Saturday, May 25, 2013

Myth busting 5-2013: All new phones have to be thinner and lighter

My new cyan Lumia 920 came in yesterday and I could not be happier with what I found.
  • When the package arrived, I realized it was not in a retail box. Very small, thin package from Fed Ex.
  • Everything was there as listed on ebay - but no SIM drawer key. Derrr I never considered asking. But a paperclip did the job nicely, if not with a little nervous moment.
  • The device seemed smaller to me than I imagined. Of course, I was coming from a 4.7" HTC Titan, but everything you read is O.M.G. this phone is huge - NOT
  • The matte polycarbonate body is gorgeous
  • While it is a heavy phone, as many have noted that translates into SOLID. The Titan is a solid phone, but next to this is looks downright frumpy and delicate, yet the Lumia is sexy.
  • The screen is buttery smooth. The OS is fast, I can slide the screen with my fingernail or with a glove. Sweet.
  • It actually is easer to do a one-handed use, but I really have never done that - only when my other hand is full.
  • PayPal is available to me for payment now in the WP Store. Happy.
  • Camera. Too much to say here. I'll post some things soon. I am finding I am snapping pics and videos of mundane things just to check it out. Can't wait to really put the camera through its paces and certainly waiting for the Amber update to bring even more delicious options to this camera.
So there it is. I am a happy camper. Now sporting Windows Phone 8 and all that is nice and a drag with that. Better processor, more memory, better display (like night and day, and I had no qualms about the display on the Titan). If you want my honest opinion of the weight and size, click on the tab above to see some shots and commentary on my new Lumia.

And the cyan model rocks!

Saturday, May 18, 2013

This is my new baby...

Should be arriving in about 1 week. Maybe sooner.
Chose this as the price was $5 cheaper and it includes the car charger as well.

See what else is on the way. You just know this will arrive first! Torturing me! But I was even lucky to find this in cyan as well!

Friday, May 17, 2013

SNAP! I have taken that first leap of faith

I have written before how difficult it is in some respects living in Japan from a consumer point of view.

Don't get me wrong. Tokyo is a shopping and dining paradise. You can find nearly any cuisine you desire. I have had Moroccan, Thai, French, Chinese, Russian, Turkish and Tex Mex. (Fridays is still one of my favorite places to eat, even in Machida, or Shibuya and Shinagawa).

I have also written extensively about the plethora of mobile devices and other tech here. After all, I am still "Waiting in Japan..."

But there is a protective dark side to this as well. I am a Pepsi drinker. Not Diet Pepsi. Not Crystal Pepsi. But good old tangy Pepsi Cola. However, with a few vending machine exceptions, there is none to be found on the shelves of convenience stores or supermarkets. Costco is one alternative if you want to buy a case and drive a couple hours to get it. Rice Chex? Nope. Cheerios? No. Pepsi Nex, sure. I have a couple places I can get the lemon injected 2 liter bottles.

Well, the same goes for phones. I had 2 different Toshiba PDAs and then a Toshiba slider Windows Mobile Phone. However, probably because I kept installing things and skinning the Japanese OS, I kept losing contacts and finally said, "enough." So from feature phone, to iPhone I went. Android was in diapers then. Now it dominates.

But when Windows Phone was introduced, and particularly when my imported Zune was discontinued, I wanted one. Big time. Then Mango and the Fujitsu you see on this page. On the wrong carrier. Then nothing else.

So I purchased my HTC Titan in December. I put it on my carrier though they won't support it.

Now I am at a cross roads. It is still far and away one of the very nicest Windows 7.8 devices. Great camera, thin, strong. After 1 year and a half of solid, hard use, it is pristine, even without screen protector or case.

So now, I have determined what my next step will be. To find out more, come read my post on enconnected...

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

Post the Nokia event: "Nothing to see here..."

I don't say that to belittle these devices or deride Nokia. I am coming to accept that for Windows Phone 8 or moving forward with the platform, there is no other OEM bringing such value or choice to Windows Phone. This is much more than I expected when this partnership was first announced in 2010.

