Tweet The long list of innovations behind the Nokia Asha 501 doesn’t end with its standout design and bold colours , the new Asha Platform or the swipe-tastic Fastlane user interface. Nokia’s reinvention of the affordable smartphone also extends to compelling and inventive benefits – long after you’ve bought the device and when you are using it on a daily basis. A key example of this approach is a new partnership between Nokia, Facebook and the mobile network operator, Airtel, which offers data-free access to the standalone Facebook app, as well as the mobile site m.facebook.com . This means that current Airtel subscribers in Africa and India will be able to use Facebook on their Nokia Asha 501 without incurring any data charges for a period of time. Worth the flight Vaughan Smith, Vice-President, Mobile and Corporate Development, Facebook, was onstage with Stephen Elop, Nokia’s CEO, at the recent launch event for the Asha 501 in New Delhi. Shortly afterwards, Vaughan sat down with Conversations and started by telling us how excited he was to be with us in India. “I don’t usually fly around the world for partner events but this is pretty unusual and hopefully I conveyed my excitement about the bundle of Asha 501 coming with free Facebook,” he said. “We think it’s really important for getting new users online. It’s an excellent combination of a great device experience and free Facebook. It’s a great recipe.” The smartphone experience Facebook has always gone to great lengths to make their services and apps accessible on feature phones. However, Vaughan acknowledges that their users also tend to be more active when they have a better smartphone experience. This is where the sub-$100 Asha 501 can make a difference. “We love that smartphones are getting better and the prices are coming down. We hope to help drive the transition in India, China and in other countries, which is from feature phone to smartphone,” says Vaughan. “We think it’ll be great for the local economies, great for Facebook and great for Nokia as well.” The data plans Over the last couple of years, Facebook has worked closely with several mobile operators around the world to help more people get access to mobile data. Initiatives have included free Facebook messenger and a free version of Facebook without photos – all of which have seen operators get ‘many millions of new customers through Facebook promotions’. “The main learning is that of all the levers an operator has to get someone introduced to data, and get them to stick, is that Facebook is the most compelling. “We’re excited to try this with a device manufacturer, Nokia, for the first time.” Vaughan describes it as a ‘win-win-win’ for all partners involved and says he’d like ‘Nokia to take this everywhere around the world’. Great partners Finally, there is the intriguing question of why Facebook are doing this at all. You could argue that they already provide the service and apps – does their obligation really go any further than that? Vaughan has an eloquent answer to this. “Facebook has over 1 billion users and 5,000 employees. If you do the maths, that’s 200,000 users per employee. It means we have to stay focused and be a natural partnering company. “We try to make partners happy and make them successful. Nokia has been a great partner for us and we want to reciprocate that.”
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Nokia Asha 501 and free Facebook: ‘a great recipe’
Tweet A recent report by market research firm, Informa , found that in 2012, and for the first time ever, more messages were sent by chat apps, such as WhatsApp and NimBuzz , than by SMS. If the current trend continues, the number of messages sent by chat apps will very soon be double the number of SMS messages. Naturally, we wanted to know which method – SMS or chat apps – Conversations readers used the most. We ran an informal poll last week and here’s the result: So a clear majority of you voted for chat apps, which seems to confirm the underlying global trend identified by Informa’s report. However, breaking down the results country-by-country shows a more nuanced picture. For example, take the UK and India: UK India Perhaps because a lot of people in the UK enjoy free and unlimited SMS allowances, they are still more likely to use that instead of chat apps? It cannot be denied that chat apps are the king of messaging at the moment. Although there’s clearly still a lot of love for SMS – most of the comments on the original post indicated a clear preference for SMS. MacroRodent SMS of course. Using chat requires a special installation in both my and the recipient’s phone, and internet connectivity. The UI in all phones is also optimized for SMS use. For me, chat apps are totally pointless. Marc_Aurel The chat app space is too fragmented for convenience. Some people use Whatsapp, other FB chat, some Skype or Viber; there’s just so many of them. SMS works always, or email if you’re not in a big hurry. Jeff Daly I try to get people to use the chat apps as much as possible. It’s little things like knowing if the message has been seen that make it more convenient. Thanks for taking part in our poll and for all the comments. image credit : Flavia_FF
Tweet I’m lucky enough to live in Portland, Oregon, which is ranked one of the best cities in the world for craft beer. We have one of the premier craft beer festivals each year and Portland is home to the most breweries than any other city in the world . As a beer fan, it’s a good place to be. As I’m constantly reviewing beer for my site dedicated to craft brewing, I’m always on the hunt for new beers and breweries to profile. The newly released Untappd helps me keep on tabs of what my fellow craft brew fans are enjoying these days. Checking-in to your pint Since Foursquare popularized the notion of “checking-in”, it’s awesome to see the action applied to other contexts. In this case, with Untappd, the most basic function of the app is to check in and announce the pint you’re currently enjoying. Untappd has an expansive beer database, cataloging even the most obscure beers from even small breweries. Checking-in is as easy as searching for your beer and selecting it by name. As you check in to your brew, you can add a location (powered