Tag Archives: nokia

Nokia Lumia 2520 Windows RT tablet announced

Nokia’s former CEO Stephen Elop has announced the Lumia 2520 tablet ($499) running Windows RT, at an event in Abu Dhabi.


The 10.1″ tablet comes with Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 (quad-core 2.2 Ghz) chipset and LTE connectivity – unlike Microsoft’s Surface, which is wifi only. It will ship this year.

The screen has high brightness and low reflectivity, which apparently enables reading or videos in bright sunlight as well as in low light.

The camera hardware includes Zeiss optics, 6.7MP rear camera, 2MP front camera.

Fast charging gets it to 80% charged in one hour, according to Nokia.

The Nokia Power Keyboard accessory offers up to 5 hours added battery life and two USB ports. It forms a cover as well as a keyboard, and includes a trackpad.

As with other Windows RT devices, Microsoft Office is included.

On the app side, Nokia showed two of the same apps just announced for its Lumia Windows Phones, the Nokia Camera app and the Storyteller app.


The Storyteller app integrates photos and mapping so you can see where your photos were taken.


Nokia also announced that a Flipboard app is coming to Windows RT.

Now there are two new Windows RT devices: Microsoft’s Surface and Nokia’s Lumia. However Nokia is being acquired by Microsoft and it will be interesting to see how the different product lines are managed by the combined company.

Nokia announces huge Windows Phones, new apps, new Asha models, Instagram, Twitter Vine apps

Nokia’s former CEO Stephen Elop has announced the Lumia 1520 at an event in Abu Dhabi.

The 1520 ($749) has a 6” screen which takes it into “phablet” territory. The larger size enables a 3rd column of live tiles, enabled by Microsoft with an update to the Windows Phone 8 operating system.


Camera-wise the 1520 lacks the 41MP of the 1020 but does have a 20MP PureView camera.

A new app called Nokia Camera has three camera modes including Still, Video, and Smart Mode which takes a burst of pictures.

The app has a night mode optimised for low-light, and a sports mode for quick action shots. There is also a Pro Camera UI with all available settings and manual focus.

A new Storyteller app integrates photos, images and maps.


The killer feature here is that you can zoom out of a photop to see where it was taken on a Nokia Here map:


The 1520 also sports four microphones for “directional stereo”.

Also announced is the 4G Lumia 1320 ($339):


This is also a large-screen model but with a 5MP camera and a more affordable price.

An update to the OS called Lumia Black is coming to all Windows.

With Windows Phones getting bigger, how is the OS differentiated from Windows RT? Well, one is a Phone OS and the other a tablet OS, but convergence cannot come soon enough.

Elop also announced improvements to the Asha range of budget phones aimed mainly at emerging markets.

The new models are the Asha 500 ($69, dual sim available, 2MP camera), 502 ($89, dual sim available, 5MP camera with flash) and 3G 503 ($99, dual sim available, 5MP camera with flash).


You can share photos to social media including newly announced WhatsApp Messenger support from next month.

Of course there was also the 2520 tablet, but that is the subject of a separate post.

Microsoft acquires Nokia’s device business: a risky move for Windows Phone

Microsoft is to acquire Nokia’s device business:

Microsoft Corporation and Nokia Corporation today announced that the Boards of Directors for both companies have decided to enter into a transaction whereby Microsoft will purchase substantially all of Nokia’s Devices & Services business, license Nokia’s patents, and license and use Nokia’s mapping services.

Nokia’s Stephen Elop is no longer CEO:

Stephen Elop, who following today’s announcement is stepping aside as Nokia President and CEO to become Nokia Executive Vice President of Devices & Services

The plan is that Elop, together with other executives from his team, will move to Microsoft. This is a circle completed for Elop, who was formerly in charge of Microsoft Office.

Nokia is retaining its patent portfolio, but licensing its patents to Microsoft for a 10 year term. 

Microsoft is acquiring approximately half of Nokia’s business overall, but all of its phones including the low end Asha range.

