Nokia Lumia 900

PROS: Drop-dead beautiful device, large and appealing screen, excellent Windows Phone OS with visual voice mail capabilities, excellent battery life

CONS: Camera is surprisingly middling

RATING: Four out of five stars

RECOMMENDATION: Microsoft’s Windows Phone platform has been struggling since its inception in late 2010, but the Lumia 900, Nokia’s new flagship Windows Phone handset, is a breath of fresh air and the first viable competitor we’ve seen to the Apple iPhone. The unibody polycarbonate design, available in black, white, or stunning cyan, features an amazing 4.3 inch AMOLED ClearBlack display that rivals anything on other platforms despite supposed limitations with its 480 x 800 resolution, and features all the goodness of Windows Phone: Deep integration with online services, an intelligent UI with live tiles instead of static icons, over 80,000 apps, and more. The only down side is that the 8 megapixel camera—with its widely touted Carl Zeiss optics—is lackluster, and no better than the camera on other Windows Phone handsets. Aside from that camera—which is good, not great—the Nokia Lumia 900 is nearly perfect.

CONTACT: Nokia

DISCUSSION: 8 Days of Nokia Lumia 900

 

Windows Intune 3.0 Beta

PROS: Mobile device support, Active Directory (AD) integration, some Office 365 integration, new user portal

CONS: Expensive for small businesses, no integration with Windows Small Business Server 2011 Essentials, no software deployment for Windows Phone

RATING: Three out of five stars

RECOMMENDATION: I’ve been a fan of Windows Intune, Microsoft’s cloud-based PC management solution since its inception in 2010. Now Microsoft is prepping its third major version of the service, which will manage mobile devices—Apple’s iPhones and iPads, Android devices, and Windows Phone handsets—in addition to PCs. That’s a huge change, especially when you consider that you can use this service to deploy in-house apps to Android and iOS (but not, annoyingly, Windows Phone). Intune 3 gets deeper AD integration, a bit of Office 365 integration (though no licensing integration, nor any way to combine the services at a lower price), and a new user portal so managed users can browse for software to install rather than have it forced on them. Overall, Intune looks strong, but the $11 per user per month fee (which now includes one PC and up to five devices each) is a bit much for small businesses. And for the beta at least, a few key features are unavailable. I expect to see the final version by Q4 2012.

CONTACT: Microsoft

DISCUSSION: Windows Intune 3 Preview