Nokia

Nokia promoting his Lumia 925 at German carrier o2

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As some of you know, I am working for the German phone carrier o2. Today a Nokia promotion team visited us to show us more of the Lumia awesomeness and gifted us some ice cream.

The promotion is called “Nacht.Sicht.Gerät”, which means “Night. Sight. Device”.

Within the truck Nokia showed off the FatBoy chargers and the Purity wireless headset. They weren’t working with my current Lumia 925 testing device – the promoter said it was due to the fact that my battery was already full. Honestly I think there was no charger in it.

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There was also the possibility to win something. For that, Nokia put up giant Lumia Buzzer automat, where you had to hit the buzzer as often as the screen said. The price was some Nokia Lumia swag (yes, that’s me on that pic).

 

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At least Nokia was demonstrating Nokia SmartCam. You could wear a “Man of Steel” costume and be photographed behind in front of this scenery from the movie:

 

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Sadly I did not find the time to let me photograph there. Funny thing:  there was also some Kryptonite Candy swag (get it?).

Here one final image for all the swag I was able to get:

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Good to see Nokia is still pushing their Lumia phone(s) and their accessories and helping Windows Phone to get more acceptance.

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, 0 comments

Sean’s Editorial: This Is How I Use “Rooms” For WP


With the release of Windows Phone 8, there are a tremendous number of new features available Many aren’t available for WP7, or are but have inherent limitations. Some are major additions and some are minor changes. The feature that I find myself utilizing more than any other option on my Lumia 920 is the new Rooms feature. If you haven’t had the opportunity to upgrade to WP8 yet, Rooms are similar to Groups for WP7, but with many additional and VERY useful features. My wife and I both have WP8 Lumia 920’s, so I’ve had the chance to use the Rooms feature often and will give you some of my experiences, the positives of Rooms, and some of the needed improvements to this unique feature from Microsoft.

 
Bare with me for a second, this is more of a recap of  Rooms before I better describe how it has become such a vital aspect of my phone and world. First, let’s start off with what the Rooms feature is. Like Groups, Rooms is a collection of contacts from your People Hub that you want to group together for easier and more organized communications with. The 1st big difference between the 2: Groups are people you add into a hub without their permission, making it easier for YOU, the user, to better keep track of up to 25 people and communicate with them via the various integrated services on WP. Unlike a Group though, a Room requires you to be invited to or for you to invite participants in a Room you’ve created. A Room can’t exceed 10 members and you’re limited to participating in no more than 5 Rooms at a time. In addition invites are only sent via SMS, so you need to be in network range to send or accept. Once you’re in a Room, WiFi can then be used as your connection. This was an issue for me personally, as my home is not within my carrier’s network range. I had to wait to get into reception before accepting an invitation and sending an invite for a different Room.
Many of you have read about the features included in Rooms for WP8, so I won’t spend a lot of time detailing what’s already been written. It has a very simple minimalist feel and look to it, but does a great job of capturing the essence of Windows Phone with all the integrated services right at your fingertips and easily accessible. Here’s the short of what a Room consists of:

     

  • Members Screen-live tile of the members of the room/What’s New via social networks/Member Photos/Group email/Settings
  • Messenger-IM with the members in your Room
  • Calendar-Add/View/Edit events
  • Photos-Add/View/Comment on Room members uploaded pics/
  • Notes-Add/View/Edit notes added by Room members

 

So who is this wonderful feature, created by the reinvigorated and innovative team at Microsoft, available to? If you own a WP8, you’re in luck as all the services come stock and work great with your device. What if you own a WP7…or maybe you own a WP8 but know someone with an iPhone that you would like to share this experience with. Well there’s good and bad news. It IS available to  WP7 and iPhone owners, but with limitations. I’m personally in a Room with my wife and in another with other Lumia 920 owners, so I have to be honest…I’m not sure of how well the non WP8’s behave in a Room. This is how Microsoft describes the experience for non WP8 Room members:

If you have a Windows Phone 7 or an iPhone, you can join a room that someone with a Windows Phone 8 creates and invites you to. You’ll be able to set up the room’s shared calendar on your phone and view, create, and edit events on it. Your changes will appear on the other members’ phones and their changes will sync to yours. Other Rooms features work best on Windows Phone 8. Group chat(Messenger) in Rooms is only available on Windows Phone 8. Room members with a Windows Phone 7 or iPhone won’t be able to participate.

