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Nokia brings new “hover” feature to Lumia devices to quickly turn on the display [Video]

If you like occasionally playing with your display settings on  your Nokia Lumia smartphone, then you’ll want to go and update Display + Touch to version 1.6. That update is now live in the store and brings with it a few changes that are actually documented for once.

While most users won't be able to take advantage of the added functionality just yet, you'll still want to read on about how Nokia is dramatically improving Windows Phone by adding new features. One of those additions, documented below, has you "magically" turn on your display with the proximity sensor (tuned for motion detection). Very cool stuff.

Change Log for v1.6

  • Bug Fixes
  • Support for quick mode in Glance settings

So what is that second, seemingly new feature? It only applies to devices with the Nokia Amber update, which means only the Lumia 925 can make use of it. That Amber update is expected along with the OS GDR2 upgrade sometime in August, depending on the carrier. (All Windows Phone 8 Lumias are expected to get this update at some point.)

The Glance settings are for the new “on-screen clock” feature that the Amber/GDR2 update supports, giving users more detailed information. With the new settings, users can

  • Hover your hand over your phone to see your glance screen
  • Added "Peek" option to glance menu setting

In short, you can now optionally hover your hand like a Jedi over the display to turn on the Glance screen, which then gives you notifications and clock. Under those conditions, the Glance screen stays on for a minute or two, giving you a "peek" at the display. That's opposed to having it always on or timed. Call us crazy, but that is some awesome usage of the proximity sensor for motion detection. Kudos to Nokia for adding a feature to the OS where none existed before.

So all in all, for the majority of you, this update won’t do anything noticeable. That’s the bad news. The good news is it looks like Amber/GDR2 is getting close to release for the rest of us and Nokia will have all of their apps updated for it.

Pick up Display + Touch v1.6 here in the Nokia Collection. Thanks, Josh H., for the tip!

QR: Display + Touch

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

151 Comments
  • Amber looks like an awesome update. Hope Microsoft learns something on implementing new features quickly.
  • Custom notification tones For instance!!! :(
  • That would be great! Someday...
  • I hope so, but for some reason don't see it getting added anytime soon.
  • Absolutely. That will push MSFT to make some breakthroughs, since I feel Windows Phone OS has so much potential within it.
    Meanwhile, I've set me phone's theme color to Amber while waiting for the real Amber update.
  • Hmm would have rathered a hover to see my lock screen & notifications instead of just a clock.. Maybe Microsoft can do this.
  • These ease of access changes/customizations really help
  • Uhm, that won't be the motion sensor (aka accelerometer) but the proximity sensor I think. Maybe you meant that by motion sensor?
  • proximity sensor can also reads motion by reading it based on light/brightness changes.
  • It detects motion with in close "proximity" of the sensor. 
  • You seem to have confused "The motion sensor" with "a motion sensor".
    A motion sensor is a sensor that detects movement. The motion sensor typically used in smartphones is a multi axis g sensor usually using mercury. But not all motion sensors are g sensors. They can be heat, sound, light, pressure, wind, fart, anything you want.
    This is an example of using a proximity sensor to detect movement. Aka, a motion sensor.
  • Lol I find it a little strange to update the app yet we can't actually use it just yet haha.
  • Yeah, I just updated it for pretty much no reason then.
  • Mine is at 1.6 but I don't see the glance option.
  • Guess you're doing it wrong. Or you don't have a Lumia 925.
  • I suppose I should've read the whole article. Proud owner if a 920 (for a few more days/weeks until the 1020)
  • Stop bragging!! You make me jelly that you have Amber.
  • Daniel, does glance require AMOLED screens? Will Lumia 720 get glance too?
  • I think this feature is an answer for your question , it does make more sense to have this hovering method for lcds.
  • Do you have a lumia 925?
  • You won't see it now unless you have a 925. The actual glance option will be released with the Amber update next month.
  • Just wait for about 25 days more.
  • My 928 needs this already!!
  • Upgrade the phone to 925 if you don't want to wait, and you can get all the benefits within it. The Amber update is just in a few weeks, though.
  • so the gimmick on S4 is just got a slap in the face?
  • Different functionality. Be sure to read the article, as it's a pretty neat update.
  • https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=nhubSejhfEU
    Just sayin'
  • Nokia copied from Galaxy S4. 
  • Oh please look at the video no copy noob
  • Nokia didn't steal anything from Samsung. Samsung stole the idea from a China mfr that had this feature long before Samsung. Or did we forget that Samsung steal ideas. If I could find that phone I would post it.
  • I believe the hover can be done on s4. My brother can do that on his s4 to see the clock and other notifications.
  • S4 uses the camera, so it doesnt work reliably if the background is messy. This uses the proximity sensor, so in theory this is more bulletproof, albeit with lesser range.
  • +1
  • I think that the S4 uses the proximity sensor for their "quick glance", they use the FFC for their weird pausing stuff
  • +1020
  • S4 doesn't use the camera for this. It uses a 'Gesture sensor' which makes use of IR to detect hand movement. 
  • Curious as to how this will distinguish between a hand hovering and something else covering the proximity sensor...like putting the phone in a pocket or bag. Maybe it only works if the phone's orientation is horizontal (aka on a table)?
  • I'm not 100% sure if this is what it does, but it might be using the hover detection of the digitizer instead of the proximity sensor. The digitizer is capable of detecting a weak field from your skin if it's above (but not touching) the screen. Only a person can set that off. In a bag or on the table it should remain undisturbed. I'm only guessing that Nokia is using this though, so I could be wrong.
  • yeah on the s4 it usually only works if the phone it lying still
  • I'm not sure about how it would work in a bag, can't see the screen at the same time, but the feature works by detecting something come close to the screen and then moving away. If whatever occludes the sensor doesn't move away like if it was in a pocket then the glance screen doesn't show until it's removed from the pocket. 
  • @mrllano...you mean your brother DOES that
  • Missed that, thanks
  • "That Amber update is expected along with the OS GDR2 upgrade sometime in August, depending on the carrier. All Windows Phone 8 Lumias are expected to get this update at some point."
     
