Windows Phone 8

Microsoft’s Nokia Lumia 630 ad shows how to do a smartphone switch with a football

Microsoft-owned Nokia earlier this week announced its first Windows Phone 8.1 handset, the Lumia 630, with sales starting in Asia this week, followed by Europe and the United States.

In promoting the low-to-mid-range smartphone, Microsoft and Nokia put together a commercial sporting Finnish goalkeeper and Trick Shot master Lassi Hurskainen who shows how to do a smartphone switch with a football.

And some of the handsets flying out of people's hands seemingly resemble a certain iconic smartphone from a certain California company. Have a look at the video included after the break and meet us in comments...

Samsung bets on Windows

Say what you will about Samsung, but it's always been a multi-platform player. True, the company's bet on Android has paid off big time, but Samsung also maintains another smartphone operating system, its own Bada software, and pledges to build a plethora of desktop and mobile products driven by Microsoft's new Windows 8 desktop operating system and its Windows Phone 8 counterpart.

The South Korean conglomerate currently makes Windows-based Smart PC and Smart PC Pro, in addition to a Windows Phone 8 tablet and smartphone. All are marketed under the new ATIV moniker (whoever thought of that one?). I kinda like how the commercial above highlights different usage scenarios for these devices. By the way, what's up with the evident James Bond theme to advertising recently?

Microsoft to launch new Xbox Music service, iOS app in the works

Microsoft announced Sunday evening that it was going to be launching its new streaming music service, Xbox Music, in the coming weeks. The move will pit Microsoft directly against Spotify, RDIO, and even iTunes.

Xbox Music will debut on — what else — the Xbox, and then roll out to Windows 8 and Windows Phone 8 devices as they become available later this month. Microsoft says it's also working on iOS and Android clients...

Nokia pre-empts iPhone 5 with new Lumias rocking Windows Phone 8

Software giant Microsoft and former cell phone champion Nokia held a press conference earlier today in a very wet New York City. Nokia is attempting to re-boot its ailing smartphone biz with some sleek new Lumia handsets, with a little help from its pal Microsoft and its new Windows Phone 8 operating system. It pays to keep tabs on what competition is doing and it's always exciting watching good ol' Windows maker playing a catch up in mobile.

With that in mind, the presser was basically a pre-emptive tease against the massive iPhone 5 launch due next Wednesday. Interestingly, Nokia hasn't shied away from criticizing Samsung for failing to deliver a working Windows Phone 8 phone. Conspicuously enough, Nokia itself did not announce price points or shipping dates for the new Lumias.

Perhaps it would have been better to hold this event a month from now? Be that as it may, Microsoft will hopefully play its cards right and over time establish Windows Phone as a third viable platform. I'm all for it: some balance to the force is needed as it's been disrupted lately by Android's relentless march. Here's what's new from the Microkia camp...

Samsung unveils new Galaxy Note 2 phablet, Android camera

Samsung took the stage today at the annual IFA show in Berlin, Germany to unveil a slew of new devices. The keynote was the first in a long line of scheduled product announcements leading up to Apple's September 12 iPhone event.

Among the new gadgets Samsung debuted this morning was the long-rumored Galaxy Note II. The device follows up a fairly successful Galaxy Note, which had the internals of a smartphone and the form factor of a mini tablet.

And now, it's even bigger...

Nokia and Microsoft schedule September 5 event to talk Windows Phone 8

We've known for awhile that Nokia and Microsoft were planning to counter Apple's iPhone 5 launch with an event of their own. It's official now as Microsoft issued media invitations for a Windows Phone-focused presser in New York City on September 5, just a week before Apple is expected to take the wraps off its next iPhone. Talk about preempting what analyst Gene Munster likes to paint as "the biggest consumer electronics launch in history".

With Nokia close to being on life support and Microsoft's market share in mobile still eroding, there better be some darn exciting announcements if smartphone buyers are to consider upcoming Windows Phone 8-powered Lumia phones this holiday season...

Nokia’s inaugural Windows Phone 8 has some familiar design

One of the most common complaints I keep hearing about the yet-unreleased next iPhone is a sense of dissapointment over its overly unchanged appearance, even if from the design standpoint the iPhone 5 is much more than a rehash of the existing iPhone 4/4S design.

Is you know, Apple's upcoming device is said to sport a two-tone metal backplate (58 percent like it), a taller four-inch screen with new display technology, a relocated headphone jack and a much smaller dock connector with MagSafe-like functionality at the bottom.

But it ain't just Apple. Nokia, once a leader in cell phones and now an also-ran, figured its inaugural Windows Phone 8 handset shouldn't change the design formula established with the sleek Windows Phone 7.5-powered Lumia 710. Heck, if the above leaked photo is the real deal, Nokia may not be willing to change the overall Lumia design much with the new handset...

Nokia, Samsung countering iPhone 5 with ‘iconic’ Windows Phone 8 devices

The next iPhone is upon us (think September 21-ish) and Apple's rivals are scrambling to conveniently time their upcoming 'hero' device announcements around the same timeframe. That's brave tactics, trying to divert spotlight away from the mother of all upgrades, as analyst Gene Munster dubbed the iPhone 5 release.

Both Samsung and Nokia are set to unveil new high-end devices built around Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 software. One of the devices is being described in court documents as an "iconic smartphone". All phones should be on store shelves in time for the holiday shopping frenzy. Should Apple be worried?

Microsoft introduces Windows Phone 8

As expected, Microsoft has just taken the wraps off of Windows Phone 8 — the latest iteration of its mobile operating system — during a nightclub-themed media event in California.

Similar to Apple's WWDC keynote, Microsoft took this opportunity to go over a handful of new features in the software. And so far, it looks fairly solid. Should Apple be nervous?