Nokia Lumia Amber Update Out Now in the Philippines : Brings Pro Camera, Smart Cam, Glance Screen, Better Image Processing

I've been constantly checking my Nokia Lumia 920 for updates since last week when the Finnish company formally announced that they were already starting to roll out Amber to all of their handsets running Windows Phone 8 operating system.

At around 4:30 this morning, thankfully, I finally got an upgrade notification.

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Since the software upgrade came with no description whatsoever, I wasn't exactly sure what it was for. Nevertheless, I proceeded with it, allowing my phone to download and install all the files.

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I was asked to click on an on-screen button to restart the handset after the installation.

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One of the new features that come with Amber is Nokia's Glance Screen, which puts a clock on the phone's lock screen. I thought that if the upgrade that my Nokia Lumia 920 got was indeed for Amber, Glance Screen would be the first thing I'd see on the screen after the boot. Turns out that feature isn't turned on by default.

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I only confirmed that I already have Amber after I launched the Nokia Pro Camera app, which I downloaded on my phone a few days back, and it finally worked.

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TP Friends, according to Nokia, Lumia Amber builds upon the latest update for Windows Phone 8 from Microsoft. In itself, this provides a number of significant additions: a new FM radio player and improvements to Xbox music and the Internet Explorer browser.

The update likewise brings significantly improved imaging algorithms that offer better noise reduction, colour reproduction, exposure control and autofocus to every phone across the Lumia range. On the Lumia 920, controls to adjust the ISO settings of the camera from 800 to 3200 allow for even better low light performance.

Debuted on the Nokia Lumia 925, the new Smart Cam app is ideal for taking pictures involving people and movement. Starting today, you will get the app from the Store after downloading Lumia Amber to your phone.

The app brings a slew of different options – use Best Shot to find the sharpest image from a series of 10; combine several shots of people in movement into one with Action Shot; heighten the appearance of speed by blurring the background with Motion Focus; create ideal group shots by choosing the best faces from a series with Change Faces, or remove unwanted objects from your pictures.

Note that Smart Cam's performance scales according to the capabilities of your device. On the Nokia Lumia 720, 620 and 520, the burst mode used for some effects takes seven pictures rather than ten, and these are a lower resolution than on devices with more RAM (one-megapixel rather than five), which are still great for social sharing in social networking sites.

On top of the Lumia Amber update, the newly announced Nokia Pro Camera - allowing you to change ISO, White Balance, Focus, and Flash settings before taking photos - will be available for Lumia 920, Lumia 925, and Lumia 928 starting today. Once you've taken great videos with your updated Lumia, you can edit them fast with the Nokia Video Trimmer app and upload those to YouTube with Nokia Video Uploader. Both apps will be available in the Store starting today.

But it’s not all about pictures. Lumia Amber software update also contains a few more, keenly awaited extras.

As I've shared, Nokia Glance Screen brings a clock to your screen when the phone is inactive, along with indicators to show battery level when running on a low battery or the phone is charging, and whether your phone is set to 'silent'.

You can activate the Nokia Glance screen in the Display and Touch section in Settings by swiping left to 'glance'. Nokia Glance screen will be available for all WP8 Lumia devices except the Nokia Lumia 520 and Lumia 625, which have a smaller display memory.

Two favorite features from older Nokia phones that users have asked for will also come with Amber. Flipping the phone over is a great and easy way to mute the incoming call. Double tapping the screen is something many people prefer to using the unlock key. Both of them are optional in case you’re worried about having accidents – in our experience, though, that never happens.

You may have already picked this up through another update. We wrote about it here. Briefly, if you’re running out of space on your phone and you want to free some up, you can find out the biggest culprits and deal with them (perhaps you never delete your photos, despite uploading them to SkyDrive, for example).

Finally, with the Lumia Amber update installed on your phone, you can update your HERE Maps even easier and faster as only those roads and other map features that have been updated will be downloaded — you don’t have to install whole countries anew.

The rollout starts now in the Philippines first for the Nokia Lumia 920 and Nokia Lumia 820, and soon to follow on Lumia 520, Lumia 620 and Lumia 720.

Your Nokia Lumia will check periodically for software updates automatically, or you can perform a manual check by going to 'Settings' -> 'Phone Update'. You can also check for the availability status of the update in Nokia's support pages.