Guess what Nokia is up to next?

The question everyone is looking an answer to after the acquisition of its smartphone arm by Microsoft.

Yesterday, Nokia teased a mysterious black box with the company’s logo on its Twitter feed. According to this cryptic tweet (below), Sebastian Nystrom, Head of Product Business, Nokia, will answer the question at the Slush 14 conference in Finland today.

Since a brand spanking new smartphone is out of the question, the new product could be anything… Though it seems to be a streaming box or maybe even a tiny PC?

What do you think will be unveiled by Nokia today? Sound off in the comments section below and let us know!

Advertisements

Microsoft leaks its Surface Mini in Pro’s user manual

When Microsoft announced its Surface Pro 3 back in May, everyone expected a new Surface Mini tablet to accompany it. Although we didn’t get one, it seems the device was (still is?) definitely a part of Microsoft’s plans. The Surface Mini has been mentioned numerous times in an official Surface Pro 3 user manual that was published online.

It’s been reported that Microsoft axed its plans to announce the Surface Mini just days before its May 20 event in New York City. It’s still unclear why that happened, or whether the device will be unveiled at a later date. But with no Surface RT part of Microsoft’s future plans, it seems feasible to think that the Surface Mini could take its place.

 

“You’ll pair your new pen with Surface Mini a little later during setup,” reads the Microsoft user manual, in reference to Surface Pen setup.

 

The device is also mentioned in a section on using OneNote, and another on the rotation lock feature in Windows 8, The Verge reports. However, it seems the online manual has now been pulled.

If the Surface Mini does come to fruition, it will probably be powered by Windows 8 RT and carry a comparably more affordable price tag enabling Microsoft to compete with rival tablets such as the iPad mini. The cheapest Surface Pro 3 will cost you a whopping $799, while last year’s Surface 2 starts at $449. The latest iPad mini, on the other hand, starts at just $399.

Microsoft releases official “Files” File manager for WP8.1

Microsoft has recently released its Files app; if you’re running Windows Phone 8.1, you can now dig through folders to open and manipulate documents stored anywhere on your device. The interface is in no comparison to the PC experience, but it should be useful for offloading photos to an SD card or deleting videos that are chewing up space. If you’re already running Microsoft’s latest mobile OS, you only have to open the Windows Phone Store and download the file browser.

Files_Screens

Here’s the set of features we get in this version 1.0 release:

  • Access files stored on your phone and SD card
  • Browse, search and launch files
  • Easily share one file or multiple files
  • Create folders to organize your files
  • Copy, move, rename and delete files

With Files you can access your phones documents, downloads, music, pictures, pictures and more, it doesn’t matter if it’s on your SD card or on you’re the internal phone storage. It’s basic, but gets the job done.

Now, this much awaited piece of software is only compatible with devices running on the Windows Phone 8.1. So, there aren’t many of you who will be able to run this on your Windows Phone as currently you either have to own one of the four phones running WP8.1 — The Nokia Lumia 630, Lumia 635, Yezz Billy 4.0 and 4.7, or you can register as a Windows phone Developer and get the Developer Preview on your phone.

 

Skype to get ‘Live Voice Translation’ beta later this year [Demo Video]

On the Code Conference stage in California, Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella announced an upcoming feature for Skype: Real Time Voice Translation.

The demonstration showed a German speaker speaking to an English speaker. The English words automatically were repeated by the computer in German, while the German speech was automatically spoken back by the computer in English.

Satya Nadella, Microsoft, Code Conference

According to German speaking audience members at the conference, the translation software performed “pretty good” but not perfectly. 

Skype Translator results from decades of work by the industry, years of work by our researchers, and now is being developed jointly by the Skype and Microsoft Translator teams. The demo showed near real-time audio translation from English to German and vice versa, combining Skype voice and IM technologies with Microsoft Translator, and neural network-based speech recognition.

Continue reading Skype to get ‘Live Voice Translation’ beta later this year [Demo Video]

Google overtakes Apple to become the “BrandZ Most Valuable Brand” of 2014

Millward Brown’s annual BrandZ study, which was released today, declares that US search engine Google has overtaken rival technology titan Apple as the world’s top brand in terms of value. This is a reversal from the previous 3 studies, which found Apple ranked just above Google.