by Foursquare), leave a brief note about the beer and apply a rating of 1 to 5 stars. Finally, you can announce your check-in via Twitter or Facebook. Discovering new beers Untappd makes it possible to find new beers, based on what your friends are drinking or based on what other Untappd members are enjoying in your local area. The default news feed in Untappd shows your friends, regardless of location and the beers they’ve checked-in to recently. One aspect of the Untappd news feed is the easy scroll-ability and the user interface that brings pictures front and center. In Oregon, there are craft breweries everywhere and there are great beers to discover that might just be a few doors down. In this case, go to the “local” tab in the news feed to see what other Untappd members are drinking and read their short reviews in the process. Find a new watering hole Visiting a new city or perhaps a new neighborhood and want to know what’s good? Click the compass button at the top of the app and you can find nearby bars, nearby beers or trending beers. My favorite feature in this list is the nearby beers list, and I use this list to be filtered by those beers around me. As a creature of habit, I tend to go for the brews I know. However, with this feature in Untappd, I can see the brews that are gaining popularity in my area and I’m more apt to give them a try. Nearby bars is a useful resource for finding a new place to enjoy a frosty pint when I’m in a new part of town. On more than one occasion, I’ve impressed my friends with my ‘local knowledge’ when we were trying to decide on a place to go. Nokia Lumia owners that run Windows Phone 8 should really check out Untappd if you’re new to the craft brewing or if you’re just curious to what awesome beers are being discovered by your friends and other beer lovers on Untappd. image credit : richtpt
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Untappd lets me find my hoppy friends
Tweet Another week, another #NokiaLumiaChallenge . Last time we received thousands of brilliant night-time adventure images so we’ve made a Pinterest board with our favourites for you to check out. Below is our winner for the previous challenge, Abdul with his Scripps Pier image. Through our imaging competitions we’ve been inspired by a couple of images that showcase reflections. This is the theme for our next challenge. We’d like you to find reflective surfaces, be it water, glass, mirrors, ornaments or watches… anything that can reflect light in a unique or interesting way. To enter the competition all you need to do is tweet your reflective image taken with your Nokia phone using the #NokiaLumiaChallenge hashtag. Coincidentally Abdul submitted an image for Adventures at night that features a nice reflection, so here’s an example of what you could do to enter! The prize for this #NokiaLumiaChallenge is a Nokia Lumia 520 ! As always please read our terms and conditions before entering the competition. The challenge starts now and ends on at Midnight on Thursday 6th of June. Good Luck!
Nokia Lumia Challenge: Reflections
Here’s a review of the Nokia DC-16 portable USB charger . It’s great for power-hungry users like me. It has a 2200 mAh capacity and its pocket size means you can always carry a charging source for your devices wherever you go. Watch the video after the jump. click thumbnail to watch the video You can also watch this video in HD on Youtube. Subscribe to the channel to preview the latest videos before they get published on the blog. The Nokia DC-16 Portable USB charger comes with one microusb cable that lets you charge itself when connected to a laptop or wall outlet. The same cable charges your phones when connected on the other side. I noticed the DC-16 charges my phones faster than my older Proporta 5000 portable USB charger . The Nokia DC-16 comes in Lumia colors and you can find them online. If you’re in the US, the AT&T online store has it for $35 shipped. It works on any device with microUSB port. The Nokia Lumia 928 was used in this demo. If you enjoyed this article, you might also like… Video: iOttie Easy Flex 2 Car Mount Holder Review Review: Solar Cell Phone Charger by Daylight Savings Video: Nokia N8 Powered by Hamster Zemanta
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Nokia DC-16 Portable USB Charger Review (Video)
Tweet As technology enthusiasts, it’s only natural that we are drawn to the things that are newer, faster and, therefore, more exciting. After all, why should we care about 2G, or more accurately, GSM networks when the 4 th generation LTE networks are making all the headlines? There’s no doubt that LTE is a fantastic technology, and one that Nokia has brought to many smartphones in its Lumia family, but the vast majority of global mobile phone users have yet to experience it. The reality behind the headlines is that GSM networks are, and will remain for many years to come, the backbone that underpins mobile telecommunications around the world. According to the analysts, Informa , there are some 4.6 billion subscribers on GSM networks, which represents about 70 per cent of all mobile subscriptions. In places like India and China, that goes up to 80 or even 90% . In 2012 alone there were 125 million new subscribers to GSM networks – more than 10 million were signing up every month. So, clearly, GSM networks continue to show remarkable growth. There’s no doubt that the new Nokia Asha 501 , will only add to the GSM subscriber numbers in the coming months. This sub-$100 smartphone comes in a 2G + WiFi combo, Bluetooth and the Nokia Xpress browser, which compresses data by up to 90 per cent to make it faster and cheaper to get online. GSM for all There are several reasons why GSM remains such a critical technology, says Kai Sahala, head of mobile broadband marketing, for Nokia Siemens Network , who calls GSM a ‘robust and mature technology.’ “New networks, such as 3G and LTE, have spotty coverage at the start and grow their coverage from urban areas. Not many countries have 100 per cent 3G or LTE coverage. So GSM can be the underlying layer for newer networks,” Kai tells Conversations. In other words, even if you have a fancy LTE-enabled device, you will still be reliant, for some of the time at least, on GSM networks to ensure you get a continuous service. Let’s not forget as well, that GSM enables all of the functions that you enjoy on more modern technologies – voice calls, SMS and mobile data. It’s slower, of course, but the lower frequencies of GSM networks tend to have a far wider geographical coverage and require less physical infrastructure. It’s a double benefit: wider coverage with fewer cell towers. Modernising GSM While many countries are now concentrating on their building new generation mobile networks, you might be surprised to discover that this work often also involves modernising their GSM networks. Kai explains: “This is about providing service interoperability, but also the hardware that we supply supports all the networks. It makes sense that when you roll out a faster network to also modernise GSM so that it’s in better shape too.” A more modern GSM network means that you can squeeze more traffic out of the same frequency. This allows you to increase the capacity out of your existing frequency, or retain the same capacity by switching to a narrower frequency. This might sound trivial but it’s an important point – you can create 3G networks out of old GSM frequencies, and LTE networks out of old 3G frequencies. Even on the hardware side, GSM has come a long way since the first GSM call was made over 20 years ago . The base stations that form the basis of the network are now much smaller, consume up to 70 per cent less energy and are weather-proof, so they don’t need to be housed. So, while LTE hogs all the headlines, it’s clear that GSM will remain a crucial part of the story for many, many years to come. Kai definitely thinks so: “Just think about the nearly 5 billion subscribers by the end of this year. Think about roaming – GSM provides the basic roaming layer for most of us when we go abroad. Practically all devices support GSM. All these factors means there should be a long future ahead for GSM.”
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Why GSM networks still matter
Tweet As our design team noted last week , the Nokia Lumia 925 is our first Lumia smartphone to use metal as a part of its exterior make-up. This looks gorgeous, and adds robustness to the phone. But what’s worth noting is that it does not impact on the strength of the signal you’ll be able to receive on the phone. On the Lumia 925, the aluminium ring around the phone actually act as parts of the phone’s radio antenna system. The main antenna is located in the bottom area of the phone and two more towards the top of the phone. There are then stripes that separate the antennas from the other parts of the metal ring. Nokia-specific technology incorporated within the antenna solution maximises its use of radio bands – whether you’re on GSM, WCDMA or LTE networks. It will also adjust the ‘balance of power’ between the antennas according to how you’re holding your phone. The end result is that you’ll get equally good radio performance out of the Lumia 925 as you would from a wholly polycarbonate phone, plus the most important benefit in the form of a stunning design. Of course, if you deliberately use two hands to cover every edge of the phone, you’ll manage to reduce the signal. But that’s true of any other phone, too. You may also find it a little tricky to operate the buttons that way! So relax, and enjoy Nokia Lumia 925 and its sleek design, any way you like .
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Aerial view – the Lumia 925 antenna solution
Tweet The Nokia 105 is the little phone that could. A tiny, low-cost communicator that’s designed to deliver the basics you need from a mobile phone. Plus it brings a few neat extras to the table. I’ve been using it as a second phone for a few weeks now. To be completely transparent about this, I couldn’t use it as my main device: work commitments make mobile email essential. So how’s it been? It’s been great. But let me pick out the things that really stood out. Size matters . I had kind of forgotten how nice it is to have a tiny phone that you can carry without even noticing. Twice now, I’ve had to save my Nokia 105 when I threw the shirt that was carrying it into the laundry. I am thinking the compactness might particularly appeal to women who need to carry everything they need for a night out in a small clutch purse. Loud and clear . This might be a small phone, but it’s really loud. This is very much an intentional part of the design, because in the countries that the Nokia 105 is aimed at, there’s a lot of noise from the hustle and bustle of daily life – more so than your average town or city, so clear-sounding calls matter. Extra bonus points, though, for the ring being perfectly audible when the phone is in my bag. Battery life . What normally happens = I realise I didn’t charge my phone yesterday; bring on anxiety about whether my battery will go flat today. What happens with the Nokia 105 = It eventually gets down to one bar and I realise that I can’t actually remember where I left the charger from the last time it needed a top-up, it’s been that long. You can do a lot with less . It’s really nice, of course, to be able to sync your calendar and contacts with the cloud and all that fancy stuff. But the reality is that – email aside – about 95 per cent of my own phone life is that I call and text the same 6-7 numbers. And sometimes *not* getting emails anytime, anywhere is a real breath of fresh air… Snake is still great . It may be a little while before AAA games like Sims Medieval make their way onto a device at the price point the Nokia 105 reaches. But that doesn’t mean it’s no fun. On the contrary, with its simple, compelling gameplay and perfect optimisation for mobile devices, Snake has provided all I need for a little downtime while I’m on the move. There’s more to the Nokia 105 than this, of course. I haven’t actually used the calendar or the FM radio, for example, except to see how they work. But it remains amazing how much phone you can get for $20. Several friends – who didn’t realise you could still buy a simple, no-nonsense phone – have asked me about it and plan to get one because they don’t actually want or need a smartphone. A big battery life is worth more than apps, screen inches or megapixels to a lot of people.
