Nokia today started the roll out of its Lumia Amber software update. The update, which ships on top of the Windows Phone 8 GDR 2 update, brings a variety of improvements to Nokia's Windows Phone 8 devices, including improved image processing (better camera ouput), the availability of Nokia Smart Camera to all devices and Nokia Pro Camera for select devices, improved lockscreen and display settings features (including the addition of "Glance" and "double tap to wake"), the return of flip to silence functionality, in place update for HERE maps data, support for call and SMS blocking, and more.
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App Highlights, which is pre-loaded on most Lumia devices, has served as Nokia's primary app promotion and recommendation channel, and is an important part of the company's app strategy. From today, it will be replaced, on Windows Phone 8 devices, by the App Social service and app. App Social, which was previously available through Nokia Beta Labs under the name App Highlights Social, adds a social and community element to the existing App Highlights concept, including the ability to curate your own list of app recommendations.
Microsoft has released a beta of a new tool, Windows Phone App Studio, that lets you build basic Windows Phone apps in your browser for free. It is envisioned as a way for first time developers to get started with app creation without having to know any code, but may also be useful for more experienced developers as a prototyping tool.
Yesterday, Kantar released its latest set of Worldpanel data (June 2013) about smartphone sales data in a number of countries. The data shows continued year-on-year growth for Windows Phone in the UK (4.5% to 8.6%), France (2.3% to 9.0%), Mexico (1.9% to 7%), Australia (5.2% to 5.3%) and the US (2.9% to 4.0%). However, some markets, such as Germany (6.1% to 5.9%) and Italy (8.3% to 7.8%, show small drops in market share, painting a mixed picture for Windows Phone.
Nokia today announced the Lumia 625, a mid range Windows Phone 8 smartphone, with a 4.7 inch screen and LTE (4G) connectivity. The WVGA (800 x 480) IPS LCD screen is the largest on a Lumia phone to date. Other key specifications include 8GB of internal memory, microSD card support, a dual-core Snapdragon S4 processor running at 1.2GHz, 512MB RAM, 2000mAh integrated battery, and a 5 megapixel camera with LED flash.
Nokia has released its Q2 2013 results, reporting an operating loss of €115 million (up from a loss of €824 million in Q2 2012), with net sales of €5.695 billion (down 24% year-on-year). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating loss was €33 million. The margin in Devices and Services was -1.2% (up from from -11.8% in Q2 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 7.4 million (all Lumia), up from 6.1 million in Q1, while mobile phone volumes were 53.7 million, down from 55.8 million in Q1, and down 27% year-on-year.
Earlier this month Kantar released its latest set of Worldpanel data (May 2013) about smartphone market share in a number of countries. The data shows continued year-on-year growth for Windows Phone in the UK (4.1% to 7.8%), France (2.0% to 7.4%), Italy (6.9% to 9.7%), and the US (3.7% to 4.6%) over the last year, although some markets, such as Germany (6.5% to 6.1%), show small drops in market share.
At Nokia's "zoom reinvented" event in New York, Stephen Elop, Nokia's CEO, announced the Nokia Lumia 1020, bringing the best of all the company's PureView camera technology into the one modern Windows Phone device. Nokia's new imaging flagship delivers a 1/1.5" (redesigned) 41MP BSI sensor with mechanical shutter, Optiical Image Stabilisation (OIS), Xenon flash (with new flat capacitor tech) and Rich Recording stereo audio capture.
Other notable feature points include a custom Nokia Pro Camera app that gives greater control over camera capture settings, with 'dual capture', plus an optional camera grip accessory (PD-95G) that gives a tripod mounting point and extra battery capacity, 32GB of internal storage, a 4.5" PureMotion HD+ AMOLED display, and a polycarbonate unibody design.
On July 11th, in New York, Nokia is holding an event where it is expected to announce a new Windows Phone powered imaging flagship. The event kicks off at 16:00 BST (15:00 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.
Nokia has announced that an update to HERE Drive / HERE Drive+ will be released later this week. The new version, which will drop the current beta labelling, will reintroduce the traffic overview and My Commute features that were available in select markets in the Windows Phone 7.5 version of the app. In addition, HERE Drive+ will become available in more markets for non-Nokia devices and it will now be possible to upgrade HERE Drive by buying a global navigation license via an in-app purchase (€15.49).