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This article was published on October 28, 2011

This week at Microsoft: Nokia, Office, and Apollo

This week at Microsoft: Nokia, Office, and Apollo
Alex Wilhelm
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Alex Wilhelm

Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected] Alex Wilhelm is a San Francisco-based writer. You can find Alex on Twitter, and on Facebook. You can reach Alex via email at [email protected]

To say that it has been a big week in the world of Microsoft would be a massive understatement. After all, this was the week in which Nokia finally took the wraps off of its long-awaited Windows Phone smartphones. We were onsite at the event, and will get to them shortly.

But also released this week were goodies for Office 2007, and Microsoft’s earnings. Suffice to say that we have quite a bit to talk about. Unlike most weeks when we shoot for diversity, this time around we are going to be sticking close to Windows Phone, as it was the most important development.

As always, make sure that you are following TNW Microsoft on Twitter and Facebook. Now, let’s get into it.

Nokia’s new smartphones

Nokia unveiled two new smartphones this week, the Lumia 800 and 710. As we had worked out before, the 800 is a higher end device, while the 710 is more budget conscious. The 800 was generally well received, but blew the doors off of no barns, nor swayed any masses of iPhone users.

To their credit, Nokia is calling it the first ‘real’ Windows Phone, a somewhat awkward phrasing. They seem to be trying to make the claim that their phones are the purest of the Windows Phone line, for whatever that might be worth. Now for some pictures, starting with the 800 and following with the 710:

If you want to get our hands-on perspectives on the 800, head here, and for the 710, head here. Just to share a taste of the specs of the devices, this is what the 800 is packing:

The Nokia Lumia 800 comes with a 3.7-inch AMOLED ClearBlack display, a 1.4GHz processor, 16GB internal memory and comes with an “instant-share camera experience based on leading Carl Zeiss optics and HD video playback”.

Nokia’s special sauce

What else, aside from creating hardware, is Nokia putting together for its Windows Phone line of handsets? A few small things, as it turns out. The company is baking in turn-by-turn navigation, and custom content from ESPN. Also included is Nokia Music:

a music service that offers ‘Mix Radio’, a way of streaming mixes of music from multiple artists. Mixes can be downloaded for playing offline, and can be launched from a live homescreen tile.

Honestly, this is a bit underwhelming. Nokia was thought to have has special rights to make changes to the Windows Phone software itself, and instead of doing something bold, tacked on some small improvements. Your view could be different, but we are left wondering if Nokia has more up their sleeve. One can hope.

Apollo on the way

And finally, Nokia left us with one more treat:

Whoa. After suspecting for some time that the Apollo update to the Windows Phone line would land towards the end of 2012, Nokia has made it plain that we were wrong. According to the company, Apollo is coming in the middle of next year and will be a “very different game” when compared to the Mango update.

That means that Microsoft will wait less than a year after the release of Mango to get Apollo (often called Windows Phone 8) into the market. This of course squeezes the hell out of the potential Tango update that is thought to be coming before Apollo. Microsoft delivered Mango early, and seems set to do the same with Apollo.

Office 2007 hits SP3

In more sedate news, the third Service Pack for Office and Sharepoint 2007 landed this week. With the end of normal support on the horizon, Microsoft would prefer it if everyone would just upgrade to Office 2010 and be done with it, but for now, it continues to patch the code.

What is in the update itself?

Microsoft calls it “the Cumulative Updates and Public Updates for Office 2007 that have shipped since SP2 for both the Office client suites and applications, and the Sharepoint server applications,” which is a fancy way to say that it contains every released fix since the last service pack, all bundled into one master update.

Also worth your time is our take on Microsoft’s earnings, and this video, which you simply have to see. Of course, that is just a fraction of what happened this week, so be sure and dig through the archives to see what you might have missed.