What are the implications for Windows Phone? One the face of it, the deal makes some sense. Nokia was the only Windows Phone OEM making real efforts to support and establish the platform, and has a large market share within the Windows Phone market. Although Windows Phone is struggling versus the iOS and Android giants, to Nokia’s credit it has established itself as a firm number three, ahead of Blackberry, and done some impressive work especially with the camera element.

Nokia has also managed to push out low-end but still capable Windows Phones at keen prices, and it is this more than anything else that has won it increasing market share. Recently, Kantar published a report showing solid gains for the platform:

Windows Phone, driven largely by lower priced Nokia smartphones such as the Lumia 520, now represents around one in 10 smartphone sales in Britain, France, Germany and Mexico. For the first time the platform has claimed the number two spot in a major world market, taking 11.6% of sales in Mexico.

What will be the effect of the acquisition on the Windows Phone platform and ecosystem? On the plus side, it gives Elop’s team access to more funds and removes any uncertainty surrounding Nokia’s future. If Microsoft keeps the proven team and its design and manufacturing expertise together, this could work.

There are obvious risks though. Without Nokia, Microsoft did a poor job of marketing Windows Phone, and while some of that is down to half-hearted hardware partners, Microsoft was also to blame for poor execution. Now that Nokia is Microsoft, there is a danger that its effectiveness will slip back.

Another question is how this will impact the other Windows Phone vendors, such at HTC and Samsung. Nokia already seemed to be a favoured partner, so perhaps little will change, but it seems unlikely that this will energise the other partners and it may have the opposite effect. The Windows OEMs hate Microsoft’s efforts with Surface (even though it was their own failings that forced Microsoft into the venture) and the phone vendors may well feel the same about Micro-Nok.

There is now no non-Microsoft smartphone vendor for whom Windows Phone is anything but a small sideshow. That could change, but it is not a sign of health.

Whether Nokia was right to embrace Windows Phone rather than Android is an open question; and perhaps it should not have abandoned its Meego (Linux) efforts, but given that it did both, it seems to me that Elop has performed well and was successfully growing the platform, albeit from a small base. Will he be allowed to continue that work at Microsoft, as well as gaining greater control over the software side of Windows Phone whose slow pace of development, it is rumoured, was a source of frustration to Nokia?

Alternatively, history tells that Microsoft can suffocate its acquisitions (remember Danger?).

Personally I like Windows Phone. When I looked at a Samsung Android recently, I was struck by how disorganised and confusing an Android smartphone can be, though impressed by its capability. Windows Phone is decent and I hope it carves out a reasonable market share.

The risks, though, are obvious.

Nokia 925: smart camera and metal band design continues Windows Phone 8 and Lumia effort

Nokia has announced the Lumia 925, a high-end Windows Phone which will go on sale in Europe in June from Vodafone and others. The price is around €469 + VAT, presumably without a contract. Vodafone customers will be offered an “exclusive 32GB version” according to the press release.


So what’s special about the 925? It sports a 4.5″ AMOLED 1280 x 768 display, which is decent, along with 1GB RAM and 16GB storage. Battery life is a claimed 440 hrs standby and 12.8 hrs talk time. No SD card slot, presumably for the same reason as for the 920: it would have “defiled it” according to Nokia VP Kevin Shields.

A big attraction is the camera, or rather cameras, including the main 8.7 MP PureView which also offers 1080p 30fps HD video, and the front-facing 1.2MP wide angle camera. The magic is said to be both in the lens and the software, especially the Smart Camera update (coming shortly after the launch) which enables the camera to take ten images in one shot, giving the user options for which one to keep (sounds similar to Microsoft’s Blink app which is already available for Windows Phone).

There is also Nokia’s HERE mapping suite which the company says offers “the world’s only fully integrated and true offline maps experience.”

Another Lumia innovation is the metal frame which is for “antenna functionality, appeal and robustness”. Presumably Nokia has ensured that it does not kill the signal when touched in the wrong place, as happened with the metal band for Apple’s iPhone 4.

Seemingly every mention of a Nokia phone has to ask the big questions. Can Windows Phone succeed against iPhone and Android? Can Nokia survive?

Whatever is the answer to those questions, this phone is unlikely to change it.