In the study, Google’s brand value shot up 40 percent in a year to $158,843,000, while Apple came in at only $147,880,000.

“Google has been extremely innovative this year with Google Glass, investments in artificial intelligence and a range of partnerships, all these activities send a very strong signal to consumers about the essence of Google,” said Benoit Tranzer, the head of Millward Brown France.

Apple, which dominated the top position for three straight years, saw its brand value fall by 20 percent to $147.88 billion.

The top 10 of the 100 slots were dominated by US firms. IBM was in third place at $107.54 billion, a fall of 4 percent, followed by Microsoft at $90.19 billion — a 29 percent rise.

Of course, this study doesn’t actually point to which company is the most valuable. Instead, Millward Brown uses a combination of financial information—including projected future sales—and customer surveys to determine how much a brand is worth—or how much of the company’s value comes from customers’ views of that company. The entire process of determining a brand’s value is detailed on the Millward Brown website.

Essentially, information from customer surveys is used to determine a “brand contribution” number for each company. This number refers to how likely customers are to remain loyal to a company and other similar factors. This “brand contribution” is then multiplied by certain financial figures and the resulting figure is “brand value.”

This “brand value” represents how much of the company’s overall value comes from its brand. If it sounds a non-scientific, that’s probably because it is. Still, it’s interesting to see how consumers and firms like Millward Brown rank these companies.

Microsoft announces the 12″ Surface Pro 3 to replace your iPad and MacBook

Today during Microsoft’s Surface event in New York City, the company has unveiled its new 12-inch, 4th Generation Intel Core i7 Surface Pro 3 tablet and it spent much of its presentation comparing it to the iPad and MacBook Air. Microsoft is pitching the 9.1mm thick tablet– the thinnest Intel Core product ever made– as the first true replacement for your iPad and laptop combination. Previously, it has been expected that Microsoft would release a smaller Surface device — the publicly named Surface Mini — but those rumours faded away with the passage of time. Satya Nadella kicked off the event by pushing back against Tim Cook’s line about convergence. Nadella said of Microsoft: “We clearly are not interested in building refrigerators or toasters.” The announcement comes following rumors that Apple is at the very least testing similar sized tablets for future iPad models.

According to Microsoft’s Panos Panay, “This is the tablet that can replace your tablet”

We have previously reported that Apple is working on a new split-screen, multitasking feature for iPad similar to what Microsoft offers on the Surface. Microsoft previously focused on attacking iPad in several marketing campaigns by highlighting the iPad’s inability to multitask with two apps side by side, in addition to its lack of Microsoft Office apps, which have since been released for iPad users in the App Store. So what’s Microsoft’s new angle? The company spent most of its presentation today talking about the fact that consumers still have to decide between a laptop and an iPad or buying both:

“96% of you who own an iPad also own a laptop.. Tabets… They’re designed for you to sit back and watch movies, they’re designed to read books, they’re made for browsing the web. Laptops are not designed that way at all. They’re designed to help you get stuff done.”

To that point, Microsoft pushed the message today that Surface Pro 3’s 12-inch screen makes it the perfect tablet to fix the problem mentioned above and make it a true laptop replacement. Microsoft said Surface Pro 3 weighs just 800g and it made that point by comparing it to a 13-inch MacBook Air onstage: studio-session-029 During its comparison, Microsoft said that the Surface Pro 3′s 12-inch display would provide 6 percent more content on-screen than on the MacBook Air’s 13-inch screen. The Surface Pro 3 has a 12-inch 2160-by-1440-pixel display and it moves to a 3:2 aspect ratio instead of 16:9 ratio used by previous Surface devices. Microsoft also has a new dock for the Surface Pro 3 that allows output to a 4K display. Microsoft has changed the kickstand, so that it has a nearly lie-flat mode that will allow for people to near flat. The new angle, 150 degrees, appears designed for pen work (below): studio-session-043 The company also announced new Covers, with 68% larger trackpads having 70% reduced friction, and a new Surface Pen which has a button to instantly open up OneNote. Both can be seen below! studio-session-044   studio-session-051 Rumours of a 12.9-inch display on a new iPad model started to get serious when The Wall Street Journal reported back in July that Apple was indeed testing larger screens for both its iPhones and tablets. The rumours continued with other sources of varying credibility reporting that a 12.9-inch model will arrive sooner rather than later and possibly as early as the first half of this year.

