Amber Update on the Lumia 920: A First, In-Depth Look

The much awaited Amber Update for the Lumia deivces is yet to arrive for Indian consumers, but if you’re eager to know how it fares, we’ve got the scoop for you.

Amber Update on the Lumia 920: A First, In-Depth Look

Microsoft and Nokia have been teasing the GDR2 and the Amber update for quite a few months now and with the release date being so close, the Lumia owners have just been salivating to get the update.

 

The GDR2 update from Microsoft brings updates to the Windows Phone 8 OS such as Data Sense while the Amber update is Nokia’s own “value addition” to the GDR2, bringing features like the Glance Screen and Peek.

We got our hands on the official update and here is what the update has in store for you:

Data Sense
This is a nifty little updater courtesy Microsoft, which will come to every phone that gets the GDR2 update. The app essentially monitors your data usage. The app lays out the data consumed over Wi-Fi and cellular data separately, which is great if you want to monitor your data consumption. What’s great, however, is that the app lays out every single app’s data consumption incredibly neatly, and separated by Wi-Fi and cellular data. 
Lastly, you can set a data consumption limit to make sure you don’t go over your monthly data limit. You can even set the date on which your data cycle resets and in case you end up using up more than you should, then Data Sense can disable the use of cellular data altogether to save your phone bill from blowing up.

Glance and Peek
One of the most excitable features about the Amber update was the Glance option being added to the Display settings. The Glance screen, once enabled, will display a live clock along with missed notifications. However, the best part is being able to wake the phone up with just two taps on the screen. The feature is extremely handy in case you need constant access to important information. However, the feature does consume battery, so Nokia came up with a work-around.
The Peek feature takes advantage of proximity sensors built-into the Lumia devices. Now to save battery, we simply enabled Peek from the Display settings, which turns off the Glance Screen, but allows you to bring it up by simply waving your hand over the phone. We tried waving our hand at various heights, but found that the feature works best when the hand is waved within an inch or two of the phone. Even if this isn’t the final build of the feature, it still works incredibly well.

Radio
The Amber update from Nokia finally enables the latent FM radio chip that’s been chilling in all the new Lumia phones (save for the 820, sorry folks). The radio can be accessed from the Music App, as the option now appears at the main menu, right under Podcasts. One thing we should point out though, like all phones that have the radio feature, the phone requires the use of headphones as an antenna, so if you’re using a set of cans whose cables are Kevlar coated (V-Moda) or are just generally of a thick gauge, you might have some trouble getting optimum reception.

Shutter Button Customization
Up until now, Windows Phone 8 did not allow the physical shutter button to be re-assigned to anything but the stock camera app. With the GDR2 and Amber update, the camera button can now be reconfigured to launch Nokia’s Smart Camera app that comes with the Amber update. Once Nokia releases the Pro Camera app, the one on the Lumia 1020, the physical shutter button could be reconfigured to run that too. While we do like this little flexibility, we would have really preferred if we could have the physical shutter button launch any camera app, even those downloaded from the Windows Phone Store such as Pro Shot.

Display Colour Profiles
Adding more customization to the phone, specifically the display, Nokia’s introduced “Lumia Colour Profiles,” a way to set your own colour temperature and saturation level for the screen. This is great for anyone who likes to have a specific colour grade to their display. Photographers who like their colour to be absolutely pin-point accurate are definitely bound to be excited by this little feature, as are we.

SMS and Call Filter
Up until now, there has really been no way of avoiding calls from unwanted elements, unless you dished out money for apps since no mobile operating system has the feature built-in. Apple’s iOS allows you to block all or select calls after a particular time, but there really is no real solution to filtering calls and messages. Nokia aims at changing that as they have included a “Call+SMS filter” setting, wherein you can set add your unwanted contacts to a “Blocked List” and from there on, calls or messages from those numbers. Trust us when we say this, it works SO VERY WELL!

CardDAV and CalDAV Protocols Support
Windows Phone users have been cowering under Google’s threat of cutting off ActiveSync support for quite some time now. What this meant was that once support was cut off, users wouldn’t be able to sync their calendars or contacts to their Windows Phone devices. However, with the GDR2 update, Microsoft has brought CardDAV and CalDAV support to Windows Phone devices, thanks to which you can continue syncing your contacts and calendars from Google. Also, you can now receive business cards over text messages.

Closing Thoughts
The Amber update running on our Lumia 920 brings with it several major updates, all of which we have discussed above. They all work very well, given that we are running the final version of the Amber Update (or at least final up until now). The one thing we have definitely noticed is that ever since installing the update, our battery life has improved, even if just slightly. Even with the Glance Screen and Peek feature on, the phone is lasting us an entire day (if not just slightly more) with our usual barrage of WhatsApp, Facebook, about 3 hours of Phone calls and an incessant need to constantly fiddle with the phone. 
While the Amber Update has started rolling out across various countries and carriers, it is yet to make an appearance on the Indian device pool. We are hearing the update could be coming to the phones by the end of August, but there is no official date for the rollout yet. However, once it does become available, we will surely be the first to let you know.