I will say that after a shaky start with the 800 (nice phone, terrible battery life and unfortunate bugs) the Lumia range has evolved into something excellent, that spans from good budget smartphones like the 620 to devices like the 820 and 920 which are a pleasure to use.

Windows Nokia Lumia 510 Phone just £70 at Tesco

In Tesco this morning I noticed the Nokia Lumia 510 on offer for £70.


Quick spec: Windows Phone 7.5, 4″ display, 800 x 480 screen, multipoint touch screen, Bluetooth, Wi-Fi, GPS, 256MB RAM, 4GB storage, 5MP camera, 480p video camera. Full details here.

256MB is minimal these days and there is no SD memory card slot or front-facing camera. For battery life, Nokia quote 653 hours of standby or 8.4 hours talk time on a 3G connection.

Sill, at £70 Windows Phone is no longer an expensive option.

If you want Windows Phone 8, you can get the Lumia 520 for £99.95 on Orange pay as you go, according to Nokia’s chart.

Windows Phone 8 enterprise security versus Blackberry 10 Balance and Samsung Knox

How good is Windows Phone 8 security? Actually, pretty good. The key features are described here [pdf]:

  • Trusted Boot prevents booting to an alternative operating system, using the UEFI secure boot standard.
  • Only signed operating system components and apps can run.
  • App sandboxing:

    No communication channels exist between apps on the phone other than through the cloud. Apps are isolated from each other and cannot access memory used or data stored by other applications, including the keyboard cache.

  • Private internal app distribution by businesses who register with Microsoft
  • Password policies set through Exchange ActiveSync (EAS)
  • Built-in device management client
  • Bitlocker encryption when set by EAS RequireDeviceEncryption policy. AES 128 encryption linked to UEFI Trusted Boot.
  • SD card data is not encrypted, but the OS only allows media files to be stored on SD cards.
  • Information Rights Management can prevent documents being edited, printed, or text copied (other than tricks like photographing the screen).
  • Remote Wipe

The security features in Windows Phone 8 are largely based on those in full Windows, since the core operating system is the same. However, devices are more secure since they are not afflicted by the legacy which makes desktop Windows hard to lock down without damaging usability.

While the above sounds good, note that in most cases a simple PIN will get you access to everything. On the other hand, unless the PIN is seen it is not all that insecure, since you can set policies that lock or wipe the phone after a few wrong attempts.

Does Microsoft therefore have a good story versus Blackberry 10 Balance and Samsung Knox, both of which feature secure containers that isolate business apps and data from personal? The approach is different. In Windows Phone the focus is on the whole device, whereas the other two have the concept of segmentation, letting users do what they like (including installation of games and so on) in one segment, while the business gets to control the other.

Windows Phone does in fact have a somewhat similar feature aimed at children. Kids Corner lets you create a "fun" segment containing specified apps and games, sandboxed from the main operating system. While this is currently designed for children borrowing your phone, you can see how it could be adapted to create a personal/business split if Microsoft chose to do so.

For the time being though, you might worry about the potential for users to install a malicious app or game that manages to exploit a bug in Windows Phone and compromise security.

Even if the business can lock down the device so that users cannot install apps, this impairs the user experience to the extent that most users will want another phone for personal use. The attraction of the Blackberry and Samsung approach is the way it combines user freedom with business security.

Is Microsoft doing a good job of articulating the enterprise features of Windows Phone 8? That is a hard question to answer; but my observation is that Nokia, the main Windows Phone vendor, seems to focus more on consumer features like the camera and music, or general features like maps and turn by turn navigation. Enterprise features are hardly mentioned on the Nokia stand here at Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, while Microsoft does not have a stand at all. On the other hand, you would think that the company’s strong partner ecosystem would be effective in communicating the presence of these features to enterprises.

Review: Nokia Lumia 620, a winner when the price is right

Nokia’s Lumia 620 is now widely available in the UK, and was offered recently at just £120 (including VAT) by O2 on a pay as you go deal (which means that the amount of operator subsidy is small). That struck me as an excellent deal, especially as I already have an O2 sim, so I got one to take a look.


