Wednesday, January 15, 2014

Lumia Black: Hidden Changes

Lumia Black (Windows Phone 8 GDR3 + a bit of Nokia) is the third generation of WP8. It is something that most of us already know about. But do we really know about it? Unless you actually own a Lumia 1020 or a 1520, you are most likely going to ask yourself if it's worth the update. The web is smeared with GDR3  change log. check it out after the break

  • Support for an extra column of tiles for 1080p screens
  • Support for Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 soc
  • Improved photo algorithms for the 1020 and the 1520. 
  • Ability to close apps from task switcher. 
  • Nokia Camera App + Nokia Story Teller App + Driving mode App
  • Rotation Lock. 
  • Glance screen
  • Bluetooth 4.0

So the big question is, why would Microsoft rebuild the entire OS just to improve the image quality and add a screen rotation lock. Let's be honest, Nokia Camera and Story teller are just apps which could also run with Amber or GDR2 if available.

If you own a Lumia 920 or 925 and you already have Nokia Camera but are not going to benefit from the image processing algorithms of the 1020 and 1520, why should you bother to update? Honestly Windows Phone must be so rigid that it requires an entire rebuild and recompile in order to make the slightest of changes.

I understand that most of Windows Phone is built all the way down at the core OS for security reasons but this is slowing down development and limiting developers. Some features shouldn't be at the core.

The unmentioned changes I have noticed with Lumia black

I have been running Lumia Black on a Lumia 920 for 2 days and so far I have only noticed that the Music engine has changed a bit in terms of playback. The music has more bass even with a flat EQ. The Dolby effect is much more improved. It is actually usable now. The loudness EQ is still buggy. Sometimes it works sometimes it doesn't.


For an OS that MS said was flexible enough to run on lots of CPU core, I think this was a lot of work just to increase the core count by 2. This should have been the version where Windows Phone catches up to iOS and then catch up with Android in  version 8.1. Overall the experience seems smoother, may be that's my psychologically thing. And may be they improved on core features like memory management and the likes but all this is assumption. Verdict, not impressed.

If you work for Microsoft or know someone who actually works in MS, Please explain to us why the OS needed to be rebuilt for just 2 or 3 changes. I mean the browser still doesn't support upload of photos when using Facebook.

Nokia Story Teller