07 February 2016 ~ 1 Comment

How Windows Phone is growing faster than Apple and Android in the UK

Windows Phone is regarded by many as not being able to compete with the mighty Apple iOS and Google’s Android-powered smartphones. Indeed, we’d usually agree with the argument that Microsoft is “doomed to irrelevance in the mobile age”. However, it may be time to reconsider the reports of the imminent death of Microsoft’s smartphone operating system. According to the latest figures, it certainly is not dying in the UK.

Smartphone operating system market shares for the year ending December 2015 compared to the year end 2014 shows some interesting trends. Android’s market share grew by 1.8 percent while Apple’s iOS declined by 3.1 percent. Meanwhile, Windows Phone showed better growth than Android at 2.3 percent (albeit from a much lower base).

A curious fact which emerges from the Kantar Worldpanel ComTech global analysis shows that the UK is the only Western market where Microsoft phones are showing growth. In China, Windows showed a 0.5 percent growth in a market currently dominated by Apple.

The performance of Windows Phone in the UK is probably linked to the success of Microsoft’s Lumia 950 and 950 XL handsets which were launched in November. Both phones have been well received by the public and if they had been released earlier in 2015 the UK sales growth for Windows Phone would have been even more impressive. This success contradicts Gartner’s view last year, which predicted that the Lumia won’t have much of an impact on Microsoft’s dismal performance in the global markets.

It’s not all good news for Microsoft though as the overall Windows Phone market share has tumbled across the globe to 2.2 percent and analysts do not see much hope for improvement from that base. Without strong support from OEM partners and mobile app development, the future looks bleak for Microsoft mobile. However, the new Lumia handsets are very popular with users who want a functional smartphone without much need for additional software or applications. And this market will probably keep driving the sales of Windows Phone.

What do you think? Where do you see Windows Phone this time next year?

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20 May 2015 ~ 8 Comments

Top 5 value-for-money smartphones

top 5 value for money

Everyone knows about the latest and greatest superpowered smartphones such as the Samsung Galaxy S5, the Apple iPhone 5S and the HTC One M8. They pack in the latest technology and the most features and are really at the cutting edge of modern industrial design. However, despite the high performance, they have a price tag to match.

Not everyone can afford £1000+ on a new mobile phone and commitment to a contract of two years or more. Furthermore, anyone following technology knows that early adopters pay over the odds and sometimes even subsidise other consumers for the right to boast that they a device at the bleeding edge of tech.

Smarter customers often look for bargains instead of obsessing over the very best. By going for a phone that’s a generation or two behind the curve, you not only get a product with amazing performance but you also save a lot of money. Simply, it’s the best way to maximise the bang for your buck. And it’s pretty clear that nowadays, even a phone that came out two years ago offers a blisteringly fast user experience, the same solid build quality and more features than you’d probably ever use. If you want better value for money, you can still get amazing performance – after all, most phones today offer better tech specs than laptops and digital cameras from just a few years ago.

We now have bargain smartphones available that refuse to compromise on performance. Today we’re rounding up the top five phones that offer the best value. These handsets are all less than half the price of a new Galaxy S5 or iPhone 5S but still keep up with the latest games and apps. In our opinion, they are easily the best value for money smartphones you can currently get. Have a look for yourself!

Nokia Lumia 520

Only £79.84

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nokialumia520

Smooth, stylish and smart, the new Lumia 520 is packed with great features it’s hard to live without. Windows Mobile has massively improved recently and on top of that, there’s no denying that Nokia, with all their experience, make stunning-looking devices.

At an incredible pricepoint of under £80, it’s hard to argue with the Lumia 520. Anything else this cheap without a contract will be sluggish and unresponsive in comparison.

It also boasts a super-sharp 4″ screen, crystal call quality and many other perks such as a physical shutter button and digital lenses.

If you don’t mind a Windows Phone device, there is absolutely nothing that comes close to the price/quality ratio of the Nokia Lumia 520.

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Lenovo A820

Only £109.22

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lenovo a820

When looking at Chinese phones like the Lenovo A820, the main selling points is just how much phone you’re getting for your money. It has 1 GB of RAM and a quad core processor but still costs just over 100 quid. If you don’t have hundreds and hundreds of pounds to spend on your mobile phone but still want all the bells and whistles of a smartphone, this is a great choice to go for.

We’ve already written a full in-depth review of the Lenovo A820 but to summarise, the highlights of this handset are the power saving features, the long-lasting removable 2000 mAh power cell, the amazing dual-SIM ports and the fact it comes with a quad core processor.

This handset is incredibly cheap for the hardware you’re getting and it offers incomparable value compared to almost any phone available on British high streets.

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Moto G

Was £159.99 Now only £149.99

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moto g

Yes, you read it right. The Moto G is a Android KitKat 4G smartphone that only costs £150! It boasts a Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 quad-core processor, boatloads of RAM and much more besides.

The battery is great and the two cameras produce snaps of amazingly good quality. Perhaps best of all in the impressive curved 4.5″ screen coated with Gorilla Glass. The casing is even water-resistant!

LTE 4G, HD display, Quad-Core Speed Android 4.4 KitKat and all for less than £150. A bargain!

