Nokia's first NFC enabled Windows Phone smartphone, the Nokia Lumia 610 NFC, was announced today at the WIMA conference in Monaco. It is an NFC variant of the Lumia 610, which will launch first on Orange's European networks during Q3 2012. The NFC functionality allows for seamless pairing with NFC enabled Bluetooth accessories and the reading of NFC tags with a single tap. The handset has also been certified for contactless payments with both Mastercard's PayPass and Visa's payWave solutions.
More than 80,000 apps have now been published in the Windows Phone Marketplace and new content is currently being added at the rate of 340 apps per day. At the time of writing, 82,234 apps have been published. Of these, 29,135 were added in the first quarter of 2012 and 10,228 were added in the last month. These apps come from 20,327 different publishers.
Following on from the widespread release of Nokia's big '12070' update for the Lumia 800, I latched onto one particular item in the changelog: 'White balance issues with the Lumia 800 camera have been fixed, along with other camera performance tweaks'. Colour issues were at the heart of my criticisms of the original Lumia 800 firmware, so I was keen to see how much things have improved.
The roll out of the third software update for the Nokia Lumia 800 has now commenced. The update, firmware revision number 1600.2487.8107.12070, delivers significantly improved battery life, improves audio quality and fixes a number of bugs. As is standard for Windows Phone, updates have to be done via Zune Desktop on the PC or the Windows Phone Connector on the Mac.
Following on from Micosoft's official launch of Windows Phone in China, Nokia held its own launch event today to announce the Nokia Lumia 800C, a CDMA variant of the Lumia 800, which will be available through exclusive launch partner China Telecom this April with an unsubsidised price of 3599 RMB (£360). Also announced was the Nokia Lumia 610C, a CDMA variant of Nokia's cheapest Windows Phone device, which will go on sale later in Q2.
Microsoft held an event in Beijing today to formally mark the arrival of Windows Phone in China. Windows Phone was shown running a Chinese-language interface, with support for both simplified and traditional Chinese and it was announced there are now more than 2,000 Chinese language apps in the Windows Phone Marketplace.
An update to Nokia Maps, version 1.3, is now available from the Windows Phone Marketplace. The new version adds support for favourites (saved) places and includes the ability to share routes via email or social networks. The app is currently only available for Lumia handsets, though Nokia have indicated it will be available for all Windows Phone handsets in due course.
Nokia Drive 2.0 is now available to download from the Windows Phone Marketplace. The updated version enables full offline functionality, which means not only can you pre-load maps, you can now also plan your route (and be rerouted) without using a data connection. Other new features include speed alerts, a redesigned navigation dashboard and improved access to previously entered locations.
Creative Studio is a free app released by Nokia exclusively for its Lumia Windows Phone devices. It is a photo creation and manipulation suite that allows you to apply effects (filters), carry out basic editing tasks and capture panoramic images. Effects can be applied to existing images (from albums), but there's also a live camera mode, which shows the effect applied in real-time before you capture an image.
Following its announcement at Mobile World Congress, Nokia Transport has been made available for the Lumia range via Nokia Beta Labs. The service currently provides transport information for 512 cities across 46 countries – the USA enjoys the lion's share of coverage. While Nokia Drive provides in-car navigation, Nokia Transport has been made to help you plan a journey via public transport. For example, when planning a trip across London, the application will advise you which underground lines to take, and which parts of the journey require you to walk. The walking parts of a journey are complemented by a deep-link to pedestrian navigation in Nokia Maps.