The Windows Phone with which I am most familiar is the first one Nokia produced, the Lumia 800, which is still widely available at a similar price to the 620. The 800 is a beautiful phone with a high quality feel, though my early model has a dreadful battery life and suffered from charging problems (going into a state where it could not be charged without much coaxing) until at last a firmware update seemed to fix it.

The 620 is lighter and very slightly smaller than the 800, and feels more ordinary in design and manufacture. On the other hand, it is up-to-date and runs Windows Phone 8, whereas the 800 is stuck with Windows Phone 7.5 or 7.8. The 620 also benefits from a Qualcomm Snapdragon S4 Plus system chip, 1Ghz dual core, versus the 1.4Ghz single core Scorpion and MSM8255 Snapdragon in the 800.

In the picture below, the Lumia 620 is on the left and the 800 on the right.


Do not be misled by the apparently faster clock in the 800 (1.4 Ghz vs 1.0 Ghz). In practice, I found the 620 performs much better than the older single-core CPU. Here are my Sunspider Javascript results:

  • Lumia 800: 6987ms
  • Lumia 620: 1448ms

I also have a Lumia 820 on loan. This is the true successor to the 800 and has a gorgeous 4/3″ AMOLED display plus a Snapdragon dual-core 1.5 Ghz chip. It completed Sunspider in just 910ms.

Still, the 820 is around £350 on pay as you go deals, more than double what I paid for 620. It is in a different high-end market, whereas the 620 is in an affordable category alongside dozens of budget Android phones like the HTC Desire C, Samsung Galaxy Ace 2 or Sony Xperia U. If Microsoft is to make real progress with Windows Phone 8, it has to be competitive here as well as at the higher end of the market.

You can see how Nokia has reduced the cost of the 620. The screen is TFT Capacitive, not AMOLED, and looks dim and small next to an 820. The battery is a small 1300 mAh affair, slightly smaller than the one in an 800. The side buttons feel like cheap plastic.

That said, I would rather focus on what the 620 does have, including A-GPS, Bluetooth 3.0, microSD card slot, 5MP camera with flash, front VGA camera, NFC (Near Field Communication) support, accelerometer and compass.

Two significant advantages over the old Lumia 800 are the removable battery (so you can carry a spare) and the microSD card slot, supporting up to 64GB of additional storage.

One thing I noticed with the 620 is that charging the battery is super quick. I have not timed it yet, but it charges considerably faster than the 800.

Battery life when on standby is substantially better than the Lumia 800. With light usage and wi-fi off, I am getting more than 2 and half days.


There is 512Mb RAM and 8GB storage; reasonable at this price. The Lumia 610, predecessor to the 620, had only 256Mb RAM which caused app compatibility issues.

Getting started

The out of box experience for me was pretty good. I put in my O2 sim, which worked without any issues. The setup asked for my Microsoft account and password which also worked, though as is typical with Microsoft, I found myself having to enter this several times more when setting up the SkyDrive app.

I have my own Exchange server which uses self-signed certificates. I installed the certificates and rather to my surprise auto-discover then worked and I was able to add my Exchange account to Outlook on the device without my having to enter the server details.

So far so good; but I was expecting some sort of automatic or semi-automatic process of installing the apps I was using on the Lumia 800, but this is more difficult than it should be. Nothing appeared automatically. You have to go to the store and re-install. You can reduce the work slightly by going to your purchase history online and selecting Reinstall; but in many cases that does not work and there is a message saying “App not available on the Web. Try downloading it on your phone.”

That is a shame, since this works well for Windows 8 store apps. The experience of upgrading to a new Windows Phone should be like this:

  1. Buy new phone.
  2. Enter Microsoft account details.
  3. Wait a bit, then carry on where you left off with all apps in place.

Unfortunately we are not there yet.

The new Windows Phone 8 Start screen is a considerable improvement. The big deal is that you can get four times as many icons on the screen, so no need to waste all that space. The Live Tile concept works better on the phone than it does in Windows 8, since you see the Start screen more often. I might work for hours on a PC and never see the Start screen.