 

  

Rather than focusing on the specs, I’m going to spend my time in this piece talking about how I personally use these features on a daily basis, quite perhaps, more than any other aspect of my Lumia 920. As I mentioned before, I’m involved in 2 rooms currently. The Lumia 920 Room is a group of 10 owners of the 920 where we discuss many things 920 related and some other things too. It’s a great way for me to stay connected with other Winphans and feel the WP love! The second Room I’m involved in is one my wife and I made to stay connected in our busy world. I’m going to talk about that first as it garners most of my time and well…I’m using it as I’m writing on my laptop this very second.

 

I’m sure many of you can relate to this description: I am married, we have children, we both work, our kids have busy schedules, somebody wants this, somebody wants that, etc. Well the same holds true for my wife and I. We both have busy schedules and we have children, but don’t want to lose out on what matters most, each other. Our Room has really helped to make us more communicative throughout the day and easier to share the day’s doing even though we’re apart. It’s why we fell in love in the first place, we enjoyed sharing experiences and thoughts together. We are in an era however, where finding time with your loved one or people you care about becomes harder due busier schedules, finances, and other various factors. A Room is really the 1st of its kind. It offers a bit of a social network feel, but in a much more intimate setting and brings some easy ways to connect the important and not so important part of your day to the person or people who are important in your day.

 

Obviously, the most used feature of a Room is the Messenger, or chat. This is a downfall of WP7, the lack of integrated Messenger just doesn’t make sense. Aside from FB chat, KIK, and a couple of others, there is slim pickins’ when it comes to IM and Window Phone. Having Messenger integrated gives another very stable IM choice to people considering a switch and with something as important as messaging, more is better. I spend most of my time near my home and as I mentioned above, my carrier’s network does not reach to it. A simple SMS is out of the question and most SMS apps have unreliable servers making texting a challenge often. My wife however, works in town and is in network range so SMS is fine. However, if my apps server is down then she can’t reach me then we’re back at square one. That has been our experience until having a Room. There are times were are carrier’s network is bad, but Messenger is always reliable. What is great for my wife is that the message shows up in her Messaging Hub just like a SMS or FB chat does. This gives you the option to have a live tile for your Room or not, either way, you’re going to get a notification.

 

An interesting feature to a Room’s Messenger chat is the storage of conversations in your Windows Live email. It’s not always consistent as to what will or won’t show up in your inbox, but some items do appear there. In the long run, if Microsoft straightens that out and has a Room consistently feeding through your email, that’s just one more example of 3 Microsoft’s 3 screens concept. If your WP isn’t near you, you don’t have to miss out on a conversation. Your Messenger also comes with voice to text dictation, which is a great little feature. In addition to the above features, Messenger allows you to check-in with your location and with the tap of the map, other members can look at their Local Scout for where you are.

 

So my wife and I both love to take pics and save pics we see on the internet and then share them with each other. Instead of having to send emails back and forth or sit and wait for the other person to scroll through their various photo albums looking for that one pic they saved, it’s much easier to use the SkyDrive integration and share it directly to our Room’s photo album. You can comment on a pic while viewing it as well, which can lead to long threads of their own aside from Messenger. Because of the SkyDrive integration it’s super easy to upload any image directly to the Room’s album, whenever you share an image you’ll see the Rooms you participate in as an option. You’ll also be notified via your live tile when a member uploads a new image. On a recent trip to L.A., my wife was able to almost stream her day in pics posted to our album. It was wonderful being able to experience things almost in live time as she showed me the world from her eyes. More than that, it was fairly easy for her to keep me up to the moment with how simple and NOT time-consuming it is to share. In addition to viewing pics while in your Room, your shared Room album is stored to SkyDrive allowing you to access those same pics from your laptop, tablet, Xbox, as well as your phone’s Photo hub. Ahem…3 screen concept yet again!

 

When you have busy schedules, that means you have filled up calendars and keeping them all in order can be a mind-boggling and time-consuming task! Your Room comes equipped with its own calendar that has also been integrated with SkyDrive thus adding itself to your existing Windows Live Calendar without you having to do anything. You might think “I’ve already linked my Windows Live Calendar with someone, how is this any different?”. The answer is this: When you add a new appointment/event with your phone’s calendar, you must enter an attendee to share it with and an email is sent with a request to accept or decline…too many steps, too much time, and things that can go wrong. With your Room, when a new item is added, it automatically includes all members and then places it in their calendar. No emails to accidentally end up in bulk or junk and get missed, just set it and that is that! Events from your Room will show up on your Calendar tile on your WP, laptop, or tablet. Yes, I know, 3 screens…I cannot say enough about SkyDrive and the way Windows Phone has integrated it into our devices!

