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Fun fact: Nokia included a barometer in the Lumia 1020

Here's an interesting, yet pointless fact for many: the Lumia 1020 sports barometer. The component is often utilised by meteorologists and is only found on one other smartphone - the Samsung Galaxy S4. What could this bring to the table? We honestly have no idea, but the ability to have this tool added to HERE services would be pretty ace. This wasn't promoted at the launch event, but the feature is listed on Nokia's website and developer documents.

There's also the possibility that Nokia could use the data collected by this component to better relay the current weather in numerous locations. We're actually beginning to get rather excited, especially since Windows Phone developers with access to a barometer could work up some magic with locations and more.

Source: Nokia, via: Windows Phone Daily

Rich Edmonds
Rich Edmonds

Rich Edmonds is Senior Editor of PC hardware at Windows Central, covering everything related to PC components and NAS. He's been involved in technology for more than a decade and knows a thing or two about the magic inside a PC chassis. You can follow him over on Twitter at @RichEdmonds.

80 Comments
  • Not sure what you're talking about it not being on Nokia's page:
     
    http://www.nokia.com/us-en/phones/phone/lumia1020/specifications/
    "Sensors: Ambient light sensor, Accelerometer, Barometer, Gyroscope, Proximity sensor, Magnetometer"
  • Yeah, I thought I saw it somewhere official.
  • Absolutely, it has been very clearly specified under the specifications of the phone.
  • You are right. It is under Display and UI -> Sensors.
  • Updated the article. Had a derpy moment. Thanks for calling me out :-)
  • Lol. 9_6.
  • Thermometer was the only thing that is missing
  • Actually, every mobile phone has a thermometer in the RF section, because temprature affects RF signalling dramaticaly. So, the CPU measures the temprature and compansates the temprature effect on the RF part with VCTCXO (Voltage Controlled Temprature Conpansated Xtal Ocilator). This component is a must for every GSM/3G mobile phone.
  • Jhoff: It's the 6th word of your list they're talking about... ;)
  • You guys had a lunch event??  Lucky.
  • Wasn't the launch event around lunch time?
  • I'll invite you to the next one :-P
  • What was the barometric pressure at the time of your lunch?
  • "the ability to accurately check the weather in real-time would be rather useful" - a barometer only measures atmospheric pressure. You'd need to combine it with a thermometer, altimeter, hygrometer, and all that jazz for real-time weather.
  • I was going to say the same thing...oh and don't forget a Doppler radar!
  • Why would you defer weather readings to the device when you can just pull the stats from a professional site with specific equipment to gather weather conditions. Your phone isn't going to offer 5day forecasts.
  • Well, they're not so accurate in some countries, and also some places there's no signal so network is notwork.
  • Or I can just look up and say, it's sunny today
  • Or you could look out the window
  • doesn't the barometer function as an altimeter?
  • Yes and I suppose that's one real reason.
  • Seriously I want them to add thermometer that will also measure human body temprature, thus creating in "DEATH OF TREDITIONAL THERMOMETERS"
  • lunch event, lol :P
  • Author must be hungry :D
  • As I recall, the barometer was theorized to be used to more quickly or accurately detect location.
  • Exactly. Barometers don't tell you anything particularly useful by themselves about weather, but they do tell you altitude with some reasonable accuracy.
  • Besides assisting in determining location developers may be able to tap into the altittude readings for work out apps. Similar to what some of the fancy HR, GPS, Altimeter watches do. Not sure if any exist for Samsung though.
  • Correctomundo sir! (i work in navigation)
  • Please elaborate, I am very interested.  I knew a barometer can be used to tell the difference in elevation, the challenge being setting the initial elevation correctly.  At least that's what the manual for my Casio says.
  • Seems like the software could assume that you're on the grown from time to time to calibrate. If you're in a know location then you can be at a known elevation. Just my guess.
  • There are plenty of other devices with a built-in barometer. The Galaxy S3 has one. Devs can do fun things with it, but they are focused on measuring the atmospheric pressure of their farts.
  • LOLapalooza
  • And the Galaxy Nexus was the first one with a barometer afaik
  • Actually the Motorola Xoom tablet had it even before that. It was confirmed that it's to speed up the GPS lock by allowing the phone to compute it's own altitude (rather than relying on triangulation for that).
  • If drones are already being built for this because the amount of details it captures, how likely is it for a developer with assistance come up with a motorized tripod to mount any Nokia phones? I'm not in real state or selling cars, but I can see quite a few companies buying them. Hell, COPs could even use them to record in HD @ crime scenes to review later if needed. My 2 cents
  • Obviously WPC doesn't even science.
  • What?
  • Science is a verb now; where've you been?
  • They don't even science bro. Just like you probably dont even lift.
  • +1020
  • Nice!
  • "Man shot for asking Do you lift?"
    http://www.bodybuildinglexicon.com/?p=2141
  • I'd rather not "even science" than write what's published in your comment. Sure, I got the article wrong, we all make mistakes sometimes, but your comment was just embarrassing to read. My eyes are now hiding from the world, praying the Queen doesn't see what you've done to her language.
  • Real application of the barometer is location based services, have a look at the HERE maps, for example, inside a shopping mall, thanks to the barometer you can get information from the floor you are located in ;)
  • nice :D +1 for making sense :D
  • He know's what's up!
  • I remember when GS4 came out with this and ever one was slating it as another pointless feature. Must have some use if Nokia decided to put one in.
  • Nexus 4 does have it also: http://www.zdnet.com/google-nexus-4-review-7000007733/
    Like all high-end smartphones, the Nexus 4 is bristling with sensors — accelerometer, compass, ambient light, gyroscope and barometer (the latter's primary purpose being to deliver altitude data for faster GPS lock-on).
  • ^ This
  • I don't get this, barometric pressure can change with storms around, even if you stay in the same position.
  • Yes, because storms change atmospheric pressure which just happens to be what barometers detect!!!!
  • Wow, thanks captain obvious... I'm referring to how barometer can help with GPS or detection of altitude... Reason being is that barometric pressure is not a constant... FFS
  • Nice!
  • And some people say LUMIA 1020 is just another 920 when u look at its specs not really :)
  • Doesn't the galaxy nexus or the nexus s have it too?
  • Yes they do.
  • The barometer allows to determine the altitude of the device relative to the sea level hight, it works the same way as some Motorola devices, still it requires the user to calibrate the sensor for the barometric pressure of the place where you are. So in other words, it works to know at which hight you are but depending on where you are you'll have to calibrate it to have a real reading.
     
