Archive | January 2012

Analysts estimate 1.3 million Nokia Lumias shipped in 2011

 

Nokia is expected to announce the number of Nokia Lumia handsets they shipped on the 26th, as part of their quarterly financial results.

Bloomberg has polled 22 analysts and found that they are estimating between 800,000 and 2 million Nokia Windows Phones have been shipped to retailers and carriers, with an average of 1.3 million.

Of course handsets shipped does not equal handsets sold to consumers, but the estimated shipment number would be enough to show that the Nokia/ Microsoft venture has been potential.

“The numbers look promising,” said Espen Furnes, an Oslo- based fund manager at Storebrand Asset Management, which sold Nokia shares last year. “If Nokia is able to have a strong launch and surpass at least 1 million and keep that type of momentum, this would help put them in a credible position that is crucial to winning back investors.”

“There weren’t a lot of the hero handsets out there — HTC were struggling, RIM didn’t have a show-me device, Sony Ericsson and Motorola weren’t really stepping into the mix, so there was probably enough space for Nokia to be able to point to fourth- quarter numbers they were happy with,” said Lee Simpson, a London-based analyst at Jefferies International.

Nokia is still expected to lose around $119 million for the quarter, but its share price has already increased by 15% this year as investor confidence returns.

Read more at BusinessWeek here.

CES 2012 Recap, via Winsupersite

As expected, last week’s 2012 Consumer Electronics Show included a ton of Windows 8 news as well as something I should have expected from the less-than-savvy blogosphere: A ton of non-news. On the latter note, we saw such silliness as one major news site offering up “pre-beta Windows 8 screenshots” that were really just photographs taken of a projected Windows 8 screen and, my personal favorite, an “exclusive hands-on” with a “pre-beta” version of Windows 8 that occurred on the CES show floor, in Microsoft’s booth. You know, an event that was open to over 140,000 people. Some exclusive. 🙂
But separating the wheat from the chaff, we see that some new information really did emerge this week during the show, or at least concurrently with the show. So rather than call out the less scrupulous headline grabbers, let’s focus on what really happened.
It’s not the Beta, it’s the Consumer Preview
During a Windows 8 session at CES, Microsoft director of public relations Janelle Poole provided two very interesting bits of information, the first of which was amazingly ignored by the tech press and blogosphere. (The second can be found below and was widely reported.) It goes like this:
“We haven’t talked about the release date and we generally don’t,” she said. “We are talking milestone to milestone, so for us right now we’re talking about the next milestone being the Consumer Preview happening in late February.”
I’m curious no one latched onto that comment. I don’t believe I’ve heard Microsoft refer to its one and only Windows 8 beta release as the Consumer Preview. I suppose that differentiates it from the Developer Preview from December, but it also suggests a new naming convention for Microsoft’s pre-release versions. I wonder if they’ll rename the RC (release candidate) to Business Preview too.
Just a guess.
October release date?
In the same talk, Poole also hinted at an October 2012 release date for Windows 8, an off-the-cuff remark that was, of course, taken as scripture by the blogosphere. Here’s what she said:
“One of the things that I think is a good guideline though is we’ve always said that Windows releases come around about every three years. And this year will be three years in October since we launched Windows 7. So I think that’s a good guideline to consider.”
I agree it’s a good timeline. But it’s a good timeline because it sits squarely between the two possible extremes of Windows 8 General Availability, or GA as Microsoft calls it: August 2012 and January 2013. I would caution anyone from assuming that this is in fact Microsoft’s “plan.” It’s just a rough date, and it’s no different from what Microsoft has said in the past: It generally releases a new version of Windows every three years.
About those “pre-beta” builds
The blogger kiddies running around CES were very excited to report on any minor differences between what Microsoft showed off at the show and what we’ve seen previously in the publicly-available Developer Preview. And Mary Jo Foley and I, of course, hunted for any clues in the company’s final CES keynote. There’s not much to go on. Yes, there were Metro tiles for apps that aren’t available in the Developer Preview, but then most of those tiles were actually present in Microsoft’s BUILD Conference demos, which corresponded to the Dev Preview release. So the basic news is … nothing to see here.
Microsoft did not provide private, hands-on Windows 8 demos to the press at CES that expanded on anything that was publicly available in the Microsoft booth (open to all 140,000 attendees) or to the handful of Windows 8 sessions it put on (also open to all 140,000) attendees. So what we have to go on here is just what Microsoft chose to show off publicly. Which is to say, almost nothing new at all.
Windows 8 hardware
I wasn’t expecting Microsoft to really provide any new information about Windows 8 before the Beta (excuse me, Consumer Preview) release at CES, but one thing that did surprise me is the utter lack of information about new, Windows 8-based hardware. Only a handful of devices were shown and only one seemed anywhere close to being real.
If you really paid attention at the keynote, you would have heard Microsoft talk about Windows 7 momentum (500 licenses sold, blah blah blah), then Windows 8, with the same-old, nothing-new spiel, and then … Windows 7 hardware? It was a weird transition, and while I get that Windows 7-based Ultrabooks are huge–heck, I’ve called Ultrabooks the biggest product of 2012–I don’t get why some Windows 8-based hardware wasn’t promoted at all.
In its booth, Microsoft talked up a slightly updated version of the Samsung Series 7 tablet that it provided to BUILD attendees, a second unnamed tablet, and a laptop. Lenovo announced a new take on the convertible laptop, which it describes as “the industry’s first multi-mode notebook.” It’s called the IdeaPad Yoga Flip, and it looks very interesting. It’s also misunderstood: This device it not meant as competition to thin, light, iPad-like slate tablets but is instead a full-featured laptop that can also be used as a tablet when you want something like that. It’s a good example of the versatility of the PC market.
Windows 8 hardware requirements: It’s NOT about locking out Linux at all
Today, my Windows 8 Secrets co-author, Rafael Rivera, posted an incredibly important look at Microsoft’s publicly-released (but almost completely ignored) hardware requirements for Windows 8 logo certification in Windows 8 Secrets: PC and Device Requirements. These requirements are interesting for a number of reasons: They explain, step by step, what the differences are for ARM and Intel/x86-based Windows 8 PCs and devices and, of course, the differences between what’s required in Windows 8 compared to previous Windows versions.
While some have tried to make a story out of Microsoft’s so-called “locking out” of Linux on ARM-based devices, Rafael has discovered some truly revelatory information, and his post hits on Windows 8 digitizer requirements (5 points and up), NFC touch marks (required on-device), hardware buttons (5 must be there), the minimum component set for logo-ed Windows 8 tablets and convertible PCs, no-reboot drivers, and 2-second resume. Read the post.
Amazingly, this is just the tip of the iceberg. I was speaking with Rafael about this documentation at length last night and he’s got a lot more to write about. Stay tuned.