The supplied earbuds/microphone are functional but not very good. The sound is mediocre and the earbuds do not feel secure. Incidentally, a much better set comes with the 820; but in practice most of us have our own favourite headset already and I would not mind if Nokia did not bother to include this in the box. Audio with a better quality set is fine, and after copying some MP3s to the device I was happy with the sound.

Once during the course of this review the phone rebooted itself for no apparent reason. Once it froze and I had to remove and replace the battery. Hmm.

Fitting a memory card

The 620 accepts a microSD card up to 64GB. Fitting is not too difficult, though slightly fiddly. First remove the back. Then slide back the silver card holder until it pops up.


Insert the card and close the holder.



The camera captures images at 2592 x 1936 pixels. It is fine for the use I am likely to make of it, bearing in mind that I am not yet ready to abandon carrying a separate camera. The camera software supports extensions called “lenses” which let you process the image. An example is Translator which lets you point the camera at some text and have it translated, an intriguing idea from which I got mixed results.


I was disappointed to find that Blink, from Microsoft Research, will not install as apparently the 620 does not meet minimum requirements, though I cannot quickly see in what way it falls short.

One small feature that I like on Windows Phone is that you can press the camera button even the phone is locked and use the camera.

Nokia Apps

Nokia has some exclusive apps, of which my favourite is Nokia Drive. I have found it works pretty well for turn-by-turn directions and no longer use my Tom Tom. The 620 lets you install Nokia Drive + Beta, giving you free downloadable maps and offline directions.

City Lens is a fun app that uses augmented reality to superimpose nearby attractions on the image from the phone’s camera. It has some promise, though it asks me to “Calibrate your compass” every time it starts up, which means waving your arms in the air and probably hailing a taxi by mistake.

More seriously, City Lens is only as good as its data, and in my part of England it is not good enough yet, with only a few local businesses showing.

Nokia Transit gives you public transport directions, and worked OK when I asked for directions to my nearest airport, giving a sensible bus route. The app integrates with Nokia Maps for directions and I found the user interface a bit perplexing. The app also freaked out when I asked how to get to London. Sensible options would include my local railway station, which has an hourly service, or a National Express coach from the nearest city centre. Instead, Nokia Transit proposed a seven hour bus journey with numerous changes, starting yesterday (I am not joking). Then the app crashed. Still, looks like it could be useful for local bus journeys.

Nokia Music gives you “Mix radio” for free, and a download service for a per-track fee. Fair enough, though the quality of the Mix radio is indifferent.

Nokia Smart Shoot takes five pictures at a time, and lets you select the best, superimpose faces from one on those of another, or remove people or objects. Face transposition is not my thing, but taking five images at a time makes sense. You can then flip through to find the best, and save it. Useful.

Creative Studio (I am surprised Nokia can use that name) is a simple photo editing app that lets you crop and rotate, remove red eye, adjust colour balance and brightness and so on. It is simple but rather good.


Microsoft’s cloud storage service SkyDrive is integral to Windows Phone 8. If you follow the setup defaults, photos and videos end up there, though in slightly reduced quality, and it also forms storage for the Office Hub. It is free for up to 7GB of storage and generally works well. Windows Phone would be crippled without it.

Local Scout

Local Scout is an official Windows Phone app that is meant to give information and ratings for local businesses such as shops, restaurants and attractions.

Excuse me while I have a rant. Local Scout was introduced in Windows 7.5 “Mango”, made available in September 2011. It has potential, but I noticed at the time that the data was not that good. In my local area, it included a restaurant that has closed, for example. I hit the link that said “Tell us this place is closed.”

As you can guess, the restaurant is still listed, more than a year later.

There is also a bit of a mystery about Local Scout. It has ratings and reviews, but there is no obvious way to add your own rating or review. The data must come from somewhere, but there are relatively few contributions for the places near me and the app would be more useful with community content.

Local Scout on the Lumia 620 (and on the 820) seems to have got worse. There is no longer a “suggest changes” link so you can no longer easily report that a place has closed. You still cannot add ratings or reviews for places you visit.

