation license for one country. Nokia also has its own music service, so we'll probably be seeing that too.

Heavily customized Android with Nokia services replacing Google's

Anyway, this is clearly the dual-SIM version of the phone, but there will be a single-SIM option too. The price target is under CNY 700 ($115 / €85), and there should be a minimal price difference between the single and dual-SIM models.

Meanwhile, Nokia's Weibo account posted another teaser image – this time it features a UFO (with the ubiquitous green X) abducting a puppy. Hopefully, the idea behind these images will be explained when Nokia unveils the X at the Mobile World Congress in less than a week.

Source 1 (in Chinese) • Source 2 (in Chinese) | Via

Wednesday, February 19, 2014

Windows Phone 8.1 Action Center demoed on video

Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to go official in April during the annual BUILD conference. Meanwhile, thanks to Microsoft's WP8.1 SDK, various screenshots and videos have gave us a taste of the upcoming update.

WP 8.1 is expected to bring the long awaited Action Center, Cortana voice assistant, Swype keyboard, better multi-tasking, burst shots for the camera, Internet Explorer 11 with password manager, minor UI enhancements, etc.

Today, after various leaked screenshots we finally get to see the Action Center in action in a live video. There aren't many surprises here, but then again there's no need to reinvent the wheel.

April isn't that far away, so it won't be long before we see the WP8.1 update go official.

Source | Via