Windows Phone 7 and the future of Nokia.

 

Opening the Windows for Nokia’s future. 

There’s been a lot of talk about Nokia recently, mostly in relation to their recent deal (take over as most would say) with Windows, whereby Nokia will provide the hardware, and Microsoft will provide the OS to their handsets.

Over the past few years, since the launch of the iPhone and then the rise of Google’s Android handsets, Nokia has been facing an uphill battle. Formerly the worlds largest handset manufacturers, many people simply don’t even consider a Nokia when buying a high end phone, or smartphone.

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iPhone in the lead in Ireland’s smartphone market.

It’s official; the iPhone is Ireland’s most popular smart phone, beating the competition by a clear lead.

This week, DRG, a digital advertising agency announced that iPhone sales in Ireland had reached 250,000 handsets over the various models, and that iPhone internet browsers account for an increasing amount of web traffic in a recently released bunch of statistics for the Irish mobile market, one of the highest penetrated markets in the world (about two phones for every person in the country).

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HTC makes Nexus One Replicant and a host of other handsets.

HTC, the Taiwanese phone manufacturers have started the year off well by announcing their three newest phones; the HTC Legend, Desire, and Mini running Android and Windows Mobile.

The new phones contain a number of new design features, setting them apart from the rest and are certainly easy on the eye.

HTC are most famous at the moment for producing the Google Nexus One phone earlier this year, and the first Android phones in 2009 which have begun to slowly make their mark on the technology world, and presenting the biggest challenge to iPhone dominance to date.

Desire

HTC Desire handset

Nexus One replicant (nice little Blade Runner pun there)

The Desire is a 3.7inch OLED display running Android 2.1, and is closest in technical terms and features to the Nexus One.

A 1-HGz Snapdragon processor offers oodles of speed and comfort while not waiting an age for the phone to catch up with your commands, Adobe is also kept happy with Flash 10.1 support for the phone which certainly gives the Desire an edge over it’s biggest competitor, the iPhone which famously snubs flash in favour of HTML5.

Also included in the phone are a host of standard features such as a 5-megapixel camera, with flash, geotagging, FM radio, GPS, Bluetooth, WiFi and 3G.

A new feature in terms of the phone’s design is an optical joystick, instead of the trackball in place on the Nexus One, which can be clumsy looking and ruin the overall look and feel of the phone. The optical joystick on the other hand is a smooth and comfortable way to get about, and definitely improves overall usability.

Legend

HTC Legend smart phone

HTC Legend, looks like a MacBook case/Nexus One body/next iPhone design?

Design is also what HTC hope to make more grounds on with their latest releases. The HTC Legend is a unibody aluminum casing, not unlike the MacBook Pro line, and looks all together one of the prettiest phones from the manufacturer.  The handset is lighter than the iPhone weighing 4.4 ounces and comes with a 3.2inch display running Android 2.1

Some believe that this unibody design is a pre-emptive strike against Apple’s latest iPhone evolution which may very well go along the lines of the MacBook range, and follow an aluminum casing, it will be interesting to see how much take up there is of the new design as it’s certainly much better looking and comfortable than previous HTC phones.

Mini

HTC Mini smart phonew

Mini and light, perfect for the pocket.

The third, and final phone announced was the HTC Mini, which is the only one of the three new releases to be running Windows Mobile, signaling that HTC hasn’t let go of the Windows platform yet.

The phone is similar dimensions to the Legend, with a 3.2inch screen and weighs 3.8ounces. The handset also packs most of the features found standard in the other models, with the notable exception of a flash on the camera and geotagging.

It is a bit of a surprise that the phone doesn’t support the newly announced Windows Mobile 7 operating system, which has certainly blown off a few cobwebs from the OS, in light of Android and iPhone OS making such big splashes in the market.

All three handsets will be available available through Vodafone in Europe in the first half of the year, including Ireland.

The models released are good phones, packing a lot of nice features which we do miss from some other popular smart phones, however in the coming age of touchscreen it does feel that there are too many un-necessary physical buttons on the HTC phones, which take away from what could be more screen space.

Vodafone already stock a few HTC Android phones and are also preparing to sell the iPhone, just in time for the latest model to be announced this summer; the long awaited iPhone 4G.

Just what the 4G will mean for the phone market and the average consumer remains to be seen, but if previous experiences with Apple are anything to go by, HTC and Google should begin rolling up their sleeves for a long, hard fight for a market share.


Google to take on Apple? Again?!

Google looks set to release their own pad computer following Apple’s release of it’s long expected iPad on Wednesday.

If the rumours and mock-ups are true then it brings Google’s attempts to jump into the hardware industry and tackle Apple’s might into the foreground.

Looks like an iPad, a... G-Pad? Too many jokes right there...

The software giant may be taking advantage of the criticisms being thrown at Apple over the iPad, such as lack of flash and webcam integration, and the manufacturers well-known strictness when dealing with apps and software which need to be approved before appearing in the app store for download.

Google’s open source nature may deal a serious blow to Apple’s attempt to take over the ebook and new found pad market (even if it is just the old tablet market with a new lease of life), using a pad running its open-source Chrome OS which the device will probably run on but is still to be tested on any major scale in the consumer market.

Whether or not Google’s device could be an iPad killer is yet to be seen, if it is released at all. The search giant’s much awaited Nexus One was expected to be an iPhone killer when it came out earlier this year, however take up has been poor and failed to dent the growing iPhone market which is showing little or no signs of being slowed by a competitor.

Google definitely don’t bring the wow factor or coolness to the table that Apple does, or even the hardened experience and solid production that Microsoft brings, but at the very least it they show the computer world that Google is tenacious and wouldn’t be put off by a let down by a larger competitor, even if they can’t match the hype levels that come with Apple launches.