UPDATED – Nokia to make Android Phones in 2016!

Nokia has just published a statement on its official company website claiming that it has “no intention to manufacture or sell consumer handsets”. Furthermore, the company also deemed as false recent reports that quoted a Nokia executive as confirming the company’s ambitions to manufacture smartphones out of an R&D facility in China.

Earlier this week, a couple of reports suggested that Nokia is staging a comeback to the smartphone market. The initial report, published on Monday by ReCode, quoted sources familiar to Nokia’s plans according to which the company is planning a return to the smartphone market in 2016. A few days later, a Chinese newspaper quoted Mike Wang, the President of Nokia China, communicating an intention to to manufacture smartphones in the Chinese city of Sichuan.

Nokia’s recent statement doesn’t specifically make any mention to plans of designing smartphones in the near future. The statement only mentions that the company has no plans to sell or manufacture consumer handsets, and this specificity leaves room for interpretation. ReCode originally reported that Nokia will licence smartphone designs to third party manufacturers, which is exactly what the company did with the Nokia N1 tablet, a device designed by Nokia, but manufactured and commercialized by Foxconn.
Nokia is bound by its deal with Microsoft not to release any Nokia-branded smartphones until the third quarter of 2016. We’re keeping an eye on the situation and we’ll get back to you as soon as there’s more to report.

Recently we heard rumors about alleged Nokia plans for re-entering the phone market in 2016. We are happy to report those plans are indeed true and Nokia will be marking its return next year with an Android smartphone.

Nokia sold its device business to Microsoft a year ago and it signed a non-compete clause preventing the company from producing smartphones under the Nokia brand until December 31, 2015 and feature phones under the Nokia brand for a decade.

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Nokia used wisely these non-compete clauses and outed the powerful Nokia N1 tablet early this year. The N1 is designed by Nokia, including its Z Launcher for Android, but the rights for the branding, manufacturing, marketing and distributions were licensed to Foxconn.

The President of Nokia China confirmed Nokia is working on Android powered smartphones, which will be probably manufactured in factories in Sichuan, China (after further assessment) and will be launched in 2016. He also sheds some light on company’s future – the Nokia’s R&D center will permanently relocate to Sichuan, China.

Looking forward to Nokia’s next phone chapter? We certainly are.

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Google finally unveils ‘Project Fi’ wireless service!

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After months of rumors and years of speculation, Google has finally announced its own mobile carrier initiative. Google’s Project Fi isn’t a new network, but rather a new type of Mobile Virtual Network Operator (MVNO) that combines the networks of multiple carriers and leans heavily on WiFi hotspots to streamline the experience. Project Fi is now accepting invitation requests, but at this early stage there are a whole mountain of caveats.

Project Fi will connect your device to 4G LTE on either Sprint or T-Mobile, depending on which signal is better in your current location. If there’s an open WiFi hotspot nearby, your device will automatically connect to that. Only WiFi that has been identified as being of decent quality will automatically connect, and you can always shut off WiFi if you like. When you are connected to a WiFi network, your calls will be routed over that connection, and Project Fi will fire up a VPN automatically to protect your data.

That’s the basic premise of Project Fi. But what about the cost? The basic service with unlimited talk and text is $20 per month, and then you add data on top of that. You only pay for the data you use, and there’s no such thing as wasted bytes. It’s $10 per GB, and anything you request, but don’t use, will be refunded to you on your next bill. Say you think you’ll use 2GB of data, but you only use 1.2GB. On your next bill, you’ll get a credit of $8.

The cost is great if you don’t use a lot of data, which is the goal of Project Fi. Google wants you to connect to viable WiFi hotspots whenever possible. There’s no unlimited data option, and the rate doesn’t adjust downward as you buy more data. T-Mobile and Sprint both offer cheaper data once you get past 5GB or so, but AT&T and Verizon are still a little more expensive until you go above 15GB. Project Fi also includes free international roaming (at reduced speeds), and integrates with Hangouts for calling and texting on non-Fi devices.

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Perhaps the biggest benefit of Project Fi is that you can switch between Sprint and T-Mobile, although both of which have less expansive coverage than Verizon and AT&T. If you combine the two, it’s actually pretty respectable, and you can always connect to whichever one is faster wherever you are. Of course, this unique network switching feature limits your phone options significantly. The only device supported at launch is the Nexus 6.

If you don’t already own one of Google’s latest flagship smartphones, you can buy one when signing up for Project Fi. It’s $649 to $699 if paid all at once, or you can pay for it over 24 months — $27.04 per month for the 32GB option and $29.12 per month for the 64GB. The Nexus 6 is unlocked, but so are plenty of other phones. The reason Google is limiting Fi to this device right now is that it supports a huge number of LTE bands (12 of them according to the specs). Google also has more control over the Nexus’ software to make sure Project Fi works properly.

Google is rolling out a small number of Project Fi invites every week. You can sign up on the official website. Just make sure you’ve got coverage where you live.

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WhatsApp Calling is now rolling out to iPhone users, here’s how to get it!

Android users have been making free calls using their data connections over WhatsApp for weeks now but on Tuesday, the feature was finally made available to iPhone users.

A new version of WhatsApp is now available on the Apple App Store with the following description:

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If you’ve already updated and are madly pecking around WhatsApp settings trying to call someone, though, hold up. WhatsApp Calling is rolling out slowly over the next several weeks, says the update description.

If you don’t see the WhatsApp Calling feature after the update, you have to ask an Android user to call you on WhatsApp, by that the feature will be enabled soon.