 

The last main feature I’ll talk about is Note. Your Room’s Notes is a shared folder using your WP’s One Note, which has been integrated with SkyDrive allowing for you guessed it, a 3 screen concept! Start a Note or add to it. Christmas is right around the corner and my wife and I haven’t done a lick of shopping for gifts yet! We both are quite busy so it can be hard to both end up at a store looking for Christmas goodies at the same time. No worries, we’re going to sit together and using our Room make a gift Note. We can add or eliminate items later whether we are in the same room or in different areas with SkyDrive. If I buy a gift, just notate it on the Note and my wife can see not to get it. She doesn’t have to stand waiting for me to reply to a text or email if she’s at a store and isn’t sure if I already got it. We’ve all waited for that damn text or message at one point or another, be honest. NO MORE! If she thinks of something for me to pick up while I’m shopping for groceries, BAM…add it to the Note and it’s just that simple! Like Messenger, Note also comes with voice to text dictation.

 

In addition to the features I described above, the members of the Room all appear in one spot as live tiles. The members live tile in a Room are the same as in your People hub, so each member’s live tile shows their social network updates dancing about on their tile and all contact info can be accessed there as well. One of the features that appealed to many of us early adopters of Windows Phone was the Hub concept. It still does to newcomers, not needing so many apps to do simple tasks unlike the device they recently left behind whether it be Android or iPhone. Well Windows Phone has done it again! I’ve seen many apps that attempted to emulate each one of these tasks individually but Microsoft has done a great job at building each service into WP8 and then offering a way to use them all at once without the need of an app.

So I’ve given you all the upsides to a Room. What are the things that could be improved upon? This is a much shorter list. I actually only have 1 legitimate complaint, the rest are things that need just a little tweaking. My major complaint is this: there is no way to mute a Room. If you have an active room, your phone could be alerting you for hours on end as your Room’s Messenger gets lit up by members. Keep in mind, members of a Room can be from all over the world so it’s always Windows Phone time somewhere in the world in my 920 Room. The ability to turn off a Room’s alerts would be great! At this point the only way to turn off chat alerts is by leaving the Room in entirety. Not a good solution.

Aside from that, I would like to see the ability for a Room to do a better job at linking its members social networks together. Because it’s Windows Live, we all share each other Windows Live contact info. What if I want to know someone’s Twitter, their other social networks, or other contact info. There isn’t a quick way to do it in a Room yet. Yes you can share contact info via email, but that’s an added step that usually won’t be taken.

My last thing I can see a bit of an issue with is less to do with a Room and more to do with a carrier’s network. If you have poor network coverage the Room definitely doesn’t function as well. Just because you have enough reception to text doesn’t mean you have a strong enough signal for a Room to operate in “Real Time”, you may notice delays in Messenger and troubles syncing with SkyDrive. When I’m on WiFi I have yet to face any issues however.

When I first heard of Rooms in June, I thought it was cool sounding but had no idea how useful and in the theme of Windows Phone Rooms would really be. In terms of normal non gimmick function and by that I mean function but not a selling ploy like Siri for example, I really think this is the clear choice for top addition to Windows Phone 8. I think it will take a second, but you will hear more and more about Rooms in time to come. There are so many ways to make a Room work for each person, the question is simple…how will you make your Room or Rooms work for you?

To learn more about Rooms for Windows Phone 8 just click here.

 

 

 

 

Posted by TheWinPhan in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, 2 comments

The WinPhan is joining msicc.net!


Well, I’m back. Some of you know me from Twitter, Facebook, and various WP news blog sites as WinPhan7. For those that don’t know me, nice to meet you. I’ve evolved slightly, I now go by a more encompassing title: The WinPhan, but you can also call me Sean. I’m not a developer, although I am interested in learning the trade. In all honesty, I use a chainsaw in the woods for a living…but MAN, do I love technology! More than that, I admire what Microsoft is doing to innovate technology!

I’m not going to make my first post too long, as you read more of my articles you’ll see I can be long winded on my soapbox. So here’s a little about myself and my love for Microsoft. I’ve never been a fan of Apple, their proprietary malarkey, the way they take advantage of their faithful consumer base, or their iPoop products! I have even more disdain for Google, their horrid mess of a mobile OS, their antics, and their dishonest ways! Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think Microsoft can walk on water. They’ve made some not so popular decisions, but speaking in terms of the past few years it’s my honest opinion that you would be hard pressed to find ANY company in ANY industry that has matched the innovation and positive movement that Microsoft has. With the release of Windows 8 and all that it encompasses, it’s a work of absolute beauty to me.