AWindows 8 Secrets update
As the months fly by, I’ll be writing more and more about the actual act of writing the next book, Windows 8 Secrets. But I wanted to provide a short update: Last week on the Windows Weekly podcast, I discussed my evolving technology usage changes, including a rather startling change from Microsoft Word to Evernote for day-to-day writing. I further elaborated on this change in What I Use: Evernote And Microsoft Word For Writing.
I mention this here because I had temporarily decided to do most of the core writing of Windows 8 Secrets in Evernote and then transfer the text into Word for final processing before handing it off to the publisher. But I will not be doing this. This book is a collaborative process and Rafael and I will need the related features in Microsoft Word to write the book effectively. So we’ll continue using Microsoft Word for the entire writing process, though I’ll continue to store notes related to the book in Evernote.
Our plan with Windows 8 Secrets is simple: This will be the authoritative electronic and printed guide to the new features and functionality in Windows 8, the single best book on this topic, and will be released day and date with the OS, regardless of how Microsoft’s schedule changes. We did it with Windows 7, and we’ll do it again. But in the meantime, Rafael and I also intend on providing the very best Windows 8 coverage for free on the web through our respective web sites, with me of course covering the high-level, end-user features and Rafael examining the low-level, technical, and developer-related functionality. Our individual expertises are completely complementary, which is one of the many reasons we’re working together. And in the end, this will benefit anyone interested in learning more about Windows 8. You don’t need to wait for the book, and you don’t need to pay if you don’t want to. This isn’t a new form of publishing. It’s just the right way to do it.
See you next week.

Achievement Unlocked … For Developers

“Visual Studio Achievements, a Visual Studio plug-in, enables developers to unlock badges and compete against one another for a place on a leader board based on the code they write, its level of sophistication, and the Visual Studio capabilities they use to do so,” the post notes. “Developers finally have the ability to actually show their friends, colleagues, project managers, spouses and customers how good they are at what they do all day and sometimes into the night.”
There are 32 achievements with six categories and corresponding badges. And each time you earn a badge, a unique page is created with your profile picture, the badge and a description. You can tweet about achievements, share them on Facebook, and show a list of achievements on your blog using the Visual Studio Achievements Widget.