Microsoft Finally adds printing support and other features to Office for iPad Apps

Last month, we witnessed the blockbuster launch of  Microsoft’s Office for iPad. However, there was one critical feature that was missing — the ability to print from within the apps. Today, the company announced in a blog post that it’s updating the Word, Excel, and PowerPoint iPad apps with support for printing in addition to other new features and fixes.

Your top request is here! You can now print Word documents, Excel spreadsheets, and PowerPoint presentations to an AirPrint™ printer.

In Word for iPad, you can choose to print a document with or without markup.

In Excel, print a selected range, a single worksheet or an entire spreadsheet. Of course, you can select the pages or slides you want to print.

Check out the other features after the break…

Continue reading Microsoft Finally adds printing support and other features to Office for iPad Apps

Microsoft closes the deal, officially owns Nokia now

As expected, Nokia’s devices and services business has been officially acquired by Microsoft today. The date was set earlier this week, and it seals the $7.2 billion deal the two companies entered into last September. Nokia has long been allied with Microsoft, committing fully to Windows Phone, but as explained when the merger was announced, Microsoft’s new arm will continue to support feature phones like the Asha and Nokia X ranges, as well as smartphones (we’ll have to wait to see what “support” means exactly). The obligatory press releases from both companies don’t reveal any grand plans or shift in focus, but each side has issued some closing remarks, if you like.

Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella said:

“Today we welcome the Nokia Devices and Services business to our family. The mobile capabilities and assets they bring will advance our transformation. Together with our partners, we remain focused on delivering innovation more rapidly in our mobile-first, cloud-first world.”

Stephen Elop, former Nokia CEO who’s moved over to become head of Microsoft’s hardware division, penned an open letter with similar sentiment:

“As Microsoft and Nokia Devices and Services come together as an expanded family, we will unify our passion, dedication and commitment to bringing you the best of what our joint technologies have to offer(…) From today onwards, the possibilities are endless. As now, we’re one,

“Microsoft refers to Microsoft Corp. and its affiliates, including Microsoft Mobile Oy, a subsidiary of Microsoft. Microsoft Mobile Oy develops, manufactures and distributes Lumia, Asha and Nokia X mobile phones and other devices,” writes Microsoft.

Nokia will offer more details on the transaction during its its first quarter 2014 results announcement on April 29, 2014.

 

Continue reading Microsoft closes the deal, officially owns Nokia now

Nokia confirms Devices business to be rechristened as Microsoft Mobile

Ahead of the closure of Nokia-Microsoft deal before the end of April, a leaked letter in Finland has shown that Nokia Oyj will be soon renamed as Microsoft Mobile Oy.

The name change was leaked out by NokiaPowerUser when they published a leaked email to suppliers. Nokia has since confirmed the “Microsoft Mobile” rebrand by informing users about the change in its privacy policy(below).

Screen Shot 2014-04-21 at 7.59.57 PM

“Please note that upon the close of the transaction between Microsoft and Nokia, the name of Nokia Corporation/Nokia Oyj will change to Microsoft Mobile Oy. Microsoft Mobile Oy is the legal entity name that should be used for VAT IDs and for the issuance of invoices,” the company reportedly said in the leaked letter.

Oyj is a Finnish abbreviation for a “public stock company” while the Oy is a term for a “corporation”.

The closure of the deal doesn’t really mean the end of Nokia. Instead, it means an end to Nokia as the world knows it. Microsoft is buying Nokia’s mobile phones division, including the teams that make feature phones. But it is not buying the divisions that are responsible for network equipment business and Here maps. The company left behind by Microsoft will also keep rights to its name Nokia though Microsoft has bought the licence to use the Nokia brand name for 10 years as part of its $7.2 billion deal.
Additionally, Microsoft has bought rights to use Lumia and Asha brand names. But will this be the last time we see a Nokia-branded phone? Not exactly. Nokia could potentially come back and try again – but only after December 31, 2015. That scenario, however, will most likely won’t happen.

