Nokia sold 8.8 million Lumia phones in Q3 2013

How well is Windows Phone 8 performing? Well enough that Nokia, the leading manufacturer of Microsoft’s mobile operating system, sold 8.8 million Lumia brand devices despite losing money once again. Though the overall Nokia group ended the third quarter with a profit of EU 118 million (US $162.47 million), the Devices division reported a net loss of EU 86 million ($118.41 million). Nokia would have had a better performance this quarter, which explains why the company chose to sell the Device division to Microsoft.

Microsoft still has reasons to be pleased with the company it plans to assume control of next year. Though 8.8 million Lumias sold is well off from the tens of millions Apple or Samsung might sell in a quarter, it’s still a massive upgrade from the 2.9 million Lumias sold during the same quarter last year. Nokia has made progress in increasing sales thanks to lower-cost models like the Lumia 521 and pushing its products heavily in emerging markets, something that Microsoft told us is key to its strategy to improve Windows Phone’s position.

Once the Nokia sale is complete, Microsoft will obtain Nokia’s engineering and design talent, have access to a wealth of patents and technical knowhow, and be able to continue using the Lumia brand. The company will also have more cash to meet the challenges that Nokia was unable to conquer as it sought to return to profitability.


Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones and 14.1 million iPads in Q4 2013 Read more at sold 33.8 million iPhones and 14.1 million iPads in Q4 2013

Apple today released its earnings report for the fourth quarter of its fiscal year 2013. For the three months ending on September 28, Apple sold more iPhones than it ever has in the quarter, and increased its sales totals for the iPad compared to the previous year. Apple sold 33.8 million iPhones for the September quarter, up from the 26.9 million sold during the same period in 2012. A significant reason for the increase was that thanks to a record opening weekend selling the latest iPhone in more countries and having a second model to sell, the iPhone 5C.

Strong sales throughout the quarter showed that Apple is consistently selling its smartphones to a large number of customers. The company also saw a slight uptick in tablets as iPad sales reached 14.1 million sold, up from 14 million the previous year. Apple’s growth in tablets wasn’t very high because the launch of a new iPad and iPad Mini were terribly kept secrets that consumers expected. As a result, the company is likely to have a much stronger sale period next quarter, which will include the launch of the latest iPads and sales from the busy holiday shopping season.

Apple generated $37.5 billion of revenue and $7.5 billion in net profit, compared to $36 billion in revenue and $8.2 billion profit last year. International sales accounted for 60 percent of revenue, the exact amount Apple reported in 2012.

HP said to be shopping around webOS mobile patents

HP is reportedly looking to offload some of its mobile patents to the highest payer. Included in the portfolio are patents related to webOS, the mobile operating system they inherited as part of the $1.2 billion acquisition of Palm in 2010.

The company has approached potential buyers regarding the patent portfolio according to unnamed sources as reported by Bloomberg. These patents are much more attractive than they once were because HP has removed some restrictive conditions attached to them. This also means HP could command a higher price tag, the sources said.

It would seem that webOS is the tech-world equivalent to the adopted child that no family wants to keep for the long haul. The OS was created by Palm and launched in January 2009 as the successor to Palm OS and appeared on a couple of devices before being absorbed by HP.

HP planned to use the mobile OS with multiple new products including smartphones, tablets and printers. Most of those plans never materialized and the few HP devices that ultimately launched running webOS never took off.

HP eventually discontinued support for webOS and kept it on life support as an open source platform. Earlier this year, yet another company got involved with it as HP agreed to license webOS code to LG Electronics for use in their web-enabled Smart TVs. As per that deal, HP was allowed to retain all patents related to the operating system.

Apple has sold 170 million iPads that use 475,000 tablet-specific apps

“Everybody seems to be making a tablet,” Apple CEO Tim Cook said at today’s iPad announcement, “Even some of the [initial] doubters.” Despite the onslaught of tablet competition from Microsoft, Amazon, Google, and other tablet manufacturers, Apple remains the most used and best selling device line, Cook claims. He also noted that the iPad has more than 475,000 apps in the App Store built specifically for the iPad. With a new line of products being announced in a few minutes, expect the numbers of tablets sold to climb soon.

Nexus 5 will cost $359 for 16GB

Google Nexus 5 16GB (made by LG)
Google Nexus 5 16GB (made by LG)


The leaked images and tidbits about the Google Nexus 5 have been more than just a collection of drips in recent weeks. We now know the key specs for the device, what it will look like, and now, courtesy of a premature product listing on Google Play, we even know the price. Last night, Google briefly showed a product preview for the Nexus 5. It was quickly removed, but not before people managed to grab the image you see above and see that the Nexus 5 will cost $359 for a 16GB model.

Moving away from the 8GB models released last year, Google has shifted to a higher starting capacity for the Nexus 5. It also promises to “Capture the everyday and the epic in fresh new ways,” according to the removed listing, hinting that we should see some improvements to the admittedly weak camera found in the Nexus 4.