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Nexus 5

Only £260.00

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nexus 5

The Nexus 5 surely needs no introduction. Built by LG, the Google-branded Android handset comes with an 8 MP OIS camera featuring HDR+ and Photo Sphere‚ a 4.95″ Full HD IPS Display, fast 4G LTE and a 2‚300 mAh battery.

The phone has a nice matt rubberised back and feels great to hold. Compared to high end competitors like the iPhone 5S, you get a bigger, better quality screen and the Nexus is just as blisteringly fast.

The Nexus 5 is outstanding and comes at an incredible price for a well-specced product that just exudes quality.

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LG G2

Was £489.00 Now only £275.79

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lg g2

If you’re willing to spend a little more, you can still get great value for your cash. The LG G2 blows away most of its competition with a 2.26Ghz quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 CPU, 2GB RAM, 13 megapixel OIS camera and a 5.2″ full HD display.

On top of that it boasts a massive battery to keep it going all day and genuinely useful software features such as tracking zoom, Knockon and Capture PLus.

The phone is gorgeous to look at with the bezel-less screen and amazing build quality throughout. The display density is 424 ppi and the colour reproduction is clear and vivid. Overall, the LG G2 is a great handset and an utter bargain at this price.

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24 April 2014 ~ 0 Comments

#1: Microsoft buys Nokia

We’ve been working on a recap of the biggest stories in mobile and tech from last year. With our good friend Scottie Ladeaux we’re going to bring you a new post looking back on our picks from 2013 every Thursday.

We got there! This is the final instalment of a ten part video series looking back at the year 2013 in mobile and tech. And the long-awaited #1 biggest story in tech from the whole of last year is the news of Microsoft completely buying out struggling Nokia’s Mobile Phones Division.

We talk about the history of Nokia and what this acquisition means for them as well as the whole future of the battle between various smartphone operating systems. We also question the role of Stephen Elop in the relationship between Microsoft and Nokia.

It wasn’t a complete surprise to everyone, but this news shook up the entire business world and is sure to play a huge role in shaping the future of smartphones and mobile tech in general.

Nokia may have been in the business since the ’70s and produced the first handheld mobile ever but soon after the first smartphones came out they’ve been in decline. The Finnish company were the world’s biggest handset manufacturer for fourteen years but in 2012 Samsung emphatically replaced them.

Despite a massive marketing budget and lucrative royalty-sharing deals, their Windows Phone mobiles make up fewer than 5% of smartphones sold and Nokia have forced through a massive savings strategy. But even with 15,000 redundancies, they have been haemorrhaging cash and their revenues crashed from over €7 billion to just under €3 billion in the second quarter of 2013.

Nokia had been all but written off until September last year when Microsoft announced they’d be acquiring the whole company in a massive £4.6 billion (or $7.2 billion) deal. Microsoft also agreed to invest an additional €1.5 billion in financing to help with the Finnish company’s cash flow woes and debt issues.

It’s an industry open secret that, unlike other rival manufacturers, Nokia chose not to partner with Android when it first came out as they feared they would not survive the competition of Google’s market. Instead their plan was to join Microsoft and aim to control a whole vertical with their phones being manufactured from Nokia components rather than off-the-shelf parts. But nobody predicted they’d end up being owned by them.

This shakes up the entire smart phone market. Now, there really are only three big players left – Apple’s iOS, Google’s Android and Microsoft’s with Windows Phone. Previously, BlackBerry had also been in the running but with Microsoft choosing Nokia over them, it’s hard to see a place for BlackBerry in the future of smart phones. Especially since their revenues have also plummeted in recent years and due to their internal issues which we discussed in video #5 in this countdown.

However, some saw a conspiracy in the demise of Nokia. Stephen Elop was the head of Microsoft’s Business Division for two and a half years before he took over as Nokia’s CEO in September 2010. This was the first time that Nokia had a non-Finnish director and he received a $6 million golden handshake.

Elop’s reign at Nokia was fraught with controversy. It was under his leadership that Nokia’s internally-developed operating systems – Symbian and Meego – were in favour of Microsoft’s OS. He also deriding the company in public statements and some suspected him to be a Trojan horse-style saboteur destroying them from the inside.

The fact that Nokia’s market cap has plummeted over the last few years. has meant that it’s ripe for the picking and Microsoft were able to snatch up a bargain compared to a few years ago. There were rumours that Microsoft would try to buy Nokia ever since he was appointed and as part of the deal Elop will now return to Microsoft as head of their Devices team. But

Regardless, this acquisition will be remembered a major event in the history of mobile phones. Microsoft has been struggling to keep up as a technology company in the age of mobile and if they want to salvage any of the success they’ve retained since the ’90s it’s in many ways an entirely necessary gamble.

Still, the duopoly of Android and iOS seems incredibly solid at the moment and it’s hard to see how they can chip away at their market share. However, it is clear that they are willing to spend and do whatever it takes to have a chance to be one of the major players in this business. The strategy has been failing so far, so it’s hard to see how ploughing even more money in can make a drastic difference. But it certainly makes things much more interesting for the next few years and it can only be good for consumers to have more competition and innovation.

What did you think of this series? Do you reckon we covered all the major stories in tech and mobile from last year or we there some that we omitted? And what’s your take on the Microsoft-Nokia deal? Could Elop really have been a plant devised to produce a preferential price?

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