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5 reasons to love living with the Nokia 105
Tweet Nokia’s Bristol Musicologists – the people behind Nokia Music’s Mix Radio – were named ‘disruptors’ in the April issue of industry publication Music:Ally in a report on ’40 Things Changing Music Forever’. So who are the people behind the music service and playlist creation for Nokia Music’s Mix Radio app? Conversations talked to Mix Radio musicologists Jethro Borthwick, Mark Lampo and Nick Pointon to find out more about its inner workings. How many people are in the team? Jethro: The team currently consists of four people based in Bristol and we organise the majority of the data and create the Mixes that can be defined as global playlists. On top of this, we also have volunteers around the office who also create their own Mixes in their spare time based on their own expertise and passions. Ness from the device on-boarding team just created an awesome ‘Influenced by Bowie’ mix: I highly recommend listening to it. How are the Mixes created? J: There are a number of ways that we create Mixes, the main thing is creating mixes that are true to the chosen genre, yet also open the doors to music discovery. The first is based on metadata that we have researched and cleaned over the last five years. This allows us to create candidate lists of tracks that we can then listen to and pick the best ones for the Mixes. We have new release data delivered to us from the labels and chart data that we derive from plays and downloads. Often, we create Mixes based on current themes and moods that we are in. When people are going on holiday they ask to have their holiday tunes loaded into Mix Radio so they can take the playlist with them. How are localised Mixes sourced? J: We then work with our local entertainment managers who add the finishing touches and localisation to the playlists. We work very closely with our local teams to define the localisation of Mix Radio and feel this is an extremely important part of the service. We have great relationships with record labels from around the world to ensure that we have as much relevant content as possible. What is your current favourite mix? J: We have just launched a new daily Mixes section in the UK and it’s proving really popular. I really like the Monday morning wake up mix as it helps me to get out of bed. I have also just created a 90s Big Beat mix which I am loving. Nick: Emerging artists is a good mix as it is compiled by a group of people with different tastes every two weeks. I’m also really enjoying the Futuristic Beats mix. Mark: The emerging artist mix is great because of the process and collaboration behind the scenes. But the two Mixes I listen to the most are ‘Deep House’ and ‘House/Bass’. I love that a lot of the artists in there would have been considered fairly underground a year ago, artists like Disclosure and Gorgon City are now receiving a lot of mainstream and chart success. These Mixes have been gaining popularity and definitely ones to watch for new dance music. What is the craziest mix you’ve created/had submitted? N: Steven Elop’s playlist was unexpected but actually became really popular. Also an employee requested a playlist for his son’s upcoming birthday. We made a playlist of pop artists that appear on kid’s movie soundtracks like Kung Fu Panda and Shrek, this was extremely popular plus his son’s party was a hit! What new music have you discovered via Mix Radio? N: Via the Emerging Artists group I discovered piano-led track The Fall from Rhye, which was produced by Milosh. M : I’m mainly into Dance but love hopping into the other genres and listening to ‘Most Played’, it’s a really cool introduction to any genre. Where do you get the ideas for new Mixes? M: All over the place, the smallest thing can seed an idea for a mix. Decade Mixes are always great though because songs of an era can really connect with people and with a particular time in their life. N : Also any new sounds you start to hear more of, I recently made a playlist on Trap Beats, after Baauer’s increasing popularity. What new trends are you most looking forward to in music? N: I am pretty intrigued by the new MySpace. If the new video holds true to what it might be doing it could be a bit of a game changer, making music more dynamic and more social. So now you know a little more about the inner workings of Mix Radio, what is your current favourite mix?
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Meet the music disruptors