    I really hope this also includes my Lumia 810.  REALLY hope.  
  • *except Lumia 810 lol, but seriously, not sure about that device, unfortunately. 
  • + 0.2
  • +1 Dropping support for my 810 so quickly makes me really nervous about getting another phone through T-Mobile. I've been putting money aside so I can buy my next one outright. (Which is pretty much what you do buying from T-Mo anyway.)
  • Ehh most unlocked phones don't have T-Mobile's aws bands so no hspa+ unless you live in a refarmed area
  • I can't wait till they find a way to make this phone shoot lasers!
  • Ok, that was good.
  • August for Amber is only for US carriers RM-820. RM-821, forget till Oct. Biased MSFT and Nokia.
  • That is terrible, especially considering most of the wp8 devices sold are outside the USA.
  • And you know this from..?
  • Experience mate. Remember what they did on Portico or even 1308 update...
  • From lots of sources. A German company dropped iPhone because they sold more Windows Phone devices. I don't think that's the case with any US carrier. Do you?
  • They also reported that iPhone amounted to less than 10% of their shares, and didn't elaborate on the WP %.
  • Ya video demonstration quickly plz
  • Features like this need to be in the general OS, not just specific phones.
  • I agree slightly, but completely disagree at the same time (an oxymoron, I know). I agree in that Microsoft needs to add a lot more features to the Windows Phone OS. But as it is, Microsoft is not pushing these features. Nokia on the other hand is. So why should HTC, Samsung, and other Windows Phone OEMs benefit from Nokia's research and development? It's almost a bad decision to buy any other Windows Phone other than a Lumia strictly because of all the apps that are part of the Nokia ecosystem. If other OEMs want to have a comparable ecosystem, they need to work for it like Nokia has.
  • ^ THIS
  • ^ THIS
  • Yea I didn't read it either, should really put the L925 in the title so I don't get all excited for no reason. :(
  • Call me crazy, but maybe they WANT you to read the whole article and not just the headline.
  • +amber
  • +GDR2
  • If the article isn't about my phone then why should I read it? I don't care what new features are coming to other phones. It's cool they get them but it's got nothing to do with me, yet. In fact I clicked to read the article then instantly picked up my phone to do some hands on. Once I realized it wasn't my phone I stopped caring. So yes, I would call you crazy.
  • If you READ the article, this has everything to do with the amber update for all phones. In addition this is a site about all things WP. If you gonna pout and bitch about things not specific to your phone find a specific site or forum. In fact there's a forum on here specific for the model of your phone I'm sure. So yeah don't be so asinine. But I guess you rocking a HTC
  • Actually no, I'm "rocking" a lumia 920. If I was using HTC I would have never bothered opening the article as I said. For the same reason I didn't open the Tmobile one or anything that is HTC related. The title of the article insinuates that the feature is open to all Lumia devices, wich it isn't, not yet. 
  • Once again this is specific to your phone and specifically said coming in the amber update to ALL phones.
  • Obviously you just want to act like a big boy so I'm just gunna stop responding. There's been plently of people in the comments section that didn't read the article before posting, maybe you should go shit on them too.
  • Been there done that. Big boys don't pout like crybabies. 
  • I would say you have an uncharacteristically narrow field if interest. That's fine, but don't expect the site to do things differently for the 0.1% of readers who feel the way you do.
  • How is my view of only wanting news from NokiaWP or Win8, in general, narrow?
     
