Handsets
Monday
Nov192012

Windows Phone 8 launches in NZ with Telecom

Telecom NZ in conjunction with Microsoft NZ, Nokia, HTC and Samsung have announced the following new Windows Phone 8 handsets for the New Zealand market:

  1. Nokia Lumia 920 $999 (Launch date: 23 November, 2012)
  2. HTC 8S $499 (Launch date: 6 December, 2012)
  3. Samsung Ativ S $799 (Launch date expected to be February 2013)

To demonstrate the capabilities of Windows Phone 8, the Telecom Place foyer has been transformed into a pop-up lounge, deck and home office, all equipped with Windows Phones, Windows 8 tablets and PCs.

Telecom Chief Executive Retail Chris Quin said, “We see Windows Phone 8 as an important and growing part of the mobile market and a strong offering for our customers. 

“The Windows mobile operating system continues to be deliberately different to others on the market, and it is great to be able to offer this sort of choice on our Smartphone Network. 

“The creation of one Windows 8 ecosystem across mobile, tablet and PCs is a real strength and will have a hugely positive impact on business and consumers alike, who are familiar with Windows on their PCs and will quickly come to grips with the format on their phones.”

Microsoft New Zealand Managing Director Paul Muckleston said “Windows Phone 8 is the most personal and alive smartphone and puts people at the centre.

“Windows Phone 8 brings together some stunning hardware from our partners and best consumer experiences from Microsoft – Xbox Music and games, Skype, Internet Explorer and Office.

“By closely aligning Windows and Windows Phone, Microsoft has created an unprecedented opportunity for developers to take full advantage of the new reimagined Windows family.”

Telecom said that it would be bringing more Windows Phone 8 mobile phones onto its Smartphone Network in early 2013 with details to be released in the New Year.

Note: Stay tuned to @WindowsPhoneNZ and the WindowsPhoneNZ.com for more details and hands on reviews soon

Monday
Nov052012

Initial Windows Phone 8 screenshots

Last week Microsoft finally took the wraps of Windows Phone 8 – and finally their partners were able to share more details about their new handsets and the associated software.

I was fortunate to get my hands on the Samsung Ativ S and ahead of a full review of the final product I thought it might be interesting to share some screenshots. Note these images are taken from a pre-release build of this software but it does provide a taste of some of the new features.

New features include new maps (provided by Nokia and downloadable in advance to avoid data charges), Children’s corner (an alternative view of your phone when you share it with others typically much younger than yourself), Xbox Music (now available in NZ), updated Camera, section locking (i.e. PIN locking some areas of your phone), Tap + Send (near field communications functions), Internet Explorer 10, SMS backup to the cloud and more.

Sadly in this release it appears podcast downloading functions are still not available with Microsoft accounts linked to NZ addresses. Don’t worry, you can still listen to the NZ Tech Podcast – it’s just not as easy as it should be.

 

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For more on Windows Phone 8, follow on Twitter @windowsphonenz

Monday
Nov052012

Initial Windows Phone 8 screenshots

Last week Microsoft finally took the wraps of Windows Phone 8 – and finally their partners were able to share more details about their new handsets and the associated software.

I was fortunate to get my hands on the Samsung Ativ S and ahead of a full review of the final product I thought it might be interesting to share some screenshots. Note these images are taken from a pre-release build of this handset but it does provide a taste of some of the new features.

New features include new maps (provided by Nokia and downloadable in advance to avoid data charges), Children’s corner (an alternative view of your phone when you share it with others typically much younger than yourself), Xbox Music (now available in NZ), updated Camera, section locking (i.e. PIN locking some areas of your phone), Tap + Send (near field communications functions).

Sadly in this release it appears podcast downloading functions are still not available with Microsoft accounts linked to NZ addresses. Don’t worry, you can still listen to the NZ Tech Podcast – it’s just not as easy as it should be.

 

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Thursday
Aug302012

Samsung Ativ S announced

The first Windows 8 phone has been announced - coming from Samsung, the Ativ S will cl6osely match the specifications of massively popular Samsung Galaxy SIII.

