For the last 20 years of smartphone cameras, from the earliest Symbian handsets (Nokia Nseries, mainly, then the 808 PureView) through the Lumias (1020, 950, mainly), and with iPhones and Android handsets also providing highlights here and there, users have had two main options in terms of phone imaging, both compromised. That changes this week, do please read on.
Recent News - Windows Phone 8
Long time AAS readers will remember the Nokia N93, a unique multi-form factor smartphone with a barrel camera that included a genuine continuous 1-3x zoom lens system. It worked superbly, at least in good light, with the caveat that the reduced aperture when zoomed meant that evening and night shots suffered. Partly because of this, Nokia (and then the world) moved to computational photography and smart cropping into large, high megapixel sensors in order to try and zoom without the same degree of aperture loss, cuminating in 2012's Nokia 808 and 2013's Lumia 1020. But now comes news that a continuous zoom lens system may be making a come back, 14 years on from the N93...
Rafe's over at MWC, though you don't have to wait for his comments to know that there is a new 'PureView' device released, exactly seven years after the Nokia 808 and six years after the Lumia 1020 - and from the new Nokia, run by HMD Global. Consider this the latest phase of the original PureView if you will, but the only real link other than the use of ZEISS lenses is that there's lots of computational photography going on.
Microsoft today announced that it has completed its acquisition of Nokia Devices and Services division, following approval by shareholders and governmental regulators and almost eight months on from the initial announcement. Microsoft is now a major mobile hardware manufacturer and will now begin the complex process of integration. Nokia continues to exist, primarily as a network infrastructure (NSN) business, coupled with the strategically important maps (HERE) and research and intellectual property (Advanced Technologies) businesses.
Nokia has released its Q3 2013 results, reporting an operating profit of €118 million (up from a loss of €564 million in Q3 2012), with net sales of €5.6662 billion (down 22% year-on-year). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating loss was €86 million. The margin in Devices and Services was -3% (up from from -18.9% in Q3 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 8.8 million (all Lumia), up from 7.4 million in Q2, while mobile phone volumes were 55.8 million, up from 53.7 million in Q2, but down 27% year-on-year.
Do you remember I wrote recently about issues with the Xenon flash on the Lumia 1020, caused by the shutter speed being artificially slow? After doing some tests, I've noticed that the new Nokia Camera (rolling in Nokia Pro Camera and Nokia Smart Cam) is more intelligent with shutter speed when taking typical indoor/party/event shots, with photos appearing crisper and with more natural colours. In tests, clarity and colours now match or exceed those from Xenon-lit shots on the Nokia 808, previously the gold standard here.
On October 22nd, in Abu Dhabi, Nokia is holding Nokia World, where it is expected to announce a number of new devices and accessories in a variety of form factors. The event kicks off at 08:00 BST (07:00 GMT). We'll be updating this story with our on-the-scene live coverage at the event takes place. You can also watch a live stream of the press conference event via Nokia Conversations.
Nokia has released its Q2 2013 results, reporting an operating loss of €115 million (up from a loss of €824 million in Q2 2012), with net sales of €5.695 billion (down 24% year-on-year). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating loss was €33 million. The margin in Devices and Services was -1.2% (up from from -11.8% in Q2 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 7.4 million (all Lumia), up from 6.1 million in Q1, while mobile phone volumes were 53.7 million, down from 55.8 million in Q1, and down 27% year-on-year.
Following on from a preliminary set of results, Nokia has now released its full interim Q4 2012 results, reporting an operating profit of €439 million (up from -€954 million in Q4 2011), with net sales of €8.041 billion (down 20% YoY). Nokia's Devices and Services division's operating profit was €276 million. The margin in Devices and Services was 7.2% (up from from 3.4% in Q4 2011 and up from -19.2% in Q2 2012). Total smartphone device sales were 6.6 million (4.4 million Lumia, 2.2 million Symbian).
Nokia today announced that its Q4 2012 results will be better than previously expected, with the key Devices & Services division's non-IFRS operating margin expected to be between break even and 2 percent. Previously the company had indicated this would be -6%, with a +/-4% range. Nokia also currently estimates that it sold 6.6 million smartphones (4.4 million Lumia, 2.2 million Symbian) in the last quarter. Mobile phone sales were 86.3 million, and, of these, 9.3 million were Asha full touch devices, which are sometimes classified as smartphones (in which case, a total of 15.9 million smartphones).
Big software house Digia has announced that it has 'signed an agreement to acquire Qt software technologies and Qt business from Nokia'. Once the acquisition is completed, Digia will become responsible for all the Qt activities formerly carried out by Nokia, including product development, licensing and service. Digia 'plans to quickly enable Qt on the Android, iOS and Windows 8 platforms'. As part of the transaction, a maximum of 125 people from Nokia will transfer to Digia, mostly based in Oslo, Norway and Berlin, Germany.