Nokia rolls out Windows Phone Amber update to Lumia smartphones

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Nokia (NYSE:NOK) is rolling out a Windows Phone 8 operating system update that extends camera features introduced this spring in its Lumia 925 smartphone to other devices within the Lumia portfolio.

The Windows Phone Amber update--available for Nokia's Lumia 920, 820, 720, 620, 520, 928, 822, 521 and 810--includes Smart Camera, which promises users the tools to create higher-quality photos by taking a series of rapid-fire shots then editing the best elements of each image together, further bolstered by filters and effects.

Windows Phone Amber also touts Nokia Glance Screen, which adds a clock to the screen when the phone is inactive, alongside indicators that depict the battery level when the device is running on a low battery, charging or set to silent mode. "You can activate the Nokia Glance screen in the 'display and touch' section in Settings by swiping left to 'glance,'" said Nokia Conversations blog editor Ian Delaney. "Nokia Glance screen will be available for all WP8 Lumia devices except the Nokia Lumia 520 and Lumia 625, which have a smaller display memory."

Following customer requests, Windows Phone Amber additionally resurrects features from older Nokia handsets. Users may now flip the phone over to mute incoming calls and double tap the screen as an alternative to the unlock key. Also new: Improvements first introduced last month via Microsoft's (NASDAQ:MSFT) Windows Phone 8 General Distribution Release 2, highlighted by the restoration of FM radio support--a longtime Windows Phone OS feature dropped with the late 2012 launch of WP8--as well as Xbox Music improvements to provide more accurate metadata and stability improvements to services like Internet Explorer.

"The rollout starts now first for the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 in selected countries as well as the Lumia 521, Lumia 810 and Lumia 928 in the U.S.," Delaney said. "Exact delivery timings will vary by region, phone and operator, but we expect the update to reach your Lumia 520, Lumia 620, Lumia 720, Lumia 820 or Lumia 920 by the end of September."

Sales of Lumia smartphones increased 112.7 percent year-over-year during the second quarter of 2013, according to research firm Gartner. "With the recent announcement of the Lumia 1020, Nokia has built a wide portfolio of devices at multiple price points, which should boost Lumia sales in the second half of 2013," said Gartner principal research analyst Anshul Gupta.

For more:
- read this Nokia Conversations blog post

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