The Windows Phone platform is still rather “young” and lacks certain features that Android users take for granted. Fortunately, the platform is getting better and the jump from WP7 to WP8 has been a very important one. It included support for expandable storage, higher display resolution and more.
The good news is that both Microsoft and the OEMs (especially Nokia) are working on improving the WP8 experience. The Finnish manufacturer has previously released numerous software updates on its Windows Phone smartphone line-up, but the next big thing expected to hit the waves is the Amber update.
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The Amber update which Nokia has been working on lately contains a lot of sought-after features that have been already introduced on several brand new Lumia devices. While the Lumia 625, 925 as well as the 1020 arrive out of the box with Amber, the rest of Nokia’s WP 8 smartphone line-up will also get the Amber treatment sooner rather than later.
You may wonder what improvements and features are to be expected from this particular release. Thankfully, the changelog for the Amber update has been recently leaked on the web, giving Lumia 520 / 620 / 720 / 820 and 920 owners a pretty accurate view on what will be coming their way.
The list of changes in the aforementioned changelog includes:
– Glance Screen: a clock, battery indicator available on-screen while in sleep mode
– FM Radio: no need for an elaborate explanation here
– Smart Camera software: a series of camera software goodies that have been introduced on the Lumia 925, such as “best shot” and “best face” modes
– Flip: allows the user to flip the device into silence mode
– Find Your Closest Hotspot: better web services
– Data Sense: much like on Android, Amber will give the user the option to view and control data usage
Since Nokia’s Amber update comes bundled with the Windows Phone 8 GDR2 update, the entire package will also include various other goodies from Microsoft. Improvements and additions have been brought to Xbox Music, web browsing in HTML 5, as well as VoIP services such as Skype.
Interestingly enough, the audio recording quality on the Lumia 920 will also receive a boost with the GDR2 / Amber update. Judging by a couple of videos posted on YouTube by a Lumia 920 user who managed to install a leaked Amber build, the upcoming release will add stereo audio recording capabilities to the device. Only time will tell whether or not other Lumia handsets will also be able to benefit from this particular addition.
Another notable addition that should be received with arms wide open by WP 8 Lumia owners is the “Caller Blacklist” mode. Unsurprisingly, this feature will allow users to blacklist phone numbers from the call log, thus any text messages or calls received from that number will be automatically blocked.
One last thing that should be mentioned is that, unfortunately, the Lumia 520 and 521 will not benefit from the Glance Screen feature. According to the Finnish manufacturer, both handsets lack the hardware capabilities to support this particular Amber addition.
Nokia Amber Update – Expected Availability
According to recent reports, Nokia will begin to roll out the Amber update on the Lumia line-up starting with late August or early September. Interestingly enough, Nokia has stated that the Lumia 920 will have the highest priority. This means that the aforementioned smartphone will be the first model from the list of eligible devices to receive the software upgrade. As for the other Lumias, Nokia’s PR department has recently hinted that if you own any other Lumia model, you’ll have to wait a little bit longer.
Evidently, carrier-branded models might receive the Amber package even later than September, depending on how the mobile operators will handle the OTA release at their end. Nevertheless, we expect the first Lumia 920 handsets to receive the upcoming update sometime by the end of August, after which the rollout will gradually expand to new regions and via an increasing number of carriers.
Are any of our readers Windows Phone 8 enthusiasts or Lumia owners? Which one do you happen to own? What do you consider to be the most useful feature in the changelog? Don’t hesitate to share your view on the matter by dropping a comment below.