I’m married and have 2 out of our 4 kids still living at home so we have many Microsoft products. Currently we have the Xbox360, 9 Windows Phones(2 HTC 7 Pros, 2 HTC Titans, 1 Samsung Focus S, 2 Nokia Lumia 900’s, and 2 Nokia Lumia 920), 3 laptops(Acer Aspire with Windows 7, HP G72 with Windows 7, and my little HP Pavilion g6 is now running Windows 8), and a Zune HD. We even have a couple desktops and a couple Windows Mobile Phones sitting around, suffice to say, we are a Microsoft home.

The Windows Phone experience is what turned it all into a real passion for me though, yes even pre-Mango was a beautiful experience for me. It all just made sense, what it was, what was soon coming, and what needed to be done in the future. Here I sit now able to enjoy my Lumia 920 running WP8 and think a couple years back to the moment when the sales person tried to talk me into an Android as opposed to the little giant HTC 7 Pro. Best tech decision I ever made was right then! I’m blown away by the support Windows Phone offers, I’m blown away at how dedicated our dev community is, and I’m blow away by how unified and interactive our WinPhan community is! Like many of the readers here, I’m proud to have been part of Microsoft’s ground movement from the beginning, I’m a proud WinPhan!

I ‘ve got lots to say but I’ll save that for future posts. I’ll be writing more consistently now that winter nears and I find myself indoors a lot more. Thanks for reading and you can catch me on Twitter: @TheWinPhan

 

 

Posted by TheWinPhan in Microsoft, Windows, Windows Phone, Xbox, 7 comments

How to turn on Bing maps traffic outside the US on Windows Phone

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Recently Microsoft´s Bing-Team announced another achievement in the collaboration with Nokia. Bing Maps is now using Nokia´s Backend for Traffic and Geocoding.

As a Windows Phone user, I wanted to test this also on my Windows Phone. And sadly, as I am outside the US, it did not show up.

So I contacted Bing Germany via Twitter to ask what is going on there. They also thought it would be available equally to the PC´s version of Bing Maps. They had to ask the German Windows Phone team.

After a couple of hours, they answered that it yet has to be rolled out. But there is a workaround.

So here is my little guide:

Open Settings/Language Settings and scroll down until the browser- and search language-field and change it to “English (USA)”:

After saving this setting, open the maps app on your Windows Phone. If you click now on the application bar, your will recognize the “show traffic” option. Tap on it to activate.

After a short loading time, the actual traffic situation shows up on your Windows Phone:

You can switch the browser and search language setting back, but then the setting is always active. It should only be a matter of time until the feature is available in all languages directly.

I hope this little guide helps you to use this awesome feature. This guide should work with any language, I tested it with German and Italian, both time working perfectly. Feel free to leave a comment below.

You can read the German Bing blog post here.

Posted by msicc in Bing, Windows Phone, 0 comments

Windows Phone panorama comparison: Nokia vs. HTC

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Both Nokia and HTC are providing a Panorama picture function with their Windows Phone devices. Nokia released its “creativity suite”, while HTC integrated this feature in the camera app.

Both devices help you to create your panorama picture. HTC takes three photos, while Nokia takes four photos to create your panorama. I tested the function on a HTC Titan and a Nokia Lumia 800.

Let´s have a look at the HTC-helper:

HTC-Panorama-Helper

As you can see on the picture above, HTC uses a line for horizontal adjustment and on this line a dot to find the best point of shooting the next picture.

HTC-Panorama-Helper-taking-picture

Once you have reached the circle, the camera shots automatically the next picture.

Let´s have a look at the Nokia-helper:

Nokia-Panorama-Helper

As you can see on this picture, Nokia uses a different way to create panorama pictures. As mentioned above, Nokia takes four pictures for the panorama. Nokia uses a rectangle to give you help while positioning the device. It takes some time to figure this out, but once you are used to it, it is as easy as with the HTC panorama function.

Nokia-Panorama-Helper-taking-pic

Also Nokia´s app is taking pictures automatically once the best position is reached.

Now let´s compare the panoramas

First I want to show you two panoramas that I have taken outside (first is HTC, second Nokia):

HTC-Panorama-outside

Nokia-Panorama-outside

The HTC panorama is not as wide as the Nokia panorama. Of course this is due to the difference of taking three vs. four pictures. The HTC camera has made the sun flair too lightening, which disturbs a little bit in my eyes. The Nokia panorama looks more natural, even with this difficult painting. Both panoramas are acceptable, but there is room for improvements on both sides.

