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Nokia’s camera-centric Lumia Amber update for Windows Phone released

Nokia first talked about its Lumia Amber update during its May event for the Lumia 925, after it demonstrated the Smart Camera app onstage. Nothing much further has been mentioned, but our patience has been rewarded, as Nokia has not only published details of the update on its Conversations blog, but it has also released the update itself.

So, what’s Lumia Amber all about? Primarily, it’s about making the camera features on Nokia’s Windows Phone hardware even better, proving once more this is the niche Nokia’s wants to own. Along with a few extra features, Lumia Amber brings compatibility with the Smart Camera and Pro Camera apps to more devices.

Pro Camera comes installed as standard on the Lumia 1020, but is now compatible with the Lumia 920, Lumia 925, and Lumia 928. It’s available to download from the Windows Phone Store once you’ve updated your phone, and brings DSLR-like control to the camera, including adjustable shutter speed, manual focus, and a revised UI. Smart Camera is all about action photography, and lets you add cool effects to emphasize movement in your shots.

Nokia also promises Lumia Amber will tweak the camera’s overall performance, listing improvements in autofocus, exposure levels, color reproduction, and noise reduction once the update has been applied. Lumia 920 owners will also be able to adjust the ISO from between 800 and 3200.

New gesture controls, and Nokia Glance added

It’s not all about the camera though, and Amber adds a pair of new gesture controls, as flipping your phone over will now silence calls, while a double tap of the screen when the phone is sleeping will wake it up. Nice. A Storage Check feature will be added, where you’ll find more detailed information on what’s stored on your phone, while in the future, Nokia Here maps will only update itself with new information, rather than the whole map again.

Finally, Nokia Glance will come to Windows Phone. Adapted from a similar feature seen on Symbian and MeeGo, this keeps a clock on the phone’s blacked out sleep screen, as Nokia discovered the continual activation of our phones just to check the time drained more power than simply keeping a clock on the screen.

Lumia Amber is compatible with the Lumia 920, 820, 720, 620, 520, 928, 822, 521, and Lumia 821. There are a few exceptions, such as the Lumia 520 not operating Nokia Glance, but otherwise expect all the new features on your phone soon. The Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 will get Lumia Amber first, with the rest following over the coming six weeks. As always, it’ll be down to your carrier to decide when it’s sent to your phone, so keep an eye on Software Update.