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Video: Hands on with Nokia’s new Glance Background app

This morning, Nokia surprisingly released their new Glance Background app in Beta form. It’s shocking because for all the things we knew about upcoming changes to Glance (e.g. color choices, notifications) not one single leak pointed to this ability.

The app simply lets you add a background to your Glance screen and while in theory it’s simple, in reality it’s one of the coolest things we’ve seen.

Enough chitchat though, you can read our earlier article on it here but for now, sit back and see what this app does in the real world.

Don’t have the beta Glance Background just yet? Pick it up here in the Store.

QR: Glance Back

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

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.

  • Amber when are you coming?? I want this so bad
  • 11 hrs. after midnight, still nothing....
  • And counting
  • Everyone voice your concerns here.!/ATT?hc_location=stream
    I did so and pple are getting pretty vocal.
    UPDATE2: Nicole also replied from AT&T. She is probably an intern...
    UPDATE: Tracie A. (AT&T FB page manager) responded to my post. So if you want to give her a piece of your mind comment here (on my post).!/ATT/posts/10151886780983909?comment_id=29647...
  • this is really cool. although I hope they dont keep adding more and more to the glance screen. then it will basically become a second lock screen
  • would be nice if this could bypass the lockscreen...or at least provide the option. I suppose you get into problems with accidental unlocking of your phone in some cases. I'm hoping they can use this background as more of a notification spot that is more than just icons with numbers.
  • Well, it is optional.
  • I've had my phone set to be on night time mode all the time because I like the red.  But now to make this work, I have to take it out of night mode.  Would be nice if it had the option to turn a b/w image red, but this is great.
  • You can turn a B&W image red but you still won't be able to see it during night time mode. But I bet you can post GDR3. :)
  • Why can't the glance screen BE the lockscreen... I have everything I need to glance at on my lockscreen, so what is the point of having a 2nd screen
  • Nice job!
  • I noticed display flickering when I'm using coloured picture for background on my Lumia 920. no flickering when using provided background though.
  • Because Lumia 920 has a LCD screen no Amoled, that's why it flickers. Kinda annoying (i have a Lumia 920 also)
  • but lcd consume no extra power with coloured background compared to amoled =..=
  • I know but still LCD screens create the flickering, dunno why, buts its like that.
  • Mine 920 doesn't flicks.
  • My 928 flickers and it has an amoled screen, so yeah....
  • One of the advantages of amoled is that only the pixels that are displayed take up power. With screens like the 920 has, the entire screen is on even for the black parts in glance. On a 920, Glance is a power hog.
  • It is in beta. I'm sure they'll fix it before the official release.
  • Work great. On my Lumia 920 Taiwan
  • awesome
  • Ok. Installed it now. You know, I didn't really used the glance screen, but with this it is so much cooler! Great!
  • nice! will be the first thing I download if I get Amber today as suggested
  • Fresh.
  • Rad.
  • As someone who doesn't have a Nokia, what is the functionality behind the glance screen? Isn't it the exact same as the lock screen? I turn my screen on to see the time and any notifications. ...what else does the glance screen do? What is it for?
  • You don't have to turn your screen...simple!!!
  • *on
  • Well, on devices with AMOLED it can stay on constantly and show you the clock (and later other notifications, most likely) with little impact on battery life - something an ordinary lockscreen can't do. You can wave over your proximity sensor to display the time if you have it on Peek, which reduces stress on the power button. You know how those buttons have some sort of "life cycle", and eventually they fail. Sometimes. That's just a few uses of the Glance screen. While it isn't much and might seem gimmicky, at least it's an option that can be disabled, i.e. it's not being forced upon users.
  • Actually on my 920 I keep it always on and I havent noticed any worse battery performances.. Nokia did very very well on this..
  • Same here!
  • Me too!
  • 1. move your hand over, pick out from the pocket or even keep it on all-time... glance screen pops
    2. No physical button press
    3. check time, look uber cool (Bengal tiger :P) or get notified (gdr3?) without battery drain
    4. night mode: no blinding yourself midnight
    ..... others can add. In the end it's time to #SwitchToLumia ;)
  • Ah I gotcha, thanks guys. A neat little function, sounds cool enough.
    I actually started a thread in the ATIV section asking how everyone's power button is doing, as mine seems to be wearing prematurely due to the case I use. So I do get the hardware thing.
  • Everything works the same but you have a screensaver. That's the cool part.
  • How does it work when it goes in to night mode?  Does it tint the picture red or hide it?
    I like having the clock always displayed when it's on the charger, but I'm concerned about the extra light the background will emit at night.
    [edit] Very last line of the other article: "It's worth noting that night mode will of course prevent the images from being displayed."  Question answered.
  • Nice, that's actually a bit cooler than I thought on how you can customize the pictures.
    Now just add notificatins like on Symbian phones on GDR3 and it's perfect. 
  • Awesome on my Lumia 1020!! Keep it up Nokia!!..
  • And it allows you to zoom in to the pictures as well - got some great nightime shots i took on london bridge that look great as black and white.
  • Very nice app indeed, it would be cool if when this is on the other lock screen gets disable
  • Would be cool if you had the option to automatically make the glance background the same as your lock screen. Although it seems strange to essentially have two lockscreens now
  • I love this.
  • I love this.  My daughter will scream when she sees it.  Seems that lots of little kids think my Windows phones are sooo cool.  Much better than the old iphones the moms have.  Unfortunately from the adults, all I hear is, "why don't you just get an iPhone?"  As if it is required in some way.  
    Works great on my 822.
    Now if only my 920 will update later today..........
  • Don't mean to pry, but just curious... You have a 822 (Verizon) and a 920 (AT&T)?
  • Does this have any negative impact on the screen, since it is always on?
  • the best part is that, no worries shall occur.
  • Was that a picture of eggman Daniel? Hahah
  • Well I don't have amber so how am I suppose to use this. Thank you very much at&t. You suck ass
  • I came.
  • Nokia fo not sold to Microsoft!!! Please
  • work on our grammar and in the meantime, get out of here with stupid comments. Nokia chose to sell to Microsoft, stop blaming MS for Nokia want to make a profit.
  • On my Nokia N8, the Sleeping Screen function is somewhat like a screen saver in that every minute or so, it rotates an image.  Does the Glance Screen have this type of functionality?
    And yes, adding notifications (and those notification effects)  for Glance Screen, as it does on Nokia Sleeping Screen, would be awesome!
  • Hi,
    What about Nokia bubbles and Nokia situation apps from dead Symbian . still not available in WP8 .. Even nokia music in N8 looks a lot cooler than the Nokia music in WP8... i could create playlist share, add etc.
    Is nokia holding back WP8 or is WP8 holding back Nokia .. keep guessing.. or should we blame AT&T now. for people who want to check