It was news when Elop leaked the Nokia 800 during a company meeting. It was news when 2 devices were brought to market, though somewhat belatedly with the roll-out of Apollo.

But these devices are not as ground-breaking as the hype for this show might have indicated. There were rumors of a tablet (not going to happen, at least until Windows Blue). There were rumors of a phablet (same thing. WP8 doesn't support all the resolutions necessary yet). Then there is EOS. That is a holiday item yet to be unveiled.

Here is my observation on today's announcement of the 925:
  1. It is not positioned as a successor to the 920, so those with 920 can feel good about the choice they made and not that they need something more on AT&T. Most comments I have read fall along those lines.
  2. This is designed to be T-Mobile's flagship as the 928 is Verizon's. Lately, I was worrying that Nokia was only positioning themselves for the low-mid-tier devices. Leaving many of us looking all too seriously at other devices or even platforms.
  3. People who buy their phones outright unlocked and sim free have been waiting for these announcements. I am thinking in some form or another, all three (920, 925 and 928) will be available in other markets sim free. Now I get to choose whether to finally go for a discounted 920 or wait a little longer for one of these.
  4. As for the 925. The 16GB is a waste of time. No device can now be called a flagship with less than 32gb. Windows Phone has far too many compromises. If you want expandable memory or even more than 32gb, you must lower your expectations for screen, or camera, or abandon PureView. If T-Mobile is only getting a 16gb model, that is not good enough. Apple drops their older machines to bargain status, and their top player has 2-3 levels available from 16 clear to 64gb. 2011 saw a single Windows Phone with 32gb and until the 920, it has basically stayed that way. Even the Ativ S, which was touted as getting a 32GB model w/MicroSD expansion has been no where to be seen.
I currently sport an HTC Titan. 8mp camera, 16gb storage. While I understand moving up to Windows Phone 8, NFC, wireless charging, dual core make a difference, not enough to jump at a WP8 device, or I would have popped for an 8X long ago. Dual core means not nearly as much as more memory. I am bumping my head on that ceiling, and going anything less than 32gb is a waste of time and money.
For my money though, while nothing really new was announced, I do see a path to a new device ahead of me. Likely, either this month or later this summer, I will be sporting a Nokia, and all the goodness that comes with one.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

I don't entirely buy it...

A recent report says that development of apps for Windows Phone has stagnated and that there is big trouble on the horizon.

I do not buy it. What's my evidence? Well first, this has supposedly been confirmed by Microsoft through their numbers. I do not dispute Microsoft's numbers. I would be more concerned if they were saying the opposite. However, recent posts and listings of new games seems in conflict with this finding. Here's what I think is up:

  1. No doubt there is a slowing. The initial release of Windows Phone 8 and accompanying devices was 6 months ago. The big push for fresh WP8 apps has initially subsided.
  2. We are possibly in a reloading time. New devices are just literally hours from being announced, with more promised for summer announcement and several planned for holiday release with the potential new "Windows Phone Blue" either at year-end or Q1 2014.
  3. Several current Windows Phone 8 releases have now been ported to WP7.8. Further, additional apps have been retooled to allow them to work on the new wave of mid-low end devices such as the Lumia 620, 720 and 521. Is it possible this follow-up work is not included in the listing of new apps? Why would a retooled Angry Birds show up as anything other than an update?
And those have been numerous. Article after article is tweeted regarding XYZ app that is now optimized for WP8 or retrofitted to WP7.x. In fact, the rate of updates, at least from the perspective of this user who has dozens of apps installed points more towards something big on the horizon, not less.

So don't hold your breath for the demise of the platform. Do you suppose that there is anything to be gained by various interests reporting the continuing canard that there are virtually no apps available for the Windows Phone platform after 3 years? Certainly not Google or Apple. And any publication driven by ad clicks and traffic volume might certainly intentionally or as a side benefit prime the pump by repeating such reports.

Let's let the dust settle after these new Nokias and various other phones, both high-end and low-tier join the market. 2 new carriers in the US are featuring Windows Phone in this quarter. Impact much?