    I read every article title, but only follow through with Nokia and Windows 8 articles. I highly doubt people in my shoes are only 0.1%. I actually read the article, and was excited about it up untill the point where it said that it was only for X phone. I don't get excited for a prospect that we'll get evetually. I got excited about Data Sense when it first was talked about and I still don't have it. I've learned my lesson on that.
  • You "don't get excited for a prospect that we'll get evetually."  
     
    Why the heck are you on a site that primarly has articles about rumors and "things people may get eventually?"
  • What an asinine post
  • Wow. I love this feature! Want Amber *-*
  • August? Ugh.
  • WP must stand for Wait Patiently.
  • lol, nice.
  • Why not July?
  • If only it worked. I have a 925. Lock screen does not wake up. Just hides my clock as before if i leave my hand there long enough
  • You've waited until the glance screen has switched off after locking the device, right?
  • It works by passing your hand over it, not holding it there.
  • This looks amazing!
  • Still waiting on the custom colors that eventually will come
  • Just tried it - it works great! Before, I was complaining about it being on always or for 15mins as I like to leave my phone screen-side-up, but now I can just swipe over the screen Jedi-style and up pops the clock for a few seconds. Me gusta.
  • Nice work again, Nokia!
  • This is really weird. Today I've updated first the Smart cam app and now this. They are in my phone yet unreachable :/
     
  • Amazing. These updates won't go active till the Amber update. Its been discussed over and over
  • Get here already!! Geesh
  • Thanks @Rich Edmonds. I get it now. A bit gimmicky. I was hoping it would bring up the lock screen which actually does contain information worth viewing. Thanks all the same
  • That's what double tap is for. This means you can wave your hand over it, then double tap to bring up the lockscreen. Buttonless waking up of the phone, I like that :D
  • Yep, i understand, but why even have a glance screen if you could hover to wake lock screen. After all that's where the info is. Its a cool addition, but not really overtly functional.
  • Because (on the Lumia 925 and other OLED screens) the glance screen uses very little battery and still provides some basic information (the clock), it seems like you're more questioning the glance screen as an overall concept?
  • The concept is okay as an always on glance screen, or dim in pocket etc. But, for those without a watch of a pc monitor in front of them i guess, the option to wake and see the time might be handy. Prefer mine timed (always seems to be on anyway). If they brought more info to the glance screen, then yes. As the purpose of the update is to allow the glance screen to be off until woken, rather than timed or always on, i just don't see the point of waking a phone just for a clock. May as well wake to lock screen and leave the glance screen as it was.
  • So if the sensor is completely covered in dust (most lumia 920s I'd imagine) does that mean if we turn this on it will believe we are constantly hovering?
  • Yes and it will fly back to its home planet.
  • From what I've been able to find online, while most front facing cameras are coated in dust there is a barrier that keeps the dust from getting into the proximity sensor so this shouldn't be a problem.
  • I always just assumed that was the reasoning for the reported problems that people have had when making calls and not having the interface appear. The dust blocking the sensor makes the phone think that it is against your head.
    I had this problem until I looked around on here and saw conjecture of dust. After some compressed air my phone stopped staying black during calls and I was once again able to use it while on a call.
  • Does anyone know if rotation lock is finally coming to Windows Phone? I'm surprised that functionality hasn't been implemented, especially given the inconsistency of rotation from screen to screen.
  • No.
  • I agree, I know the standard reply is that this is a per-app call, but since so few implement it, I consider it an OS failing rather than an app developer failing.
  • It is absolutely an os failing. Why this would be left to individual apps to implement is a complete and utter mystery.
  • damn only for 925, waiting for Amber for 620 \o/
  • You're welcome WPC.
  • wanna see something cool from nokia?  https://www.facebook.com/photo.php?fbid=10151473538647397&set=a.338008237396.161268.36922302396&type=1&theater http://conversations.nokia.com/2013/07/10/set-your-clocks-to-ny-time/ (i wanna be tipped for this pic mr. daniel  :D )
  • Ohh so this is how wp7.8, HTC, and Samsung peeps feel about Nokia exclusive apps and features. Gdr2and amber update, I want you now!
  • My HTC sucks
  • It is very cool. Just uodated it on my Lumia 925
  • Do all windows get the amber update? Or just nokias what's the difference between ambergdr2/ gdr2?
  • Gdr 2 is Microsoft work amber is nokia's work only Nokia phones wil get amber and gdr 2 the rest like htc and Samsung will only get gdr 2
  • Amber is such a cool code name for an update.
  • Amazing!!!! Come on amber, i want to be a Jedi!!!
  • Display and touch update is available to lumia 620? I updatw the app but seems no changes
  • I don't see nothing new on my Lumia 920, too badd, i hope the Amber update can come quickker :(
     
