Weighing in on the Lumia 900: So far, reviews of Nokia’s (NYSE:NOK) Lumia 900 smartphone, available from AT&T (NYSE:T) and intended as a competitor to the iPhone and high-end Android phones, have been ranging from lukewarm to modestly positive. Running on Micrsoft’s (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 7 operating system, the device generally has avoided pans and raves. Among the high-visibility reviews, by writers such as Walter Mossberg (All Things D), David Pogue (New York Times), and Joshua Topolsky (The Verge), the take seems to be that the striking and sturdy Lumia 900 is a decent effort that is hobbled by things like small operating-system deficiencies, a somewhat short battery life, and a relatively small app library (about 70,000, versus hundreds of thousands each for Android and iOS). It is long on looks, case quality, and screen size; nicely responsive to AT&T’s the 4G LTE wireless network; capable of clear, crisp phone calls, although not so great when the Web browser struggles with page displays. In other words, for $100 (with a two-year contract), you get beautiful hardware, but an OS that still needs work and, as 9to5 Mac points out, needs to function better than iOS and Google‘s (NASDAQ:GOOG) Android if it’s going to make a splash in the market.
More Regional Carriers Get the iPhone. Even though iPhone sales tend to be associated with monolith national carriers like AT&T, Verizon (NYSE:VZ), and Sprint (NYSE:S), the phone does find its way onto the shelves of regional carriers. Case in point: AppleInsider notes that the company has five new small-carrier partners who will begin selling the iPhone on April 20: nTelos, which serves portions of the mid-Atlantic region, as well as Kentucky and Ohio; Alaska Communications and GCI, both operating in Alaska; Appalachian Wireless, in Kentucky; and Cellcom, which operates in parts of Michigan and Wisconsin. Yes, Deutsche Telekom’s (PINK:DTEGY) T-Mobile is still iPhone-less, although, as GigaOm points out, that’s in part due to the fact that the iPhone is not designed to support the carrier’s HSPA + wireless frequencies beyond 2G performance levels. The rollout of high-speed LTE technology on the big-carrier networks, including T-Mobile, could change that, though Apple may still have to customize its devices for each network.
Kutcher Immersing Himself in the Steve Jobs Character, Says Producer. For all the attention and snark surrounding the decision to cast Ashton Kutcher as Steve Jobs in an upcoming biopic, the principal backer of the project claims Kutcher is taking the role seriously. “Jobs” producer Mark Hulme, whose Five Star Feature Films is the movie’s sole investor, told media site The Daily that Kutcher has cleared his schedule — beyond his obligations as a principal in the “Two and a Half Men” sitcom — to meet with people who knew Jobs and to immerse himself in research to channel “the voice.” In the works before Jobs’ death in October, and before publication of Steve Jobs, Walter Isaacson’s biography, the movie is expected to focus on Jobs’ career from his days with Steve Wozniak to his return to Apple after his ousting. It’s also expected to be released around Thanksgiving — before another film about Jobs, from Sony (NYSE:SNE), appears in theaters.