Google does not have many surprises left in store for when the Nexus 5 becomes official. We already know that the phone will have a 1080p HD 4.95-inch display, a 2.3 GHz Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, 2GB of RAM, NFC, a 2,300 mAh battery with inductive charging, an 8-megapixel and 1.3-megapixel camera combo, and 4G LTE support. With the addition of the price and previous leaks about Android 4.4, all that remains is a release date.

Amazon Kindle phone will be made by HTC

Amazon’s long-rumored Android smartphone has popped up in the news once again, and the latest whispers suggest that struggling smartphone manufacturer HTC will actually develop the “Kindle phone.” The Financial Times cites unnamed sources that say that HTC has actually developed three devices for Amazon, one of which is “at an advanced stage of development” but may not be released because Amazon has supposedly balked at releasing the phone before.

Were Amazon to release a smartphone, HTC would be the manufacturing partner, according to the Financial Times. It would be familiar territory for HTC, which has served as the manufacturing partner for the first Nexus phone and spent years building smartphones that were released under the banner of other firms before it sought to popularize its own. A similar partnership would likely play out with Amazon. HTC would design the phone in collaboration with Amazon and then handle the manufacturing, but Amazon’s internal team would design and maintain the associated software.

Seasonal rumors of Amazon releasing a smartphone have appeared since the Amazon Kindle tablet debuted in 2011. As recently as last month, Amazon left the door open that it might release a phone when it shot down rumors of selling a free phone that it would use as leverage to attract more digital sales. The Wall Street Journal claimed in May Amazon was developing a 3D hologram phone, and Bloomberg reported in July of 2012 that Amazon would release a smartphone. Neither report has proven accurate yet, so users should definitely not take the latest source, however credible it may be, as a definite sign that Amazon has plans on a phone in the near future.


Microsoft to Give Phablets a Chance

Microsoft on Monday announced its third update to Windows Phone 8.

It will support bigger, higher-resolution screens, paving the way for WinPho 8 devices with 5- and 6-inch 1080p HD touchscreens that will have six Live Tiles across instead of four.

There will also be a host of new features.

Simultaneously, Microsoft has launched the Windows Phone Preview for developers.

“Support for larger-screen phones closes a gap in the range of devices running Microsoft platforms,” Rob Sanfilippo, a research vice president at Directions on Microsoft, told TechNewsWorld.


What the WinPho8 Update Adds

The Windows Phone 8 GDR 3 update will offer a bigger Start screen.

Built-in apps and Hubs for email, photos and people, as well as music and videos will be scaled up to leverage the larger screen.

WinPho 8 GDR 3 will support the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, following in the footsteps of Samsung and LG, which are using it in their latest flagship Android smartphones.

Microsoft has added Driving Mode, which will silence the phone and send out automatic responses to messages to reduce distraction when a user is driving. This comes two years after T-Mobile launched its Drive Smart app on Android smartphones.

Other new features include screen rotation lock, better storage management, WiFi access out of the box, and improved connections for Bluetooth accessories.

Reaching Out to Devs

Windows Phone Preview for Developers, launched Monday, will give devs early access to WinPho updates so they can verify their apps work with them.

Participants have to own developer-unlocked smartphones, be registered Windows Phone Store developers, or be registered Windows Phone App Studio developers.

Microsoft “certainly continues to pursue developers to create and publish Windows Phone apps,” Sanfilippo said. The program “will get developers early access to the OS update, which will help them ensure existing apps work with the update and create new apps that take advantage of the latest features.”

Users’ Reception for GDR3

Reactions to Microsoft’s blog post about WinPho8 GDR3 were mixed.

Although the release garnered some praise, one commenter signed in as “jhp2025” claimed to have bought a pair of Windows Phones and given them away, saying Android offered more freedom.

A number of questions were raised: when VPN support would be included; why WiFi WPS was not included; whether the Facebook-chat bug would be fixed in GDR3. The lack of Xbox movies drew complaints.

Commenter “slaythoven” pointed out that Windows Phone 7 Build 7003 had orientation lock, which is in WinPho 8 GDR3, and asked why Microsoft had removed it.

Nixing the Negativity

Microsoft announced a Windows Phone Enterprise pack earlier this year that is expected to be available in early 2014 and is supposed to enable VPN support, Directions on Microsoft’s Sanfilippo said.

“Windows 8.1 offers new VPN features, so it’s clear that Microsoft has been giving attention to VPNs to ensure its products work well for users that need to connect to work environments,” he added.

Microsoft probably delayed moving to the Snapdragon 800 because “end customers are mostly unaware of the processors in their devices so it’s not a big marketing payoff,” explained Sanfilippo.

The View From 28,000 Feet

Microsoft’s making GDR3 workable on larger screens is “a good and correct move,” Michael Morgan, senior analyst at ABI Research, told TechNewsWorld.

“This might be more of a push for Nokia than it is for Microsoft,” he speculated. “I hear Nokia is working on a phablet.”

The phablet market is “continuing to grow at a very strong rate,” Morgan said. “Phablets are higher price-point items, and Microsoft won’t have to worry about finding the low end, which it can’t play at.”