  • I think WP8's APIs are too limited, and that's why Nokia is unable to unleash their creativity power to create even better stuff.
  • Now this is feeling more like a Nokia phone to me. Really missed this from symbian
  • And i sit here with my 8x
  • I'm sitting here with mine too, waiting to see what the next batch of Nokia windows phones bring, in anticipation of MS release an surface phone in the new year.
  • Im not expecting a Surface phone anytime soon now with the Nokia deal. Im just waiting for a yellow Lumia on my carrier. If that ever happens.
  • Sooooo gunna go with the Bat signal. Hurry att so I can get on this!
  • It would be great to add the option where to place the clock because right now it goes up and down over the image and it looks bad!
  • If the clock is in one spot all the time, won't it burn on the screen?
  • Realy? How about the bg image then?
  • Burn in isn't too much of an issue on LCD or OLED screens. Although OLED is more susceptible than LCD.
  • Its definitely a problem on amoled screens not lcd's
  • Amoleds get ghosts a lot easier yes, review units of the Lumia 820 were ghosted in two weeks demo time, that said if you put it on peek or choose for the background to change between 3 pics (the middle is pitch black empty, you can be 100% sure it won't ghost.
  • Is the CN Tower image included in the update?!
  • That's not the CN Tower, looks like the Oriental Pearl Tower in China.
  • I dont have amber yet!! im from Mexico !
  • I love this. I was expecting some thing like this. Thanks Nokia. This is similar to the Nokia Sleeping Screen in my earlier Nokia N8 which is cool and awesome. To all other smartphone owners : Time to #SwitchToLumia ;)
  • Uninstalled it already, takes too long for the screen to "wake up" even when pressed.
    Back to super quick regular Glance
  • The delay occurred on my first try. After that the wakeup speed is equivalent. You should give it another try. I just wish it didn't look so dull on my 1020. Both the beta and regular glance shows this way. I wonder if there is a way to brighten it a bit.
  • Not impressed tbh with the look, nice idea I guess just not for me.
  • Wow this is great. Wonder if it drains my battery faster. I would only assume so
  • Yes. So does the double tap to awake.
  • @Daniel Is there a way to brighten the glance screen? It looks rather dull on my 1020.
  • Nice its the same app we have on symbian fone calles nokia sleeping screen....iam happy nokia is bringing more symbian type apps to windows....if windows can become as versatile as symbian it will be gr8....thou my lumia 1020 is cmg soon... :D
  • It's nice but not a patch on the Nokia Sleeping Screen available for Symbian.
    Hopefully, it will evolve into Sleeping Screen in the near future but for now I'm happy that Nokia are working on this and giving us Lumia owners something unique that stands out from the crowd.
  • Lol i was thinking why it wouldn't work for me but then i realized that if maybe come due to the fact that night mode was on, turned it off and whoplaaaa 
  • Loving it! Installed and using!
  • I wonder what will happen to all these goodies after the acquisation agreement is closed. For Windows Phone 8, Microsoft ( or maybe I should call them "MicroSlow") does nothing, everytime they say; we will reorganize, restart, reset everything, and starting from the scratch. In theory windows phone is a great os, but in reality that's not., all these notifications, restrictions, lacking unique features, thinking that there is no world except US, blah blah... If Nokia doesn't exist, Windows Phone should have been death for a long time ago. Microsoft has unlimited resources, money, just look what they have done till today. If someone knows, please answer my question, how many engineers does the Windows Phone division have?
  • Not working on my Lumia 820, says "!Failed to initialize Glance"
  • The only problem i see is when you charge your phone the glance screen stays on untill your charge is complete. The clock shifts its position but glance image stays at the same position burning the screen pixels at the same position for longer period of time.
  • If night mode is activated then it will not display the image. So charging overnight will not burn screen.
  • Good suggestion bro. I think it will be helpful. But its not the apt solution. as i may have to charge my phone any time.
  • What if you turn the phone over so that the proximity sensor is covered? That way it turns off and you can simply turn it over when you want to see the time.
  • Yes bro. this might be a good solution. But i think glance should have some option to handle charging situation.
  • I also would like the option to DISABLE it when charging.