Remains to be seen.

Wednesday, January 30, 2013

Here we go...Maybe!

Now, my first inkling was my morning bow to Redmond in the East to see if 7.8 was finally available. Lo and behold, various sites were posting that devices ranging from the Lumias we were all expecting, to the HTC Radar, which we were not, were receiving the 7.8 update.

Later today, I had to check my gmail account for info for my trip to Princeton this week, and there in my email was an exciting new newsletter about the Fujitsu/Toshiba phone: "Here is how you update to WP7.8" Wow! The gods may have been listening. If you click the Windows Phone Japan link, you notice no real change, but there. In the center. The first post since September! Follow that link, and you arrive at information on how to update the AU Fujitsu IS12T. Great looking screen!

Even more interesting to me, is the link you can follow from the original email. Wait! It is gone now? it was a link to more information about Windows Phone 8. I did not imagine it, as it featured, with Japanese on the page, the HTC 8X and 8S. No word they were coming to Japan, but info on how to use the devices in Japan. Strange. Stay tuned...more to come?????

So, tonight....busily cutting my WiFi and trying to force the update. I am encouraged as on another site, a Titan user noted his unlocked Titan had received the update.

Thank you Zeus.

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

Still waiting in Japan...

It is hard to narrow down my "waiting" now. Originally, this blog was set up as I was waiting for the introduction of Windows Phone to Japan. But now there is more to it, going from simply too bad, to ridiculously bad:

  • Microsoft Japan introduced, with KDDI Au, the very first Windows Phone "Mango" handset in July of 2011. At that time I was getting excited, but as time wore on more wary. I traveled through central Tokyo to attend a Windows Phone event, only to be told that while they wanted to add more carriers in Japan, they mainly wanted to export the Fujitsu phone. Epic fail on both accounts.
  • At the same meeting, I was told Japan would never become part of the Zune - now XBox music service. After all, there were plenty of music services in Japan.
  • Finally, in December I had had enough. After visiting my carrier I was told that even if I bought an unlocked phone in Japan, they could not add it to their service. When I did break down and purchase my HTC Titan unlocked and Sim free, they said they would not swap out the Sim card from my iPhone 3GS. So sorry.
  • But Did it myself and love my phone.
Now fast forward to 2012. In June of this year, Microsoft announced the upcoming Windows Phone 8 (Apollo). Accompanying that, as now it was revealed they were not going to move that update to existing phones, they were pleased as punch to announce Windows Phone 7.8. This would arrive shortly after Windows Phone 8 and the new handsets were to be announced.

I understand the wait. I am sure thousands of customers have opted to move to the new handsets, better memory, higher quality screens, NFC, etc that is required to run WP8 and additional applications. No word on WP7.8. 
  • But....leaked devices (later discovered to be prototypes and developer handsets) from Nokia DID recieve 7.8.
  • Quickly noted that 7.8 would come out in "early" 2013.
  • Now, we know most if not all Nokia phones will be getting 7.8 at the end of this month.
However, those of us with HTC, LG, Dell, Samsung handsets are rumored to be getting this update as late as March. While I guess that is still early, rumors swirl that even my 1-year old Titan may not receive the update at all.

Meanwhile, it was announced in November that WP8 intro into Japan was "postponed." And with the carriers now trotting out their Spring collections, the plethora of Android phones is not only annoying, it is downright criminal.

So. I am still waiting in Japan. Windows Phone 7 is dead in Japan. The Fujitsu handset with its great memory, but mediocre screen, with its 13.xmp camera, with its paltry 3.8" screen can be had for under 100 bucks on Amazon, but is essentially nowhere to be seen on store shelves. One could still have it if you asked on AU, but why? Last year's news. NTT Docomo is partnering to bring low-cost tablets and Smartphones to enterprise. I had heard it would be Microsoft-centric. But instead, I see a low-cost Android tablet. Microsoft Japan appears to be joke, as the exec who was taking classes from my company said, "People appear to like Android." 

People have been given no choice.