Microsoft only began rolling out the Lumia Denim software update to users yesterday, but already carriers in the United States are making it available for users on their networks. Today, Microsoft and Verizon began rolling out Lumia Denim for the Lumia 822 and Lumia 928; they then confirmed a software upgrade for the Lumia Icon is finally on the way.
Microsoft shared details about the Lumia Denim software update in a post on its Lumia Conversations blog earlier today. Verizon customers with the Lumia 822 and Lumia 928 should get notifications to upgrade beginning today.
The Lumia Denim update is part firmware and Windows Phone 8.1 upgrade. The firmware portion of the upgrade includes big camera upgrades. Today, Microsoft’s Lumia camera experience is pretty slow. Following the upgrade, all Lumia owners should find that they can take better pictures a lot faster than they could before. The Windows Phone portion of the upgrade includes an always-listening upgrade for the Cortana personal assistant, provided that the phone’s hardware supports it. Lumia Denim also adds 4K video recording.
Ironically, Verizon has one of the only phones that support the always listening feature: the Lumia Icon. In the same post that it confirms the Lumia Denim update is on the way for the Lumia 928 and Lumia 822, Microsoft also confirms that Verizon has plans to roll out the Lumia Denim update to the Lumia Icon. That’s key, because the Lumia Icon was starting to become a liability for both companies.
Verizon began selling the Lumia Icon early in 2014 exclusively. The Lumia Icon is Microsoft’s one-true flagship, the only Windows Phone made by Microsoft that has a perfect mix of horse-power, decent internals and mainstream screen size. Most figured that Microsoft would roll out the Lumia Icon as a different device on other carriers to compete with the iPhone 6 and devices running Google’s Android operating system. That’s not what happened though.
Instead, Microsoft Mobile rebranded the Lumia Icon the Lumia 930 and released it everywhere except in the United States. Even today, Verizon, which is the United States’ largest wireless company in terms of subscribers, is the only place to get the Lumia Icon/Lumia 930. The only direct iPhone 6 rival running Windows Phone on a carrier other than Verizon Wireless is the HTC One M8 for Windows.
To make matters worse, Verizon has an absolutely terrible track record when it comes to providing crucial Windows Phone updates for the Lumia Icon. Microsoft first showed off Windows Phone 8.1, the latest major update for the operating system, in April. Eight months later the Lumia Icon still has Windows Phone 8 running on it, despite nearly every other phone having the upgrade. Microsoft finished developing its portion of the update, but Verizon maintains that the software upgrade is still “in development.” Now Microsoft says that Verizon expects to upgrade the Lumia Icon to Lumia Denim in “early 2015.” Because Windows Phone updates are cumulative, users can expect all of the features that were given to other users in past updates, plus Lumia Denim.
Lumia 928 and Lumia 822 users should find that they’re automatically prompted to download the update when their devices are connected to Wi-Fi. Typically, these sorts of updates take about a half-hour. During that time, users aren’t able to place phone calls, listen to music or receive text messages. Windows Phone users can manually trigger an update by going into the Settings app then tapping on Phone Update. Again, it’s very important for users to be connected to Wi-Fi before downloading the update.
There’s no word on when other Windows Phones available in the United States can expect the Lumia Denim update to arrive. It’s currently not available to anyone on AT&T or T-Mobile.