After a long period as a developer preview, the official release of Windows Phone 8.1 is now rolling out to Nokia Lumia Windows Phones. Windows Phone 8.1 brings many long needed improvements to the platform, some of the most significant being features like the new Action Center which combines notifications and access to settings and shortcuts in a menu that can be pulled down from the top of the device, and improvements to performance and compatibility in Internet Explorer 11. For a full overview of the improvements made in Windows 8.1 you can read Anand's review of the April developer preview here 

In addition to the improvements made in Windows 8.1, the update rolling out to Nokia devices also includes Nokia specific improvements in what is being called the Lumia Cyan update. The Lumia Cyan update includes a handful of audio equalizer features like enabling equalizer settings for audio played over the phone's speaker and a "dialog enhancer" to boost the volume of human speech in videos played on the device. On some of the higher end Lumia devices the update enables the option to record Dolby Digital Plus 5.1 audio in the camera app which does audio processing to emulate multi-channel audio recording.

The Lumia Cyan update also brings a couple of improvements to the display settings. The first is support for brightness profiles which was originally introduced on the Lumia 630. This introduces a slider in the brightness section of the settings application for finer control over the desired brightness than the default fixed settings of low, medium, and high. The other new display related feature is what Nokia calls color profiles. In essence these are just settings that allow the user to shift the display toward a brighter more saturated image or toward a cooler less saturated image. Along with the three presets of standard, vivid, and cool, there is also an advanced mode which allows the user to manually change settings labelled color temperature, tint, and color saturation using three sliders.

While Windows 8.1 is an update that will roll out to the entire range of Windows Phone 8 devices with all features included, the Lumia Cyan update may have certain features tailored only to specific devices. More information about other features included in the Lumia Cyan update can be found in Nokia's announcement post below. Both updates are beginning their rollout today and Nokia has updated their update status page to reflect the beginning of the Lumia Cyan and Windows 8.1 rollout. The update will be rolling out to Nokia Lumia phones as well as Windows Phone devices from other manufacturers like Samsung and HTC in the coming weeks.

Source: Nokia Blog, Nokia Update Status

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  • kyuu - Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - link

    Yeah, there's no stopwatch app bundled with the OS. There are plenty of decent stopwatch apps on the store, though. What's the issue?
  • mkozakewich - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Third-party basic tools (as a class of software) will never replace first-party. I still use Notepad.exe every day. All the most basic of tools should have a well-designed, secure, and free implementation included in the OS.
  • sweenish - Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - link

    Pretty sure you don't need an API for a stopwatch.
  • althaz - Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - link

    LOL, stopwatch API, really? A stopwatch with lap timer was what I made to learn about deploying apps with WP7.
  • kyuu - Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - link

    The notification/setting center is obviously in the same vein as Android's, but it's hardly a direct copy. It's far superior to Apple's, at the very least. Except for not having a built-in flashlight feature.

    Yes, WP has never had a slider for brightness, just "low", "medium", "high", and "auto". It's problematic for benchmarking, but for normal use it's really not much of an issue. I'm not complaining that it's finally present, though. Also, the new brightness settings include the ability to adjust the values of the low/med/high settings as well as change the curve for the auto setting, I believe.
  • althaz - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Just FYI: You can add the flashlight to the action centre, it's just optional (because the flashlight app isn't built into the OS).

    That said, I haven't done so, I prefer to use the icon on my start screen.
  • kyuu - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    Are you sure about that? I'm looking right now and I cannot see any way to add additional "quick actions" beyond what are listed, and I don't have any flashlight app listed. I do have one installed and on the start screen.
  • Alexvrb - Wednesday, July 16, 2014 - link

    I know you can change them but I think it's limited to a list of built-ins. Frankly, it's not necessary, since you can just pin it to your start page. I would use the action center shortcuts for things that aren't accessed constantly, but often enough that you don't want to dig into settings. Like wifi, airplane mode, maybe bluetooth.
  • kyuu - Thursday, July 17, 2014 - link

    It's far from being a big deal, but I definitely prefer having the built-in flashlight feature ala iOS7 rather than having to launch an app. But yeah, on my action center I have WiFi, Quiet Hours, Brightness, and Rotation Lock.
  • Thermogenic - Tuesday, July 15, 2014 - link

    Will Anandtech start covering Windows Phones again now that they are coming from Microsoft and not Nokia? It's especially sad not seeing the Lumia's in the camera comparisons.

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