Let me show you two panoramas from my living room (first is HTC, second Nokia):

HTC-Panorama-inside

Nokia-Panorama-inside

Here you can see even more difference between the panoramas caused by the different numbers of pictures that are taken for stitching the panorama. The Nokia one is again wider than the one from HTC. The HTC camera once again has a problem with the lightening (see the windows), while the Nokia camera takes it easy and made a good photo at this part. But on the first photo the Nokia camera had a problem with the focus.

Conclusion:

Both devices have a good camera, and both cameras did their work over all good. HTC gets a bonus point as the panorama shot is integrated into the camera software, while Nokia´s bonus is a wider range for the panorama. As I do not take panoramas all the time, I am fine with using an app. In my eyes the Nokia one is a little better, because lightening is not such a strong problem as on the HTC Titan.

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, 0 comments

Nokia Lumia 900 Windows Phone shows up in Germany, is available for pre-order

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This morning, doing my everyday internet tour, I visited also Nokia´s German site. There I registered there is a new phone showing in front: Nokia Lumia 900.

The international version has no LTE on board, but HSPA+.

If you missed the technical data of this really nice piece of technology, check the list:

  • 4,3 inch ClearBlack-AMOLED touch screen (10,9 cm)
  • 8 MP rear camera with Carl Zeiss optics and dual LED-flash
  • 1 MP front facing camera for video calls
  • Wi-Fi 802.11 b/g/n with WEP/WPA/WPA2
  • Bluetooth 2.1 + EDR
  • 512 MB RAM
  • 1,4 GHz CPU (single core)
  • 1830mAh battery
  • Quad-band GSM and Quad-band WDCMA (UMTS)
  • HSPA+ 21 Mpbs
  • HSPA+ Dual Carrier 42 Mpbs (depends on your carrier)
  • proximity sensor
  • compass
  • 2 microphones
  • gyroscope

The Lumia 900 comes with preinstalled apps:

  • Tango Video Calls
  • Bing Maps
  • App-Highlights
  • Nokia Maps
  • Nokia Navigation
  • Nokia Contacts Transfer
  • Nokia Music

Interesting bit: the site says it comes with Windows Phone 7.5 Commercial Release 2, so this will be the official name of Windows Phone Tango?

Pre-order now!

The german site getgoods.de has the Lumia 900 listed. You can pre-order it now, but you will have to wait at least 4 until 6 weeks until it ships. The price is 499 Euro (655 US-Dollar).

nokia-lumia-900-pre-order

Until now, none of the three big German carriers has the device listed on their websites. So for now this will be the only way to pre-order it in Germany (If you found another, just leave the link in comments below).

Personally, I can´t wait until the Lumia 900 launches here in Germany! Other countries in Europe (like the UK) where mentioned to launch the device on April, 27th. No word until now from Nokia for Germany.

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, 0 comments
Nokia tablet with WoA in the make?

Nokia tablet with WoA in the make?

Nokia-tab

I was struggling with myself  about this post a bit, but this rumors are to good to not write about it.

This morning MS_nerd postet a few words about a Tablet with WoA on it:

I do not see a reason why this not could be true. So Nokia seems to be already working on a tablet as many of us hoped before.

What do you all think about this?

Posted by msicc in Windows, 2 comments
Nokia Lumia 900 review leaks and gets removed

Nokia Lumia 900 review leaks and gets removed

Nokia Lumia 900 review leaks and gets removed

Today a review about the long awaited Nokia Lumia 900 was posted at chipchick.com, only to get removed immediately.

While we don’t know the reason why the article was removed, we were able to restore a cached copy.

The article starts with a short comparison between the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 900. For the author Helena Stone the Lumia 900 is basically a “suped-up” Lumia 800, that has LTE on board and a larger display.

Read my full article at 1800PocketPC.com

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, 0 comments

Nokia´s US Windows Phone marketing campaign revealed

nokia-smartphonebetatest

Nokia knows how to gain attention with their marketing campaigns. Today (European Time) Nokia launched a new site. This site tells us that smartphones before were only betatests.

To underline this, three small videos with everyday situations are shown, where a popular phone in the past had problems.

The restrictions that are shown in the videos are three of the most famous of the iPhone and Nokia shows that there is hope.

Read my full article at 1800PocketPC.com

Posted by msicc in Windows Phone, 0 comments