    Best regards!
  • Wait are you sure this isn't for all handsets yet or region specific releases??? I have a 520 on o2 and i have an update for display and touch now!!!! :)
  • can't wait till august. going to show this off to my buddies @ school :)
  • Just out of curiosity; I have the 928 and in my Display+Touch settings page, I do not see the "Lumia Color Profile" is that something new?  Or does my 928 not rate?
  • its an feature which comes with nokia amber update, amber is now only available on lumia 925 but we with our other lumias will get it this month or next month
  • So Rich waves his hands and says "Magic!!"  lol remined me of Harry Potter ;)
  • Ok it is now time to replace my L800, this is really neat feature.
  • Has anyone else received the touch and display update? I haven't installed it yet, will wait till im on wifi but its sitting in the marketplace ready.
  • hm maybe this has already been touched on, but it would seem the *hand swiping* thing for the S4 could be implemented on WIndows Phone?
  • Is Amber definitely on for August then? I thought Jo Harlow stated July?
  • No change in my Lumia 620....any guesses'......
  • Nice.Amber just keeps on growing ! :)  First BT 4.0 and now Hover. I wonder if there are even more goodies that amber will unlock ?
  • :P
  • Does anyone read the actual article? If you don't have a L925 you won't notice a difference when you update. The extra features will be unlocked when Amber gets pushed out next month...
  • Omg! I need Amber now, like Walternate and Fauxlivia need Amber, only moreso.
  • wow nice, Nokia is really pushing windows phone to a new level. Good stuff :)
  • :D
  • I wonder what that will do to the battery life which is still far lower than what Nokia for some reason is still allowed to claim...
  • What are you refering to? 440hours of standby?
    would you be shocked, if I told you, that this time isn't pulled from thin air?
    this time referes to a plain vanilla OS without synchronization and anything installed. Just the phone lying around and doing nothing...
    BTW the only way one can compare battery power in standby mode over different OS, as every system is performing additional background tasks differently and therefore isn't compareable to the other OS' anymore.
    Of course, the standby time WITH e-mail sync, facebook, whatsapp, weather, waking up the phone, making calls and others is limited and comes to around 30-50 hours. Depending on how much you use it. If you play extensively, you got it drained in less than 6 hours ;)
    But show me a phone, that performs better. I think, they're all in the same league here...
  • Getting sick of waiting...Between Verizon and Microsoft so many people don't realize how fucked they are.
  • The amber update could be released first for unlocked lumia's right?
  • That's pretty cool.  Nokia is doing such a good job with making Windows Phones look awesome.  I'm so glad they partnered with Microsoft.
  • Nokia support is amazing. I'm glad I have a 928
  • As a proud owner of the 925, I gotta say, that this is a reather really small update.
    The on screen clock works like this: If you pull it out of your pocket, the proximity sensor realizes, that it has been pulled out and shows the clock. This clock appeared, if you set it to either 15 minutes time out or always on (then it just disapppears, if you put it into a pocket or something alike). If you have it at 15 minutes time out, it disappears after just that time. If you then come close to the phone with your hand or something else, the phone reacts and shows the clock again.
    Now, with the glance, the only difference is, that the timeout is set to around 20 seconds (more or less - I didn't count).
    Nothing new. Just lower time out ;)
     
    so long
  • For more, if its on charger, clock stays on the display.
  • I have a Lumia 920 :(
  • Anyone knows how much the proximity sensor consumes battery power? I like this feature alot but i also care about battery life
  • This may have already been said above, wish I time to read all the posts, but so what about the time? How hard would it be to add the notification icons on the bottom to see if you got an email, call, txt, etc during a meeting?
  • I got the update and installed it but I went to display+touch and it was still the same:(
  • Curse you Amber update! Show yourself!!
  • Oh yeah I have a Lumia 928 so shouldn't it show up?
  • Something that i've always missed on WP is an external notification system.
    Given that no Nokia phone has a notification led (with the exception - E series), i would like to see some additions to the Nokia Glance:
    - show the status from some standard apps (i.e. missed calls, new message, etc)
    - allow auto-enabling of Glance when a change ocurred in a standard app (new missed call, new message)
    Hopefully someone who should reads this, and finds it worthy.
  • If u dnt have the amber update yet.... Don't install this update. Once installed, ur music menu wont show up again. It disappears never to be seen again. Music still plays but if u have Pandora the music info, controls wont show up on the lock screen or when u try to skip a song. You'll have to go back to the app to change it. Just a tidbit
  • I am holding out for the Lumia that has my coffee ready when I wake in the morning.
  • Great nokia
  • My 820 dosent have glance in Display + Touch ?
  • Neither does mine. I know this without looking because I read the article. You won't get it without the Amber+GDR2 update next month.
    People, please.
  • Seems the PEEK option is buggy. Just turned it on on my Lumia 925 and first hover action worked nicely, but after that it seems the screen won't turn off.
    Oh well, its still a nice addition. Now we need to get the notification icons to show on it too. After that, this is peerfect :)