More and more users are getting an improved camera experience and the ability to trigger the Cortana personal assistant without touching their phone this week. The update that contains both features, referred to as Lumia Denim, has arrived for owners of the T-Mobile Lumia 925 and the AT&T Lumia 1520.
The AT&T Lumia 1520 became one of the few Windows Phones available in the United States to get the Lumia Denim update this morning. Microsoft’s update tracker page says that the update is now available to users who purchased the device.
Often considered Nokia’s first direct competitor with Samsung’s Galaxy Note line, the Lumia 1520 launched in the fall of 2013 with a massive 6-inch display, a 20 megapixel rear-facing camera and quad-core processor. The camera should see big improvements thanks to Lumia Denim, and that processor will enable a feature not available on almost every other Windows Phone.
The Lumia Camera 5 upgrade inside the update allows users to take pictures faster. There’s also support for automatic HDR something that adds some style and color contrasts to pictures. Other flagship smartphones like the Moto X 2014 include automatic HDR already. Dynamic Flash is also included with the update, letting the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 925 snap pictures with or without flash just in case one looks better than the other. 4k video recording is enabled by the update too. That’s another feature only coming to devices that can support it like the Lumia 1520.
Cortana, the voice and text enabled personal assistant that’s coming to Microsoft’s Windows 10 operating system, gets always listening options in this update. Unfortunately, it’s that feature that almost no other Windows Phones can take advantage of. Only the Lumia 1520, Lumia 930 and Lumia Icon are powerful enough to support it.
T-Mobile Lumia 925 users won’t get the always listening Cortana feature, but will pick up the Lumia Camera update. The improvements in processing should allow the Lumia 925 to take pictures faster than it can today. That’s a key improvement since updates to Windows Phone have made the T-Mobile Lumia 925 a bit slow.
Windows Phone 8.1 should automatically prompt owners of the T-Mobile Lumia 925 and AT&T Lumia 1520 to perform the Lumia Denim upgrade. Users can manually trigger the update by going into their device’s Settings app and selecting Phone Update from the System menu. It’s important to be connected to a Wi-Fi network before beginning the update.
Presumably, this will be the last major firmware update for the T-Mobile Lumia 925 and AT&T Lumia 1520 before Microsoft rolls out a new version of Windows entirely. Earlier this month, Microsoft released the Windows 10 for Phones Technical Preview. The operating system upgrade is a taste of what the company plans on releasing later this year. Already the upgrade includes a redesigned Settings app and the ability to choose a background for the Start Screen.
Microsoft has a slate of upgrades planned for Windows 10 for Phones that should help them better fit in with its entire Windows ecosystem. Today, Windows Phones only have access to a Store full of games and apps made specifically for them. That’ll change with Windows 10, all versions of Windows and even the Xbox One will use the same Apps store. Every major app included with versions of Windows Phone 8.1 will have an updated app in this new version of Windows 10 for Phones.
Microsoft has said that it plans to upgrade Windows Phone 8.1 devices to Windows 10 for free. It’s also committed to releasing new iPhone rivals with Windows 10 built-in for the best experience.