Microsoft CES 2012 Video Wall

Two Windows 7 server systems running the latest version of WATCHOUT. The main system and backup run 63 – 47″ lcd screens in a 7 channel configuration resulted in a 70 x 5’8″ animated looping wall.

Microsoft Keynote

The 90 minute keynote utilized looping animated backgrounds, scenic background images, and a metro animation that we built to seamlessly tie the visuals together.

Nokia Lumia Sales Seen Topping 1 Million in Respite for Stock, Bloomberg Reports

Nokia Oyj (NOK1V)’s first phones running Microsoft Corp. (MSFT)software may have sold enough units last year to help rebuild investor confidence in the Finnish company, which lost $19 billion in market value in 2011.

The Lumia handsets, which went on sale in Europe in November, probably sold 1.3 million units globally to operators and retailers by the end of last year, according to the average estimate of 22 analysts compiled by Bloomberg. The projections range from 800,000 to 2 million and only one analyst predicted sales of fewer than 1 million handsets.

“The numbers look promising,” said Espen Furnes, an Oslo- basedfund manager at Storebrand Asset Management, which sold Nokia shares last year and counts Apple Inc. (AAPL) in more than $60 billion it oversees. “If Nokia is able to have a strong launch and surpass at least 1 million and keep that type of momentum, this would help put them in a credible position that is crucial to winning back investors.”

Chief Executive Officer Stephen Elop has staked the future of Nokia’s smartphone business on the Lumia series, after deciding almost a year ago that the Espoo, Finland-based company would retire its homegrown Symbian and MeeGo handsets. The early shipment figures are important because investors had doubted the alliance with Microsoft could compete with Apple’s iPhone and devices running on Android, developed by Google Inc.

Elop, 48, has refused to give sales forecasts for the Lumia models and kept initial expectations low by stressing the long- term work involved in building a new “ecosystem” of applications and developers with Microsoft. The partnership with the world’s largest software maker was announced on Feb. 11.

Hero Handsets?

“There weren’t a lot of the hero handsets out there — HTC were struggling, RIM didn’t have a show-me device, Sony Ericsson and Motorola weren’t really stepping into the mix, so there was probably enough space for Nokia to be able to point to fourth- quarter numbers they were happy with,” said Lee Simpson, a London-based analyst at Jefferies International.

Sales of the Symbian smartphone line declined 36 percent in the two quarters between the Lumia announcement and launch, and will likely have a bigger effect on revenue and profit. Nokia, which reports earnings Jan. 26, probably had a fourth-quarter loss of 92 million euros($119 million), as sales may have fallen 20 percent to 1 billion euros, separate surveys of analysts showed. Nokia spokesman Doug Dawson declined to comment before the release.

Cheaper Models

Nokia’s shares fell 52 percent in 2011. Since the beginning of this year, Nokia has gained 15 percent, while Apple rose 3.8 percent and HTC was down 1.7 percent. The Lumia models won respect from reviewers and bloggers, including 13 awards at the Consumer Electronics Showin Las Vegas.

“What’s really needed is cheaper models to compensate for the declining trend in Symbian, which sold in large numbers in the main smartphone category of 200 to 300 euros,” said FIM Bank analyst Michael Schroeder. Those aren’t likely to come until the second half, he said.

The 420-euro Lumia 800 went on sale in Europe the week of Nov. 14, while the 270-euro Lumia 710 started selling in four Asian markets and Russia in December. Carphone Warehouse Group Plc (CPW)’s website carries Samsung Electronics Co.’s Galaxy Y for 115 pounds ($178) without a contract, the Galaxy S 2 for 460 pounds without a contract, and HTC’s Desire S for290 pounds.

Debt Rating Cuts

“Half a million would be realistic and acceptable given the short period of time these handsets have been on the market,” said SEB Enskilda analyst Mats Nystroem of the Lumia.

The fact that Nokia, the world’s largest mobile-phone maker, had been eclipsed in smartphones gradually became apparent to shareholders in the three years after the 2007 Apple iPhone introduction. The discovery erased more than 60 billion euros in value before then-Microsoft executive Elop was appointed to take over in Sept. 2010. Nokia’s debt ratings were cut last year by Standard & Poor’s and Moody’s on concerns that a turnaround would take too long.

Elop introduced a third model on Jan. 9, the Lumia 900, on AT&T Inc. (T) with a larger screen and the ability to operate on so- called 4G high-speed broadband networks.

Lumia sales may reach 3.2 million units this quarter as the handsets ramp up in Asia, according to the average of 16 analyst estimates. Estimates for full-year sales of Windows Phones have reached as high as 37 million units from Morgan Stanley.