 

Best Windows 8 Apps

For those people who have now taken the plunge in Windows 8, you’ll find the page below about the most excellent Windows 8 apps useful. We sourced web to find Metro, best modern apps for the Windows 8 for every purpose almost e.g. social networking, entertainment, image editing, etc.

Windows 8 has lots of interesting features; however, the most essential is known as Windows Store. It’s simple to boost a Windows 8 tablet or Windows 8 laptop with host of great apps – multimedia, games, productivity, tools, and much more – and then these can be installed automatically on all other Windows 8 and Windows 8.1 system in just a few clicks.

You’ll needs to first find them, certainly, which is something like a challenge, as the Windows Store has thousands of different apps competing for attention now. Apps are what actually makes up your system; allow you do your important tasks, maintain a system’s integrity and performance, and ease and help with your work. As these best Windows 8 apps are so essential, a good selection of apps is compulsory for anybody.

OneNote

This well-known Microsoft’s note-taking app is available as Windows 8 app for free, and synchronizes all of your ideas and thoughts across multiple platforms and devices via the magic of great SkyDrive.

This app itself works very well within the tiled, clean look of Windows 8 starting screen and so, there are ample of features to discover, from the capability to explain your notes with scribbles and drawings to the alternative of tagging down your notes in order to make them simpler to organize.

4oD

The Channel 4 seemed getting its catch-up performance together faster than the other commercial channels (putting lots of its contents on YouTube, for instance), and the free 4oD app for Windows 8 is easy to make use of and packed with the programmes new and old.

You’ll need to put with a few of the adverts; however, the full-screen form makes some sense for videos, and you can surf by category, by broadcast date, or via the complete A-Z of shows available.

Violet Storm Lite

Violet Storm is one among the best Windows 8 apps since the launch of operating system, but it’s now obtainable as a £2.79 Pro version and a free Lite edition both which you can upgrade if you love what you watch.

In both the versions, the intent is to explode your way via as numerous enemies as probable across a never-ending, mesmerizing solar system setting. It’s simple enough to steer your spacecraft around the whole galaxy, and lots of fun while play.

Twitter

The official Windows 8 Twitter app doesn’t do much ahead of the basic of displaying your mentions and your timeline, and it certainly could make use of a new lick of paint into the interface department.

But, what it does well is the dock to side of your screen – you can see your tweets when working on a desktop or running any other best Windows 8 apps, and for this attribute alone it is worth to install on the Start screen.

Official England Football

All of us may be a lit bit of shambles on the field, but the FA’s Windows 8 app available for free at least; Official England Football now is easy and slick on the eyes.

There are plenty of materials to work through, counting video content and news updates (both behind-the-scenes and official), and if you’ve more than the passing interest in fortunes of a national team then it is a worth to install. For time being, this looks like fresh content is added at a regular basis, also.‎

6. Royal Revolt!

One among the very best Windows 8 apps or say games available at the present is Royal Revolt. It is a tower defence title for free with some wonderfully rendered 3D graphics, a simple backstory and cartoon-ish sounds.

The learning curves are just right; therefore you can pick the game’s numerous features as you proceed through increasingly complex levels in the attempt to get back your kingdom. You may marshall your troops as well as plan your attacks on a touchscreen or utilizing a keyboard and mouse.

Adobe Photoshop Express

This is a bit basic at present, however at least the Adobe has now got its foot inside the Windows 8 doors with this free Photoshop Express application – you easily can crop pictures, adjust contrast colors, and brightness via on-screen sliders, plus add a variety of immediate filtered looks to the photos.

Everything tends to be mapped out so as to make most of the touch-enabled full-screen interface, although the decrease noise tool is paid-for upgrade and that is a shame. Now, you can import photographs from disc and sync them over web.

Spider Solitaire HD

The Windows 8 does not include old favourite Solitaire any longer as a desktop application, so you’ll require finding a Start screen application to fill void. The Spider Solitaire HD tend to  be the best option that we came across, allowing you to select from numerous different table designs and card and providing complete support for the touchscreen users.

This app comes with a marketing banner at top, however if you like this game, then you can upgrade it.

Google Search

The Windows 8 Google’s Search app not only allow you to type (and speak) your queries, this includes a rudimentary browser to allow you to notice the results in the app, in addition to access other Google’s tools such as Maps and Gmail.

Like lots of Start screen apps, this suffers from too many blank spaces, but it’s a shrewd tool which will be of specific interest if you heavily are invested in Google ecosystem (for example, you easily can call up Google search history).

Bing Translator

This is in Microsoft’s most excellent interests to obtain some best Windows 8 apps in the Store, and certainly Bing Translator tool fits this description.

In addition to typing out the queries you even can take webcam shot of documents and signs for instant translations. Around 40 diverse languages are known to be supported, including French, Spanish, Klingon and German. The app has offline mode also, enabling you download language packs; therefore, you can get rapid translations without internet connection.