I love Cortana, my own 24/7 personal assistant residing on my Lumia 1520 and she is getting better, as today at Microsoft has announced their latest update for Windows Phone 8.1 called Lumia Denim ( for Lumia only ) featuring Cortana with ability for passive listening .
Now this means I don’t have to press the search key and then press the microphone to activate her , now all I have to do is say , Hey Cortana and it will be summoned, for Lumia owners , the great news is that this feature is exclusive to Lumia that means HTC One for Windows users won’t get it.
Cortana’s Passive Listening is not the only new thing coming to Lumia Denim , Microsoft is bringing a range of enhancements to the OS making much more useful and productive along with enhancements specific to Lumia range of devices .
On the OS side most of the enhancements , except a few are included in Windows Phone 8.1 GDR1 , Developer Preview and will be available for the consumer use in Q4’2014 , the enhancements include
Cortana : available for UK , China in beta form while India , Canada and Australia will get it in form of Public Alpha . For US , Cortana will not include improved natural language recognition , car kit integration via Bluetooth for contacts , snooze remiders and calendar improvement.
For those who live outside the targeted market , can refer to our guide on how to use Cortana outside US to activate it in their region .
For Natural Language integration , through GDR1 update (Developer Preview) , I already have support for non Native English Speakers , like me .
For Car Bluetooth support , I can activate Cortana with a touch of a key on my Pioneer car stereo.
Live Folders : Already available in Windows Phone 8.1 GDR 1 , Developer Preview , Live Folders are Dynamic Folders on Homescreen which animate . Unlike WP 8.1 , where there was a Folder App, now all you have to do is drag and drop the ‘pinned’ applications on each other to make a folder. Renaming the Folders is also very easy , just tap the text field and call them whatever you want.
App Corner : Suppose you have to share your phone with someone , or a company is giving out corporate phones , App Corner can restrict them to a certain apps and games keeping others ‘locked’ .
SMS Merge and Forwarding : Again already available in GDR1 , now you can select individual messages in a thread , forward them or delete the,
Snooze Time : Again already available in GDR1 , you can define the Snooze times when you set an alarm in Alarm App.
Consumer VPN : I haven’t tried it , but have heard of it in GDR1 , in which user can define their VPN settings
IE Improvement : With IE 11 , it now connects and browse faster on mobile sites
Live Store Tile : Again in GDR1 , it shows the Live Tile of Windows Phone store with popular apps
The above enhancements are for all Windows Phone 8.1 users be it Lumia or One for Windows, however having a Lumia has it’s perks and for us the Lumia Exclusive updates in Lumia Denim are.
Lumia Camera – Lumia Camera will be replacing Nokia Camera and will is faster with better camera controls.
Speed – Superfast Camera loading with millisecond difference in taking multiple shots.
Moment Capture – Press the camera button a bit longer and you can make a 4K Quality video recording at 24fps , with frame resolution at 8.3 MP , you can even extract the frames as images.
Rich Capture – Auto HDR and Dynamic Flash are included for that perfect photo , with shoot first and set settings later options..
Improved image processing algorithms – Improved Low Light capturing with a clearer picture
“Hey Cortana” Voice Activation – With SensorCore Technoogy , Cortana has gone to Passive listening , so ‘Hey Cortana’ is all you need to use it.
Glance Screen – A better Glance screen , with Bing Weather , Bing Health & Fitness Data along with the usual , time , date and notifications and apps data.
The images below ( Exclusive to SenseApplied) will give you a glance at the Lumia Denim
Lumia Denim comes standard with Lumia 830 , Lumia 730 and Lumia 735 upon launch this month , while others will get it in Q4’2014.
What do you think about Lumia Denim ? Will it take Windows Phone a bit closer to take their share off Android and iOS , do let us know in comments.