First-quarter estimates range from 1.5 million to 6 million. The smartphone market may have grown 50 percent last year, Gartner Inc. analysts estimated in November, compared with 13.9 percent growth in 2008.

‘Too Rich’

Sales to consumers were probably less than Nokia’s shipments to stores, since the Lumia was not broadly sold out, the analysts said. Apple may have sold 30 million iPhones in the final quarter of 2011, Piper Jaffray analyst Gene Munster said.

“The Lumia 800 was just a little bit too rich for a lot of people’s blood in terms of a new Windows Phone,” said Ernest Doku, a technology analyst at uSwitch.com, a U.K. website that helps consumers compare prices. Rivals like Apple have competed by discounting older models that consumers still want, he said.

The Lumia didn’t make USwitch’s top-10 handsets list for December based on user searches and clicks. The list was headed by Samsung’s Android-powered Galaxy S2.

Nokia’s fourth-quarter results will also include the N9, a Lumia 800 lookalike running Nokia smartphone software called MeeGo, which began shipping in September at prices from 480 euros. The N9 may have sold 1.4 million units last quarter, Pareto Oehman analyst Helena Nordman-Knutson said.

“People forget it’s not all about Lumia, there’s the N9 as well and it’s part of this transition,” she said. “With these new devices the average selling price could lift because the proportion of lower-priced smartphones will decrease.”

To contact the reporter on this story: Diana ben-Aaron in Helsinki atdbenaaron1@bloomberg.net

Nokia’s Lumia 900 Smartphone To Be A Big Win For Microsoft, Analysts Say

Nokia (NYSE:NOK)’s Lumia 900 smartphone will help the former mobility giant regain much of its lost market share this year, but the new device may prompt an even larger comeback for Microsoft(NSDQ:MSFT), according to report Thursday from market analysts IHS iSuppli.

The Lumia 900 will reportedly launch this March, running Microsoft’s Windows Phone 7.5. The Lumia smartphone series, also including the lower-end Lumia 710 and Lumia 800, is the first ever from Nokia to depart from the company’s own Symbian OS, which struggled to carve a space for itself within the mobile OS market.

Traditionally, Windows Phone hasn’t met with much success either. In 2011, only 1.9 percent of smartphones ran on a Windows Phone OS while Google (NSDQ:GOOG)’s Android, comparatively, held 47.4 percent.

The anticipated success of Nokia’s Lumia 900, however, is expected to change all that, and ultimately thrust Microsoft to the number two seat with a market share of 16.7 percent by 2015. If IHS iSuppli’s projections prove true, that means in 2015 Windows Phone will beat out iOS, RIM, and all other mobile operating systems on the market, coming second only to Google’s Android.

According to the report, Microsoft’s climb to that number two spot will start almost immediately. Compared to the lackluster 1.9 percent Windows Phone held in 2011, the OS is expected to account for a significantly larger 9 percent in 2012, 15.3 percent in 2013, and 16.1 percent in 2014 – only two percentage points less than the 18 percent Apple’s iOS held last year.

“One of the hottest new products unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show was the Lumia 900, a Windows Phone-based smartphone sporting a flashy set of features that makes it competitive with the best alternatives offered by the Android camp,” wrote Wayne Lam, senior analyst for wireless communications at IHS, in the report. “This hot product represents Nokia’s first step to reclaim its market share. Combined with Nokia’s efforts to drive the development of the Windows Phone ecosystem, the Lumia 900 and its successors will help Microsoft to reclaim its No. 2 ranking in smartphone operating system market share in 2015.”

As Lam suggests, Nokia’s migration from its Symbian OS to Windows Phone will benefit not only Microsoft, but the smartphone maker as well. The Lumia 900’s 4.3-inch touch screen display and 12-megapixel camera will make it a strong contender in consumer markets, and its access to Microsoft’s robust business and enterprise sales channels will give it a leg up in the corporate world.

The Lumia 900 also supports the Long Term Evolution (LTE) 4G standard, a feature that IHS iSuppli believes will stir up a particularly positive response within North America – a region the Finland-based Nokia doesn’t typically target.

Overall, though, IHS anticipates most of the Lumia 900’s brand-reviving success to fall onto Microsoft’s lap. As Nokia continues to build up the Windows Phone application “ecosystem” – a phrase that has come to determine a mobile device’s success more than the hardware itself – other vendors are sure to follow suit.

“Because of Nokia’s support, apps developers will eagerly shore up the Windows platform,” Lam explained. “This will cause other makers of Windows Phone devices, such as Samsung and HTC, to offer more products supporting the OS — further expanding the market.”