All a bit of a disaster. My hunch is that some team created Local Scout for Mango and made a reasonable but incomplete job. Since then, someone decided that it is not important and the thing is essentially frozen. It is still there though; it seems to me that Microsoft should either improve it or abandon it.

This is important because it influences the experience when you pick up a Windows Phone and try to use it. Of course you can use Yelp or TripAdvisor or something else instead; but why does Local Scout occupy a precious spot on the default Start Screen, on most Windows Phones I have seen, when it is so broken?


The Office hub on Windows Phone lets you create, view and edit Word and Excel documents, and view and edit PowerPoint documents. At least, you might be able to. I tried some recent documents on SkyDrive. A PowerPoint opens beautifully, and I can easily edit or hide individual slides. On the other hand, another document I have been working on will not open; it downloads, then the screen flashes slightly, but it never opens. An Excel document downloads and views OK but comes up with a message “can’t edit workbook”.

In both cases, there are in the old binary Office document formats. I tried converting them to the new XML based formats (docx and xlsx) and they worked fine, both for viewing and editing. My recommendation then is to use the new Office formats if you want full access on your Windows Phone.

You can add comments to documents, which is a great feature for collaboration.

If you want to know in detail what will work on the phone, see here, and especially the entry “Why can’t I edit some Microsoft Office documents on my phone?”. This lists “common reasons” why a document cannot be edited. It does not say anything about documents which simply will not open so I guess that is unexpected behaviour.

Given the complexity of Office documents, it is not surprising that there are limitations. On the other hand, it does seem to me problematic that the question of whether you will be able to edit any particular document is, from the user’s perspective, rather hit and miss; and if there are many instances where documents do not open at all I will soon lose confidence in the app.

In an emergency, you could try going through the browser instead, since SkyDrive supports the Office Web Apps.

It may be imperfect, but the Office hub is miles better than nothing.

Other apps

Windows Phone remains a minority taste, and if you want the best and widest selection of apps, you should stick to Apple iOS or Google Android.

That said, the Windows Phone Store does have over 125,000 apps, increasing at around 500 apps per week according to windowsphoneapplist.  Some big names are present, including Twitter, Spotify, Amazon and Google; others are missing or only supported by third party apps, including BBC iPlayer, Dropbox and Instagram. Whether any of these (or others) are deal-breakers is up to the individual.

On the other hand, the strong web browser (see below) means good performance from web apps, which mitigates issues with missing native apps.

YouTube works well full-screen in the browser. Unfortunately BBC iPlayer does not.

A bonus for Xbox users is Xbox SmartGlass, which gives remote control of your console plus a few extras.



Windows Phone 8 includes the Internet Explorer 10 browser, and it is excellent, fast and with decent standards support. It gets a score of 320 at html5test.com, which by no coincidence is the same as IE10 in Windows 8.


The 620 also includes the simple, effective internet sharing hotspot feature which was introduced in Windows Phone 7.5, but worth mentioning since it is so useful.


Any budget smartphone is a compromise. The Nokia Lumia 620 is not beautiful to hold, the screen is not the best, the processor is 1.0Ghz rather than the 1.5Ghz on the high-end Lumias, and the battery a bit small.

Nevertheless this is a full Windows Phone 8 smartphone, performance feels snappy, and it supports a generous range of features. It fixes annoyances seen in some earlier Lumias, with a replaceable battery and no fiddly flap over the micro USB port.

The Lumia 620 is a better choice than the old Lumia 800, still on sale at a similar price. It performs basic functions admirably, and has valuable extras like Nokia Drive +. Outlook and the Office hub make it a good choice for Microsoft platform users on a budget.

The Windows Phone 8 OS itself is nice to use but in some areas not as good as it should be. Some of the supplied apps, like Local Scout, are not good enough, and a few crashes suggest bugs.

Web browsing is great though, and strong features like add-on “lenses” for the camera app make up for a few flaws.

In summary, a Lumia 620 is a great way to see what Windows Phone can offer at a budget price. If you can find one for under £150 it is a great deal.

