Amber update

We are getting reports from the Windows Phone Central faithful around the world that their Nokia Lumia 920s are starting to receive the eagerly-awaited Amber and GDR2 updates from Nokia and Microsoft. So far, we have heard from readers in Denmark and India who have received the Amber firmware update on their Lumia 920s. There is also word that Microsoft's GDR2 update has made its way to Sweden and Spain. Lumia 920s in Australia began seeing GDR2 earlier today, and we expect that others are en route as well.

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Nokia France has revealed that Windows Phone 8 build 10327 (GDR2), coupled with Nokia's Amber firmware update for Lumia Windows Phones, is underway in the local market. Group product manager, Olivier Lagreou today announced on Twitter that the software update is now being pushed out to Windows Phone 8 hardware made by the manufacturer. 

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The Nokia Amber update for Lumia hardware is already loaded on new Lumia 925 and Lumia 1020 units. The update is expected to hit other Lumia Windows Phones soon, but before then we've been teased at a pre-release build running on a Lumia 920. If you're out the loop and are still eagerly awaiting to have the update installed on your Nokia Windows Phone, be sure to head on past the break to check out what's new. 

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We’ve reported quite a bit on Nokia’s Glance screen in the past but we also know some of you are new to Windows Phone and may have picked up a Lumia 925 this week or a Lumia 1020 next. If that’s the case, you may not be familiar with how to enable Glance (or even what it is) and all the options that it has available to you.

So we whipped up a little tutorial video to show you how to enable this feature (it’s not on by default, though we don’t know about the 1020 yet) and configure it for your liking.

Glance, for those who don’t know, is Nokia’s always-on clock for their Lumia line. It launched with the Lumia 925 but will be available on the Lumia 1020 for launch and other Lumia series devices when Nokia’s Amber update rolls out later this summer. Basically, a clock is fixed on your otherwise-off display and while it of course uses battery, it’s quite unassuming for usage.

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While everyone focuses in on the Lumia 1020, 925 and 928 these days, T-Mobile once had an interesting Windows Phone 8 device dubbed the Lumia 810. Exclusive to the T-Mobile, the phone was an off-shoot of the Lumia 820 but it was more blocky and it only came in black. The phone never received much support, evidently not selling well, and it was recently discontinued, leaving many current owners wondering about future updates.

Indeed, the Lumia 810 is missing things like Wi-Fi calling and with it being EOL (end of life), there was no word if it would see the combo GDR2 and Amber update.

What we can tell you is that the T-Mobile is testing GDR2 right now on the Lumia 810 (see image below). What we can’t say is if this update is definitely coming. That’s because there’s a difference between testing a software update for a phone and actually signing off on it for distribution.

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Nokia is looking to roll out an update for its family of Windows Phone 8 products to introduce Bluetooth 4.0 support. Sources familiar with company plans have confirmed to The Verge that the update will include "low energy support for fitness devices like Fitbit, as well as a range of accessories Nokia is looking to launch".

We previously looked at leaked a PowerPoint slide detailing Bluetooth 4.0 support for the Lumia 520, 620 and 720, but Nokia will also reportedly be updating the 820, 920 and Lumia 1020 families of Windows Phones. All Nokia Windows Phone 8 hardware evidently include chipsets that support Bluetooth 4.0, but the functionality has yet to be enabled.

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The upcoming Nokia Amber update for Windows Phones is also set to include Bluetooth 4.0 support for Lumia 720, 620 and 520 Windows Phones. According to a leaked slide, Nokia will be explicitly introducing low energy capabilities and support for hardware and accessories. This information came to light from a press event in Hong Kong.

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One of the big new features of the Lumia 925, which is now actually in people’s hands for purchase in the UK and a select few other territories, is the updated camera algorithms and new functionality. All of that is encompassed in the so-called ‘Amber update’, which is Nokia’s name for their inbound firmware change destined for all Windows Phone 8 Lumias later this summer.

One of those new features is the ability to run the Smart Cam app, which enables such cool camera tricks as motion blur, 10-frame action shots and more.

The good news is that app is now available in the Nokia Collection and yes, you can download it right now for your Lumia phone. The bad news is when launched, you’ll be greeted with a reminder that this app can’t quite run on your non-Lumia 925 just yet, because you don’t have that firmware update.

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Although the Lumia 925 is not quite out yet, it seems to be strutting its stuff more and more (see this earlier post from today).This time, the site Winp.cn has gotten their mitts on one for an extensive mini-review. While the article is in Chinese, you can discern easy enough from Bing translator that they are impressed with the upcoming phone.

Indeed, they were even able to pull some image samples from the aluminum Windows Phone and compare it shot for shot next to a Lumia 920. Now, two things to note here: the Lumia 925 benefits from an added sixth lens, which is supposed to improve sharpness. But in addition, the Lumia 925 also has the ‘Amber’ update from Nokia on board, which adds all new and updated camera algorithms and up to 3200 ISO for even faster low-light shots.

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