Star Browser, last covered here on AAS, has now been signed it seems. Moreover, there's a major new version with a changelog as long as your arm. A serious competitor for Web and Opera/Opera Mini? Over to you, AAS and Symbian enthusiasts, let's evaluate it!
Microsoft today announced that it has completed its acquisition of Nokia Devices and Services division, following approval by shareholders and governmental regulators and almost eight months on from the initial announcement. Microsoft is now a major mobile hardware manufacturer and will now begin the complex process of integration. Nokia continues to exist, primarily as a network infrastructure (NSN) business, coupled with the strategically important maps (HERE) and research and intellectual property (Advanced Technologies) businesses.
With the Nokia Store now frozen (or at least 99.99% frozen), you may be wondering if there's a reliable source for new Symbian applications and updates from January 2014 onwards... Enter contender AppList, currently an open beta, detailed below. The content is limited at the moment, but this will obviously rise as more and more curated and actively updated applications are introduced to the system. Wagons roll!
Today, at MWC, Nokia announced the Nokia X range of affordable smartphones, running on a customised version of AOSP (Android Open Source Project) software. The devices, the Nokia X, X+, and XL, are aimed primarily at "growth economies" and are compatible with generic Android apps, but also run a range of Nokia and Microsoft apps and services.
This is a Delight custom firmware release that many have been asking for - the Nokia 701. This device didn't get released as widely as the Nokia 808 but has many positive attributes, as listed here in my comparison with the Nokia N8. And 701 owners on AAS have been (literally) crying out for the Delight custom firmware to take them away from Nokia's ceased firmware track and onto something more dynamic and with far more benefits. Step in the Delight team with some welcome news.
Since Delight custom firmwares came onto the Symbian scene, the most asked question of all was: when will this come to the Nokia E7 Communicator? With its full width fold out QWERTY keyboard, the E7 remains somewhat unique in the smartphone world, yet it has been held back by lack of updates from Nokia. With the arrival of Delight CFW v1.0 for the E7, the device just got itself a new lease of life.
We're now firmly into 2014, Nokia is never going to issue another firmware for devices like the classic N8 - and probably never even another SW_update patch. So there's nothing to lose and everything to gain by experimenting with custom firmware. This is the first time my much beloved N8 has veered off the 'stock Nokia' trail, but it's already enjoying the extra space and extra speed of a great CFW.
As everyone's now aware, the Nokia Store (for Symbian apps) is effectively frozen as of midnight tonight. Which means no updates, no new applications - nothing at all. Of course, a lot of the content can stay as-is (and will still be downloadable), but there are bound to be updates needed in order to maintain compatibility with external services, plus there will always be some bugs needing addressing. Begging the question of how such updates can reach Symbian enthusiasts across the globe.
Nokia has released its Q3 2013 results, reporting an operating profit of €118 million (up from a loss of €564 million in Q3 2012), with net sales of €5.6662 billion (down 22% year-on-year). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating loss was €86 million. The margin in Devices and Services was -3% (up from from -18.9% in Q3 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 8.8 million (all Lumia), up from 7.4 million in Q2, while mobile phone volumes were 55.8 million, up from 53.7 million in Q2, but down 27% year-on-year.
Do you remember I wrote recently about issues with the Xenon flash on the Lumia 1020, caused by the shutter speed being artificially slow? After doing some tests, I've noticed that the new Nokia Camera (rolling in Nokia Pro Camera and Nokia Smart Cam) is more intelligent with shutter speed when taking typical indoor/party/event shots, with photos appearing crisper and with more natural colours. In tests, clarity and colours now match or exceed those from Xenon-lit shots on the Nokia 808, previously the gold standard here.
On October 22nd, in Abu Dhabi, Nokia is holding Nokia World, where it is expected to announce a number of new devices and accessories in a variety of form factors. The event kicks off at 08:00 BST (07:00 GMT). We'll be updating this story with our on-the-scene live coverage at the event takes place. You can also watch a live stream of the press conference event via Nokia Conversations.
You may remember that I'd been experimenting with Delight custom firmware on the likes of the Nokia C7? Well, the next big version of the Delight firmwares is out, simultaneously for the Nokia 808, N8 and C7, see the links below. I installed it on the Nokia 808 PureView and have been impressed so far.
We knew this day would come, but didn't think it would happen so soon. After January 1st, 2014, Nokia is no longer accepting either new applications or updates for existing apps into the Nokia Store. The email, sent out to all developers today, is quoted below, but my first impression is that the refusal to allow app updates is something of a contravention of Nokia's stated intent to "support Symbian until 2016". After all, without the facility to update apps to maintain compatibility with the wider world and to respond to security issues and bugs, the Symbian ecosystem is rather left in the lurch.
Nokia yesterday published additional material about its proposed transaction with Microsoft that will see the sale of its Devices & Services business and a major patent licensing agreement. The information is intended to give shareholders more information ahead of the proposed 19th November EGM (Extraordinary General Meeting) at which shareholders will be asked to follow the board's recommendation and vote to approve the proposed transaction with Microsoft.
Microsoft and Nokia today announced that they had signed an agreement whereby Nokia will sell its Devices & Services business and license its patents to Microsoft for €5.4 billion. The transaction is expected to close in Q1 2014, subject to shareholder and regulatory approval.
The move will be seen as a key part of Microsoft's future devices and service strategy and was, perhaps, inevitable given its reliance on Nokia for Windows Phone devices, especially after rumours about such a transaction were floated earlier this summer. It will shake up both the Windows Phone ecosystem and the mobile industry more generally, drawing clear lines between major technology players, but also leaving questions about the business sustainability of smaller players.
The transaction will close the mobile phone chapter in Nokia's 150 year old history and reshapes a company that remains one of Europe's leading technology brands.