  • I think they were trying to avoid that with the rotating through random images. Still makes me nervous also.
  • Cycling random images wont help as it also keeps burning most of the pixels.
  • It's like the Kindle lock screen, but better : )
  • Up to 4, not as many as you want.
  • Doesn't work for my 920.  I get '!Failed to initialize Glance'  Tried install twice and no luck.
  • same here
  • How cool is this! Will this affect battery life though?
  • Sorry for being stupid :) but what app is being used to wake up the phone when he swipes his hand over it?
  • well its not an app if u mean the glance screen wake up then its an option in your glance settings( well ofcourse if your phone is compatible with glance screen) you can choose that the glance will only show up when you hover your hand over it. And if u mean the unlock, then he double tapped it , its also in glance settings :) hope i helped
  • Thanks for the response, in the settings (btw Nokia 925 TMO) of Glance there is no setting for swipe..
    Just glance screen : Interval
    Night Mode: Set time
    Start Time
    End Time
    In the Touch settings there is the double tap on/off but nothing referring to swipe.. Guessing this has something to do with an update I am missing.. ?  
  • Nokia Glance in "Peek Mode"
  • grazie infinite, grazie molte... Would not have thought Peek was the answer to swipe :)
  • This is fun, I am all for another way to tailor my phone. Googling "block print" pulled up some cool ideas..
  • Created an image for glance
  • Cool... Thanks bro!
  • this is awesome. it is like glance on my E7 omg how much i missed this feature. i now only need Amber. Pfff
  • It would be great if it just used Bing wallpaper for the image. Then when you double tapped the screen it would transition to the full color lock screen with all the additional info.
  • I agree, using Bing wallpaper would be really cool! Great idea, hope they add that in!
  • Yes!!! Nokia Sleeping screen is one of the things I have missed the most!!!!
  • It looks like the GDR2 update just arrived on AT&T. My 920 is updating right now. I'm on the west coast.
  • Nokia better than LAGndroid
  • Great job Daniel
  • Orgasmic!
  • I need a Cammy one now.
  • I mean "I need a Cammy one meow!"
  • Glad to see Nokia Glance (double tap to wake feature) evolving as it was first seen on the 8800 Arte, 6600 Fold, and the legendary N9. \:D/
  • Is there any concern about the clock burning in with the Amoled screen if you just kept that Glance screen on?  
    Or does the clock move around a bit on the screen?
  • It moves position every 30seconds or so.
  • Anyone know if this could burn on? i don't think it moves right? and does clock move now?
  • No issues with my 1020. The clock moves position every 30 seconds or so.
  • I have it set to Peek, but it stays on constantly.
  • Very cool indeed. Off goes night mode for the time being. Nokia rules.
  • Good to see Nokia bring some of its best from Symbian. Nokia sleep screen should be next :)
  • I tried the app, then uninstalled it, but the picture is still on my Glance screen, and I am not sure how to remove it. Any ideas?
  • Okay, reinstalled it. Uninstalled it. The pic is gone now.
  • Any tips on apps to crop a background image size? Wanting to use the same image for my lock screen but while the windows phone lock screen crop works perfectly, I have to manually size the glance so it doesn't work as well. Only decent app I can find is dual lock crop, and it makes the picture too big lol.
    CBF transferring to my PC for photoshopping lol.
  • Nokia again showing why they are the top innovator when it comes to smartphones. I really hope Microsoft does not fuck it up when they acquire the Nokia division responsible for all this cool stuff.
    Perhaps the only way to do that is to have Elop as the CEO of Microsoft.
  • and people says wp is not customizable
  • Not complaining or anything, but..a glance screen should be..a glance screen. 
    Now you have 2 lockscreen wallpapers it doesn't make much sense.  Was hoping notifications would come before this. Sometimes less is more.
  • Ok mine was working but when I changed back to a pic that worked once the background went away and the time #'s came up red???
  • Now no pics are working.. Also reinstalled and restarted device
  • turn night mode off.
  • I want to uninstall. Think it's an annoing app. After uninatall the image is still on my lock screen. I've restarted my 920 but with no effect. How do I g'et back to a simple plain black background?
  • It installed on my 520 but when I went to runit, it said Glance was not available on my device :( It looked like it installed properly.