Microsoft has announced it is acquiring Nokia Devices & Services for 5.44 billion euros in cash. Nokia CEO Stephen Elop is stepping down to become the Executive VP of Devices & Services and will join Microsoft along with 32,000 Nokia employees when the acquisition closes.
As part of the deal, Nokia’s feature phones and Lumia range of smartphones will be rebranded as Microsoft phones and Microsoft will license HERE maps from Nokia along with the right to build on top of it. Learn more on the Microsoft blog here.
Nokia has started rolling out its Amber update for Lumia phones. The update includes Nokia Glance Screen, which displays the time, battery indicator and whether the phone is in silent mode while it is inactive. There are new options to double tap the screen to wake up the phone and flip the phone to silence it.
The update also includes improved image processing algorithms to improve noise reduction, colour reproduction, exposure control and autofocus. ISO settings can be adjusted on the Nokia Lumia 920 to improve low-light photos and the Nokia Pro Camera app is included for the Nokia Lumia 920, 925 and 928.
A new Storage Checker can be used to check how much space is being used on the phone and clean up unnecessary files. With this update, Nokia HERE Maps can save time and bandwidth by only downloaded map changes instead of entire maps. Learn more about the update on the Nokia blog here.
Nokia has updated its Cinemagraph app for Windows Phone 8. The app now allows cinemagraphs to be 1024x720p HD resolution and they are rendered as videos instead of GIFs to improve image quality, though they can still be shared as GIFs.
There is also a new colour popping feature that makes the cinemagraph black and white and gives the user a select of colours to choose from to make part of the image stand out. Learn more on the Nokia Conversations blog here.
Using Windows Phone 8? Download the update from the Windows Phone Store here.
Nokia has announced its Lumia 1020 smartphone, the first Windows Phone with a 41-megapixel camera. The PureView sensor includes optical image stabilisation, 6-lens Zeiss optics and a Xenon flash.
The camera takes two photos: one that is 38 megapixels and one that is 5 megapixels. The 5 megapixel image is oversampled to produce a higher-quality image and is an appropriate size to be shared with others.
The large 38-megapixel image can be used to zoom out and create a new image focusing on another area of the scene. The Lumia 1020 supports 1080p video with 4x zoom or 720p with 6x zoom. A Nokia Pro app has various settings such as focus, contrast and tint that can be changed and viewed instantly on the viewfinder.
The phone will be available on 26 July 2013 for US$299.99 at AT&T. Learn more on the Nokia website here.
Nokia has announced it is updating its HERE apps and making them available for all Windows Phone 8 handsets. Previously, these apps were only available on Nokia Lumia smartphones.
HERE Drive and HERE Drive+ have been updated with a more intuitive user interface and significant improvements under the hood. There is also a new My Commute feature that displays an at-a-glance estimate of the travel time to let the user know if they need to leave early or have extra time due to traffic.
The new HERE Maps, HERE Transit and HERE Drive will be available for free for all Windows Phone 8 handsets in the US, Canada, Mexico, UK, France, Italy, Germany and Spain. In other countries, HERE Maps will be available for free, HERE Transit will cost €1.99 and HERE Drive is unavailable, but HERE Drive+ can be purchased for €34.99.
Interested in learning more? See the Nokia Conversations blog here.
Nokia has announced a beta of Glance Screen for its Lumia smartphones. Glance Screen displays the clock and battery level when the phone is in standby mode and allows the user to double-tap to wake the phone.
Nokia previously had this feature on its Symbian phones, but it is now bringing it to Windows Phone 8, starting with the Nokia Lumia 925. It will become available on most Lumia smartphones with the amber software update in July.
Learn more about the Nokia Lumia 925 in the press release here.
Nokia has updated HERE Maps for Windows Phone 8 with LiveSight. When a user enters LiveSight mode, the app scans the surrounding area and displays information about nearby locations along with ratings.
Selecting a location displays its address, phone number, photos and reviews. There is also an offline mode available that allows this information to be downloaded to the phone so it can be accessed without an Internet connection.
Using HERE Maps for Windows Phone 8? Download the update from the Windows Phone Store here.
Nokia has announced its Lumia 925 Windows Phone. It is the first Windows Phone to incorporate aluminium into its design to make the phone lighter and thinner. It is also the first phone to add a sixth layer of glass to its camera lens that lets in five times more light to create photos with natural colours.
The Nokia Lumia 925 has a 4.5-inch AMOLED WXGA touchscreen with curved Gorilla Glass 2, 1.5 GHz dual-core Snapdragon processor, 16 GB of internal memory, and a 2000 mAh battery. The phone is available in white, grey or black matte. There is also white, black, yellow and red wireless charging snap-on covers available.
Nokia has also tweaked the onboard imaging software algorithms to help the camera perform better in low light, improve colour reproduction and reduce noise in photos. There is also a new Smart Camera feature that can be configured to open when the camera button on the side of the phone is pressed.
Smart Camera takes a burst of 10 five-megapixel photos and then chooses which photo it thinks turned out the best. The photos can also be combined into a single action shot. Smart Camera will roll out to all Nokia Lumia phones in a future Windows Phone update.
Nokia has announced its Lumia 928 smartphone. It has a 4.5-inch OLED display, 8.7-megapixel PureView camera with Optical Image Stabilisation and Carl Zeiss lens, Xenon flash and wireless charging. It also has three High Audio Amplitude Capture microphones that can record up to 140db without distortion.
The Lumia 928 will be available in Verizon Wireless stores for US$99.99 on a two-year contract after a $50 mail-in rebate. Customers who purchase the device also get US$25 of Windows Phone Store credit.
Nokia has released firmware updates for its Lumia 920, 820 and 620 smartphones that will roll out over the next few weeks. The Nokia Lumia 920 firmware update improves the automatic display brightness adjustment, fixes intermittent screen blanking during a call and improves connectivity in certain network conditions. It also contains performance and stability improvements.
The firmware updates for the Nokia Lumia 820 and 620 fix the same issues as the 920 update and also improve touchscreen functions including corrections in multi-touch actions, voice quality with Bluetooth headsets with support echo/noise suppression and camera performance with corrected exposure when flash is used in bright light conditions. They also contain various system stability, performance and usability improvements.
Nokia has also released a Storage Checker app that makes it easier to manage the phone’s storage. The app has an overview pivot that itemises the storage into music+video, pictures, apps, other, system and free space categories. It also has a details pivot with a details button that itemises the storage of each individual app and a clear button that deletes temporary files on the phone to save space.