"Better late than never" is a cliché that seems especially appropriate for Nokia. It's been a few months in the making but the promised Lumia Black update is finally here to bring some high-end features to a large number of Nokia's Windows Phone 8 Lumia phones.
Nokia dropped the name Lumia Black last October at Nokia World 2013 as the working name for an update to its Windows Phone 8 line. The update was promised to bring a variety of features that were found on the Nokia Lumia 1520 flagship, also revealed that day. Now the update is finally here and seems to deliver, except that some features will only be available to certain smartphones that meet the hardware requirements.
A good number of the new features revolve around imaging and camera. The new Nokia Camera app combines three camera modes into one, video, Smart Camera, and Nokia Pro Camera that lets users change settings via translucent concentric circles overlaid on top of the viewfinder, allowing them to immediately see the effects of the new settings. Also coming to those Lumia phones that have 1 GB of RAM is Nokia Refocus, an app that lets you focus on any single point in the viewfinder, blurring out the rest, for an artistic effect.
The Lumia Black update also some nifty new apps. Nokia Beamer arrives for phones with 1 GB of RAM or more, letting users beam not just images but also documents and presentations to any HTML5-enabled screen by simply scanning a QR Code. Nokia Storyteller, which debuted on the Lumia 1520 and Lumia 2520 last year, collates your photos by time and place, creating an interesting storyline that you can view over an interactive map. Storyteller will be available on all devices receiving the update.
But the update isn't only about fancy new features. Nokia and Microsoft have worked together to make Lumia Windows Phone 8 easier to use as well. Lumia Black introduces a new homescreen tile called App Folder, which, as you might have guessed, is a container for grouping apps and settings into a single location on your homescreen. Nokia Glance has also been update to version 2.0 and now supports displaying up to 5 notification icons on the screen and offers night time colors of red, green, or blue to make it easier to read the screen even in the dark. The video below demonstrates some of Lumia Black's highlights.
The Nokia Lumia Black update is starting to roll out and will be available to a good number of Nokia's Windows Phone 8 smartphones. For now, however, only the Lumia 1020 and the Lumia 925 are receiving the update, with others to follow in the weeks to come.