While the name Nokia will be replaced by Microsoft Mobile in the coming days in Finland — and possibly in other countries — not much will change for Nokia’s business partners in the immediate future.

“Under the terms of the sale, Microsoft will assume all rights, benefits and obligations of the Nokia Devices and Services business, including Nokia’s agreements with suppliers, customers and partners which pertain to the Devices and Services business. Therefore, the purpose of this letter is to update you that the current terms and conditions that you have with the Devices and Services business will not change,” Nokia notes in the leaked letter (at the end).

Originally, Nokia’s deal with Microsoft was supposed to close before the end of March. But the regulatory approval from Chinese authorities was received just several days ago. Nokia’s problems with Indian tax authorities over the manufacturing plant in Chennai have also reportedly delayed the deal. But there are reports that Nokia and Microsoft may agree to leave the Chennai plant out the deal in a bid to wrap up the sale before the end of April.

The full letter is posted below:

Dear Supplier,

On September 3, 2013, Nokia Corporation announced its intention to sell substantially all of its Devices and Services Business to Microsoft Corporation. We anticipate the transaction to close during April 2014.

Under the terms of the sale, Microsoft will assume all rights, benefits and obligations of the Nokia Devices and Services business, including Nokia’s agreements with suppliers, customers and partners which pertain to the Devices and Services business. Therefore, the purpose of this letter is to update you that the current terms and conditions that you have with the Devices and Services business will not change.

Please note that upon the close of the transaction between Microsoft and Nokia, the name of Nokia Corporation/Nokia Oyj will change to Microsoft Mobile Oy. Microsoft Mobile Oy is the legal entity name that should be used for VAT IDs and for the issuance of invoices.

NEW BUSINESS INVOICE DETAILS:

New name and registered address replacing Nokia Oyj/Nokia Corporation is:

Microsoft Mobile Oy

Keilaranta 7

02150 ESPOO

Finland

New Bank Accounts: Please note that Microsoft Mobile Oy is going to have new bank accounts, for further information please contact us via AP Portal: https://ap.nokia.com/APPortalExt/Login.aspx (registration required).

There is NO change in the invoice sending method, please continue to send the invoices via electronic channels as before.

For further information on changes (legal address/send to address) after the close of the transaction between Microsoft and the Nokia Devices and Services business, please check our Invoice Address Search tool (IAS): https://ap.nokia.com/APPortalExt/AddressSearch.aspx (No registration required), or contact us via AP Portal: https://ap.nokia.com/APPortalExt/Login.aspx (Registration required).

Please note that the only changes in the Purchase Order (PO) layout after the close of the transaction will be to remove the Nokia Logo and change the legal address, whereas the PO numbering format and sequence will not change.

Continuation of business with Nokia

In addition to becoming a supplier for Microsoft Mobile Oy, we appreciate that you might also remain a supplier to the continuing businesses of Nokia (i.e., NSN, HERE or Advanced Technologies) after the close of the transaction between Microsoft and Nokia Devices and Services. Nokia will communicate separately any changes in invoicing methods and addresses before the close of this transaction.

Best regards,

Nokia Devices and Services Financial Services Purchase to Pay Team

 If you like my articles don’t forget to Like, Share and Tweet below! You can also Like our Facebook page or follow us on Twitter to get all the latest updates!

Windows Phone 8.1 update allows users to add Passbook cards to Microsoft Wallet

WPcentral reports that the upcoming Windows Phone 8.1 update introduces support for Apple’s Passbook iOS app, allowing users to load coupons, tickets, boarding passes, etc, designed for Passbook into the Microsoft Wallet app.

While the Microsoft Wallet app will be able to load the various coupons and loyalty cards usually reserved for Passbook, it’s still a little unclear exactly what is going on behind the scenes. Microsoft appears to be allowing users to download the Passbook files and rendering its own card for Microsoft Wallet, but the report speculates Windows Phone won’t be able to tap into the push notifications Apple uses to update cards like on iOS.

There seems to be some confusion over whether or not Microsoft is officially supporting Passbook in one way or the other, but with a developer preview of Windows Phone 8.1 rolling out today, I’m sure we’ll be hearing more about this situation soon.