Microsoft clarifies Lumia Denim update for some is just in-name-only

The Lumia Denim update is surely going down as one of the most confusing firmware updates from Nokia (now Microsoft). Whereas in the past, the new firmware like Lumia Amber or Lumia Black brought new features to all Lumias e.g. Call and SMS blocker, Lumia Denim's exact feature set is only for newer, PureView Lumias.

Much of this is already known, of course. For months, we have been saying that only the Lumia 830, Lumia 930 (Verizon Icon) and Lumia 1520 will see the new Lumia Camera 5.0 features brought by Denim. Now, however, Microsoft has confirmed as much on their support site.

In an FAQ message, Microsoft answers a presumably obvious question:

FAQ - I have updated Lumia Denim, but the firmware version number was not changed, why?

"Lumia Denim is the marketing name for latest Lumia software update, which is a combination of firmware, OS (operating system) and Lumia exclusive applications. Exact contents coming with Lumia Denim vary depending on the device model, and some devices are not requiring new firmware for the new features to be enabled, so firmware can in some cases remain unchanged."

This answer explains why many people are reporting their devices now say Lumia Denim even if they did not get an update. It appears that under Extras + Info, the change from Cyan to Denim can be triggered by hitting a particular OS version. For some people, this can change based on their Preview for Developer status (enrolled versus non-enrolled can change it).

The reason for that "trigger" is that some devices, like a Lumia 520 or Lumia 920, will not get new firmware. However, when they are at the right OS level – either through Preview or official Windows Phone 8.1.1 update – the phone will rightly "switch" to Lumia Denim.

For Lumia owners accustomed to new firmware releases, this news may come as a bit of a disappointment. However, up until now, not many people can articulate what it is about Denim they are expecting anyway.

Lumia Camera 5.0

In our recent interview with Microsoft's imaging head Juha Alakarhu, we discuss why devices like the Lumia 1020 cannot get the Lumia Denim camera enhancements (hint: old hardware, not possible).

At some point, Microsoft does need to push with newer technology to advance the platform, and Lumia Denim appears to be that shift. Still, current Lumia owners are not left in the dark as OS updates – both through Previews and official – are still forthcoming, and it is these updates that truly bring new OS features e.g. the data toggle.

Next week, all hopes are on Microsoft to unveil Windows 10 for mobile. That too is in the cards to come to older Lumia hardware, likely in Preview form starting this month. In other words, Lumia Denim may be a bust for some, but the real treats are waiting at the door.

Source: Microsoft; Thanks, Lance_WPCentral, for the tip!

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central. He is also the head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft since 2007, when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, laptops, next-gen computing, and watches. He has been reviewing laptops since 2015 and is particularly fond of 2-in-1 convertibles, ARM processors, new form factors, and thin-and-light PCs. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics, watched people sleep (for medical purposes!), and ran the projectors at movie theaters because it was fun.