Lumia 620 Key specifications

3.8” display

Dual-core Snapdragon S4 1.0 Ghz, Adreno 305 GPU

Wi-fi 802.11 a/b/g/n, Bluetooth 3.0, NFC

5MP camera with flash, front-facing VGA camera

8GB storage, 512MB RAM, MicroSD up to 64GB

1300 mAh battery



Ambient light sensor

Orientation sensor

Proximity sensor

A good quarter for Nokia, but Lumia still has far to go

Some good news from Nokia at last. The company reports sales ahead of expectations along with “underlying profitability” in the fourth quarter of 2012.

Success for Windows Phone? It is a positive sign, but short of a breakthrough. Here are the details. I am showing three quarters for comparison: fourth quarter 2011, third quarter 2012, and fourth quarter 2012.

  Q4 2011 Q3 2012 Q4 2012
Mobile phone units, millions 113.5 77 79.6
Smartphone units, millions (Lumia in brackets) 19.6 (?) 6.3 (2.9) 6.6 (4.4)

Looking in more detail at the Smartphone units, the Q4 2011 smartphones were mostly Symbian. Lumia (Windows Phone) was launched in October 2011 but with only two models and limited territories (it also sold short of expectations, and rumour has it, with a high rate of returns).

Lumia units increased by 51% over Q3, but considering that Q3 was a bad quarter as customers waited for Windows Phone 8 that is a decent but not stunning improvement. Lumia units exceeded Symbian units, but remain far short of what Nokia used to achieve with Symbian.

There is also a warning about Q1 2013:

Seasonality and competitive environment are expected to have a negative impact on the first quarter 2013 underlying profitability for Devices & Services, compared to the fourth quarter 2012.

That said, here is what Nokia said in the Q3 release:

Nokia expects the fourth quarter 2012 to be a challenging quarter in Smart Devices, with a lower-than-normal benefit from seasonality in volumes, primarily due to product transitions and our ramp up plan for our new devices.

It looks as if the company prefers to be cautious in its financial statements.


Trial apps and in-app purchases easy to hack on Windows 8 says Nokia engineer

A principal engineer at Nokia, Justin Angel, has written a piece showing how to hack apps on Windows 8, undermining their potential revenue for the app vendors. “This is an educational article written in the hope both developers and Microsoft can benefit from an open exchange of knowledge,” he says, adding that the article was written in his own time and has nothing to do with his employer.

The hacks he describes cover:

  • Compromising in-app purchases by modifying data held locally, such as app currency.
  • Converting trial apps to full versions without paying
  • Removing ads from games
  • Reducing the cost of items offered for in-app purchase
  • Injecting Javascript  into the Internet Explorer 10 process in order to bypass trial restrictions


There is an inherent security weakness in any app that has to work offline, since the decryption keys also have to be stored locally; this inherent weakness is not unique to Windows 8. However, Angel argues that Microsoft could do more to address this, such as checking for tampered app files and preventing Javascript injection. Code obfuscation could also mitigate the vulnerabilities.

Although Angel is writing in his own time, the issues are relevant to Nokia, which makes Windows Phone devices and may make Windows 8 tablets in future.

Should Angel have revealed the cracks so openly and in such detail? This is an old debate; but it is sure to increase pressure on Microsoft to improve the security of the platform.

Apps sell better with Live Tiles, says Nokia, with other tips for phone developers

I attended an online seminar by Nokia’s Jure Sustersic on Windows Phone 8 development. It was a high level session so not much new, though Sustersic says the 7.8 update for existing 7.x Windows Phones  is coming very soon; he would not announce a date though.

The slide that caught my eye was one on how to make more profitable apps, including some intriguing statistics. In particular, according to Sustersic:

  • Freemium apps (free to download but with paid upgrades or in-app purchases) achieve 70 times as many downloads and 7 times more revenue
  • The top 50 apps are 3.7 times more likely to have Live Tiles
  • The top 50 apps are 3.2 times more likely to use Push Notifications
  • The top 50 apps are updated every 2-3 months
  • The fastest growth is in new markets, so localize



Of course what Windows Phone developers want most is a larger market, so for Nokia to sell more phones. Random reboots aside, Windows Phone 8 has been well received, but it an uphill task.

I covered the Windows Phone 8 development platform in summary here.