Key specifications are as follows:

Screen: 4.8" HD Super AMOLED display
Processor: 1.5 GHz Dual Core CPU
GPS: A-GPS, Glonass 
RAM: 1GB
Storage: 16GB or 32GB, with MicroSD storage expansion 
Battery: 2300 mAh Lithium-Ion removable battery
Network compatibility: HSPA+ 42Mbs (850/900/1900/2100 MHz), Edge, GPRS  
Bluetooth: 3.0 

Launch date in NZ is likely to be late 2012 though nothing official has yet been confirmed.

Thursday
Jun282012

Nokia Lumia 610 launches in NZ

Today Nokia have launched the newest member of their Lumia line of Windows Phones. The Lumia 610 is the lowest cost Windows Phone handset from Nokia and is available for $449 incl GST – though it’s available for less (or free) with signup to relevant plans.

The Lumia 610 joins the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800 in the New Zealand. The larger Lumia 900 has not launched locally but is available via parallel import channels following it’s launch in Australia. To get the stylish Lumia 610 below the $500 price point the specifications are a little lower than previous Windows Phones – in particular the RAM – which is 256mb compared to 512mb on the Lumia 710 and 800. Surprisingly the 610 is still able to run the large majority of Windows Phone apps with Skype being one of the exceptions.

Steve Lewis, Nokia Australia & New Zealand’s sales director, commented “We are seeing real momentum for our Nokia Lumia smartphones among consumers and business users, as well as increasing developer interest and exponential growth in our ecosystem.

“For those looking for an introduction to smartphones, the affordable Nokia Lumia 610 offers a rich social, web and entertainment experience – something that Nokia Lumia smartphones are becoming synonymous with. It also comes with a full complement of Microsoft office applications,” Steve concludes.

Alert: Windows Phone NZ and NZ Tech Podcast are giving away a Lumia 610 thanks to Nokia NZ. Listen to the next NZ Tech Podcast for details.

Sunday
Mar252012

Review: Nokia Lumia 800

After a European launch in late 2011, Nokia’s first flagship Windows Phone has finally launched in New Zealand. It’s stunning in Cyan and also in the generic Black option. I’ve spent a considerable amount of time with the Nokia Lumia 800 both before and after it being released publicly in NZ and have been extremely impressed. It’s a phone with an impressive design and...

Click to read more ...

Sunday
Jan222012

Nokia at CES 2012

On 9 January 2012 I attended Nokia’s Press Conference at the Consumer Electronics Show (CES) 2012 in Las Vegas. This event marked the formal launch of Nokia’s Lumia handsets in the US market and the global premier of the stunning Lumia 900.

NZ Tech Podcast recorded the press conference in it’s entirety – including the press Q+A session with Stephen Elop in which we asked a question on behalf of NZ smartphone users. When we discovered the full press event had not been published elsewhere we decided to make it available.

For more coverage of Windows Phone at CES 2012 – catch the numerous NZ Tech Podcast episodes covering CES 2012 – and read ‘The unlikely winner of CES 2012 – Windows Phone’

Monday
Dec122011

Make Lync 2010, Office 365 work with Windows Phone (and iPhone too)

Today Microsoft launched the Lync 2010 client for Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango). Soon the client mobile Lync 2010 client software will also be released for iOS (iPhone and iPad) along with Android, Blackberry and Symbian.

Lync2010

But many users have been struggling to login to their Lync 2010 account – particularly those using Office 365. Is there a secret to making it work correctly? Yes.

The main issues we suggest looking for:

  • Incorrect or out-dated DNS settings
  • Missing updates – the latest updates (Nov 2011) should be installed on your Lync server
  • Username in wrong format

If you are using Office 365, the DNS requirements may have changed since you initially set them up. Of particular note the following DNS entries were not required when Lync 2010 and Office 365 launched but they are relevant now. Below are examples for Office 365.

