Selfie-centric phone among new Microsoft offerings

Selfie-centric phone among new Microsoft
offerings (Update)
4 September 2014, by Frank Jordans
To this end, Microsoft is also giving users more
control over the kind of information—friends, diaries,
home address—that the Cortana voice assistant will
have access to, he said.
A woman shows the new Lumia 830 smart phone during
a Microsoft Nokia presentation event at the consumer
electronic fair IFA in Berlin, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. (AP
Photo/Markus Schreiber)
Microsoft will seek to draw more people to its
Internet-based services with two new mid-range
smartphones it unveiled Thursday, including one
designed to help people take better selfies.
The devices are under the Lumia brand Microsoft
bought from Nokia. They run the latest version of
Windows Phone 8 and feature Cortana, a Siri-like
voice assistant available to help with directions,
calendar appointments and messages. Many of
those interactions will steer users to Microsoft
services such as Bing search and OneDrive
storage.
Chris Weber, Microsoft's vice president for mobile
devices sales, insisted consumers should feel
comfortable about storing their personal pictures
on OneDrive, despite the recent exposure of
celebrities' private pictures stored on rival Apple's
cloud-based system.
"I think we have to amplify the message around
security regarding these cloud services," Weber
told reporters.
Microsoft bought Nokia's phone business in April as
it seeks to boost Microsoft's Windows Phone
system, which has had little traction compared with
Apple's iPhones and Google's Android system.
Microsoft CEO Satya Nadella has made mobile
phones and Internet-based services priorities for
the company as its traditional businesses—Windows
and Office software installed on desktops—slow
down or decline.
Microsoft unveiled the new Lumia 730 and 830
phones at the IFA technology show in Berlin.
The handsets won't have all the technical advances
found in Microsoft's pricier flagship, the Lumia 930
phone, which is known as the Lumia Icon in the
United States. The 730's rear camera takes 6.7
megapixel shots, while the 830 is 10 megapixels.
By contrast, the 930 phone is at 20 megapixels,
one of the highest in a smartphone.
But the 730, in particular, will have features
designed for better selfies and video calls. The front
camera used for selfies will be 5 megapixels, higher
than the 2 megapixels found in many phones.
For even better shots, it'll be possible to take selfies
with the rear camera. Users won't be able to see
themselves on the screen, but an app called Lumia
Selfie will use face-detection technology and beeps
to guide users on where to hold the camera.
Samsung's upcoming Note phones will have a
similar feature, along with software to stitch multiple
shots on the front camera to fit more people in.
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A man shows the new Lumia 830, left, and 730, right,
smart phones during a Microsoft Nokia presentation
event at the consumer electronic fair IFA in Berlin,
Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Markus Schreiber)
The latest Lumia devices will also pander to users'
vanity, by offering functions to make them look
slimmer, brighten teeth and widen tired eyes on
photos they've taken.
The 830 has a 5-inch screen, measured diagonally
and will cost about 330 euros ($435) before tax,
compared with 440 euros for the Samsung Galaxy
S5 and 515 euros for the iPhone 5.
The 4.7-inch 730 will cost 199 euros before tax. It
will have 3G connectivity and slots for two SIM
cards, an important feature in emerging markets
where wireless plans vary widely such that users
switch services often to get the best deals. A 4G
version will be known as the 735 and will cost 219
euros before tax.
Chris Weber, CVP, Mobile Devices Sales of Microsoft,
presents the new Lumia Selfie App for their smart phones
during his keynote speech during a Microsoft Nokia
presentation event at the consumer electronic fair IFA in
Berlin, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Markus
Schreiber)
Among other new releases unveiled at the show:
— Lenovo is also coming out with phones aimed at
better selfies.
The new Vibe Z2 phone has an 8 megapixel front
camera, while the Vibe X2 will have 5 megapixels
in the front. The phones will also have a feature
that triggers the camera to snap the shot by
smiling, blinking or making a "V'' gesture.
Microsoft, which bought Skype three years ago, is
also throwing in three months of free international
voice calls with every new purchase.
The new phones will start shipping in September,
though not necessarily right away in all markets.
Typically, Lumia phones make it to the U.S. under
different model numbers.
A woman shows the new Lumia 830 smart phone during
a Microsoft Nokia presentation event at the consumer
electronic fair IFA in Berlin, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. (AP
Photo/Markus Schreiber)
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The phones will appear in China first, with
expansion to other Asia-Pacific markets, Eastern
Europe and the Middle East. Lenovo has no plans
to sell either in the U.S.
— Chinese firm Huawei is instead focusing on
battery life with its Ascend Mate7 smartphone,
which as 6-inch screen and a massive 4100 mAh
battery.
unveiled a new flagship phone, in its mid-tier Desire
series.
The Desire 820 comes with a fast processor similar
to that found in the iPhone 5; an 8-megapixel frontfacing camera for the increasingly important selfie
function; and a 5.5-inch screen to show off the
videos recorded with the 13-megapixel back
camera.
Shao Yang, head of Huawei's marketing
department, said even heavy users would get two
days' work out of a full battery charge.
It ships worldwide at the end of September and will
cost about 329 euros, depending on the market.
The Mate7 sports a fingerprint sensor on the back
that can be used to unlock the phone. But while
Samsung and Apple have already done this in their
latest flagship phones, Huawei lets users associate
the print on all fives fingers with a different function.
This can be used to show something to a friend but
hide private photos, for example.
© 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.
Chris Weber, CVP, Mobile Devices Sales of Microsoft
presents the new Lumia 730 and 735 smart phones
during his keynote speech at a Microsoft Nokia
presentation event at the consumer electronic fair IFA in
Berlin, Thursday, Sept. 4, 2014. (AP Photo/Markus
Schreiber)
A version with 16 gigabytes of storage will ship for
499 euros this fall in markets outside the U.S.,
while the 32 gigabytes version will sell for 599
euros.
—Taiwanese phone manufacturer HTC also
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APA citation: Selfie-centric phone among new Microsoft offerings (Update) (2014, September 4) retrieved
15 May 2015 from http://phys.org/news/2014-09-selfie-centric-microsoft.html
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