Lumia Denim update arrives, bringing Cortana and better pictures

Good news if you own a Lumia 830, 930, Icon or 1520 smartphone: Microsoft said Thursday it has started to roll out the Lumia Denim software update in some regions. Aside from adding Cortana, Microsoft’s digital assistant software, Denim brings a number of camera improvements. Sadly, the Microsoft phone with arguably the best camera hardware — the Lumia 1020 — won’t likely be seeing the Denim update.

lumia image

Captured by Lumia 930 with Denim update


Microsoft announced the Denim software in September and ships it on some of the new Lumia handsets that launched around the same time. Then it said other phones would get the update in the fourth quarter of this year. Technically, [company]Microsoft[/company] is delivering on that promise — you can see the rollout status by region and handset here — but many phones won’t be updated until January or later, pending carrier approval in some cases.

Cortana is a big part of Denim as Windows Phone handset owners can ask their phone questions or get contextual information similar to Google Now. Imaging capabilities also get a sizable boost as Denim includes:

  • A faster Lumia Camera application
  • Moment capture, which saves short 4K video snippets at 24 frames per second. (Note: Lumia 830 tops out at Full HD video with Moment.)
  • Rich Capture supplies auto HDR, Dynamic Flash and Dynamic Exposure functions
  • Improved imaging algorithms for better photos

I’m still surprised that the Lumia 1020 appears to be topping out with the Cyan software update, which is the current version.

Lumia 1020 pureview



While it only has a dual-core processor compared to some of the newer phones with quad-core chips, even the lowly Lumia 520 I bought last year for $40 can run Denim — I have it installed — even if it doesn’t have the hardware to advantage of every new feature. Then again, the Lumia 1020 is eighteen months old and has an unofficially reported October 2014 end-of-life for software updates.