CNAME
sip.domainname.com
sipdir.online.lync.com

CNAME
lyncdiscover.domainname.com
webdir.online.lync.com        

To confirm these DNS entries for your Office 365 setup, login to the ‘Admin’ console via http://portal.microsoftonline.com then under the left heading ‘Management’ select ‘Domains’. Then click on the value to the right of the domain name you wish to check (this value would typically already be listed as ‘verified’). Now step through for confirmation of appropriate DNS settings.

Note that DNS changes can take some time to take effect. Rebooting your device may or may not speed up the process – as can removing your SIM card an operating via Wi-Fi.

The username is something worth checking if you still experience login issues. It may be in one of the following formats:

  • username@domainanme.com 
  • domain\username

Please let us know if these settings allow you get the Lync 2010 client operational on your handset or device. If you have other suggestions we’d love to read your comments. Stay tuned for info on the upcoming Skype release. You can follow via Twitter: @WindowsPhoneNZ

Thursday
Nov102011

Samsung Omnia W (i9350/Focus Flash)

The Samsung Omnia W has been formally confirmed as launching in NZ at the end of November 2011 – this will be the first Windows Phone 7.5 (Mango) handset to ship in NZ via official Telco channels. It has similarities to the original Samsung Focus launched in 2010 – the most popular Windows Phone handset launched in the US and parallel imported by many into New Zealand.

The key areas where this handsets specification have improved over original Windows Phone 7 models of late 2010 include an improved 1.4GHz CPU and front facing camera (for video calling/Tango, Skype in the future).

Of particular interest to owners of first generation Windows Phone 7 handsets will be Wi-Fi sharing/tethering (aka Internet Sharing). The Samsung Omnia W is the first Windows Phone 7.x device to ship in NZ with this feature enabled out of the box.

samsung-omnia-w

Features include:

  • Audio, Photo, Video Streaming to TV, Xbox, etc (DLNA)
  • 3.7" Display
  • Rear facing 5mp autofocus Camera / 720p HD Video Camera
  • Front facing 1.3mp Camera
  • LED Flash and Torch/Flashlight App
  • 8gb Storage, 1024mb ROM, 512mb RAM
  • 1.4ghz CPU
  • Bluetooth 2.1
  • Wi-Fi (802.11 b/g/n)
  • 3.5mm stereo audio jack
  • MicroUSB connector
  • Weight: 115 grams
  • Size: 58.8mm x 10.9mm x 116mm
  • Standard Windows Phone 7.x hardware features: GPS, G-Sensor, Digital compass, Proximity sensor, Ambient light sensor
  • Standard Windows Phone 7.5 software features: Synchronisation of email/contacts/calendar (Exchange, Hotmail, Gmail, Yahoo, etc), Zune Music/Video/Podcast Hub, Xbox Live, Internet Explorer 9, Maps app, Facebook Integration, Twitter Integration, Pictures Hub, People Hub, fully upgradable OS.
  • Chassis Type: 1
  • Keyboard: Onscreen touch keyboard

I’ve spent some time with this handset prior to it being released publicly and I was impressed. It’s certainly smaller and lighter than many other smartphones – at this end of the market. Though, if this is anything like the original Samsung Focus, the weight of the phone has little bearing on how robust the handset is.

Most of the software limitations we saw in the original Windows Phone release are long gone – so this Windows Phone 7.5 (aka Mango) handset really shines on the software front – excellent battery life, beautiful user interface, slick social media integration and now with support for VOIP apps such  Tango (with Skype and Lync rumoured to be not far off).

Official Network: Vodafone NZ

Compatible Networks: HSDPA 14.4 Mbps 900/2100 - Vodafone NZ, 2degrees

NZ List Price: TBC – Estimate $699 ($606+gst)

Rating (as at 1 November 2011): 4.5/5

Wednesday
Sep282011

No Mango update available for your Windows Phone yet?

Some people are frustrated that the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update has started rolling out to others, but is not being offered for their device. Fortunately there is a workaround and we are happy to share it if you just can't wait to get Mango onto your handset. We have tried this successfully and are not aware of any downsides at this stage.

Click to read more ...