    For instance, in a flight you can know the plane altitude and with the gps and gyroscope you can have a full plane instrument panel to know the plane's direction, altitude, speed, yaw balance, etc... It can come in handy too to determine a more accurate position with a GPS-Barometer calculation, so the device can adjust light parameters or something like that...
  • +1! It will augment GPS-based and map-referenced altitude data as well as open the door for use with weather services. In the standalone GPS world its a useful projection tool. Somebody at Nokia is intending something cool. Hardly pointless if you understand a barometer's function.
  • I was thinking that it could also be used to check the internal temperature of the device? I mean, with a 41MP camera, taking pictures repeatedly could heat up the phone. You can see in one of the videos that it does take a small amount of time to process the dense picture and I would assume that, although this phone seems amazing, it might be prone to getting a little hot.
    So could the barometer not be used to the check the temperature of the phone itself to make sure its not too hot and thus notify the user when it is? And also send useful statistical information to Microsoft about whether there are any temperature concerns with regards to everyday use of the 1020?
    Obviously, it could be incorporated into some unique apps and I'm sure many cool things could arise out of it but I was just thinking that this could be one of the reasons why it's included. Not sure if it could even be used like that as I'm not that tech-savvy but yeah haha.
  • A barometer is a scientific instrument used in meteorology to measure atmospheric pressure.
    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Barometer
  • Lol, so the next time I head up to my physics lab and I need to measure temperature I'll get myself a barometer!
  • Good idea, all the weather frogs seem to be on meth these days!
  • Dear Nokia, I want to give you my dough but... But.... But.... Verizon
  • I thought one of the iPhones had a barometer this whole time. Guess I was wrong.
  • A barometer is a scientific tool that can tell u the number places you can go to get drunk. It works in conjunction with here maps and live sight. Fyi, there are at lease 8 places around me right now and my 920 doesn't have a bar-o-meter.
  • Fun fact posted as a rumor. So confused.
  • Only found on the Galaxy S4? The Note II had it as well.
  • It is useful for the UAV that you posted about 2 days ago
  • This is a key enabler for the development of skydiving apps that WP8 currently sorely lacks. It's the #2 reason people don't switch to WP8, after the lack of Instagram.
  • I am not going to let my WP8 open my chute, no way!
  • The Galaxy Nexus also has a Barometer in it, the article needs updating.
  • One mistake.... Also avaible in Galaxy Note 1 and 2.
  • Not "ONLY" found on the S4, but also found on Casio's G'zOne Commando 4G LTE which makes sense cuz its a ruggedized outdoorsy smartphone. I have it and its pretty cool, and I check barometric readings all the time
  • A barometer... Serves to measure ambient air pressure. In fact one could use a large array of devices with a barometer to provide GPS accurate data to fine tune weather predictions. It could also give your altitude, but it will not tell you how high you are... It opens new possibilities.
  • As a life-long weather nerd, I find this pretty awesome. Too bad I'll have to stick with my yellow 920 (which I'm totally happy with) for now. 
  • The barometer is used for elevation detection, which can help with location services, especially where a GPS/GPSa signal isn't that great.  Likely to be used for their indoors tracking technology for say malls.
  • Bingo. It's used with the GPS to add additional elevation data when a 3D lock can't be achieved. Very useful in places where you can only get a line of sight lock to one or two sats, like when surrounded by tall buildings.
  • Also found on the Nexus 4
  • Gizmodo made a big deal about the barometer when the Galaxy Nexus was announced 2 years ago. That was the first time I heard of a cell phone having one: http://gizmodo.com/5851288/why-the-barometer-is-androids-new-trump-card