Nokia today started rolling out its Amber software update for Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8. Amber is meant to build upon the latest Windows Phone 8 update (GDR2) from Microsoft, which adds a new FM radio player as well as improvements to Xbox music and Internet Explorer.
The rollout is starting with five devices: the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 in selected countries as well as the Lumia 521, Lumia 810, and Lumia 928 in the US. Nokia notes that exact delivery timings will vary depending on region, phone, and operator, but it expecting the update to reach all Lumia 520, Lumia 620, Lumia 720, Lumia 820, and Lumia 920 devices “by the end of September.” Your Nokia Lumia will check periodically for software updates automatically, but you also check manually (Settings => Phone Update or via the support pages).
New features in Amber are as follows:
- Improved image processing: algorithms that offer better noise reduction, colour reproduction, exposure control and autofocus. The Lumia 920 gets controls to adjust the ISO settings from 800 to 3200.
- Nokia Smart Camera: Debuted on the Nokia Lumia 925, the new camera app ideal for taking pictures involving people and movement will be available from the Store after you get Amber.
- Smart-Camera family: Use Best Shot to find the sharpest image from a series (number adjusted based on your device), combine several shots of people in movement into one with Action Shot, heighten the appearance of speed by blurring the background with Motion Focus, create ideal group shots by choosing the best faces from a series with Change Faces, and remove unwanted objects from your pictures.
- Nokia Glance Screen: Brings a clock to your screen when the phone is inactive, along with indicators to show the battery level when running on a low battery or the phone is charging, and whether your phone is set to silent. Available for all WP8 Lumia devices except the Nokia Lumia 520 and Lumia 625, which have a smaller display memory.
- Flip to silence: Flipping the phone over mutes an incoming call.
- Double-tap to unlock: Double tapping the screen is an alternative to using the unlock key.
- Storage Check: If you’re running out of space on your phone and you want to free some up, you can find out the biggest culprits and deal with them.
- Faster map updates: Your HERE Maps will only download map features that have been updated, meaning you don’t have to install whole countries.
Last but not least, the Lumia 920, Lumia 925, and Lumia 928 have received the new Nokia Pro Camera. Once you’ve shot a video with your updated Lumia, you can edit it quickly with the Nokia Video Trimmer app and upload it to YouTube with Nokia Video Upload.
Both apps will be available in the Store starting today. More details are available here.
Amber is a perfect example of why it simply doesn’t make sense to buy a Windows phone that isn’t a Nokia Lumia. The Finnish company is the only OEM truly dedicated to Windows Phone, and it shows.
Top Image Credit – Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images