Microsoft Begins Rollout of Windows Phone 'Denim' Update

"Denim," the update for Lumia devices running Windows Phone 8.1, has begun rolling out to some customers, Microsoft said on Thursday.

"The Lumia Denim update has started rolling out to a limited number of devices in selected markets, and will continue arriving in waves by device," according to a post on the Lumia Conversations blog. "A wider rollout of Lumia Denim to all Lumia smartphones running Windows Phone 8.1 is expected to begin in early January, following partner testing and approvals."

Denim, first described by Microsoft in September, is a firmware update that's specific to Lumia phones, which make up the majority of all Windows Phone devices in use worldwide -- nearly 69 percent in November, according to data from AdDuplex, a Windows Phone app advertising platform.

Besides bringing improvementes to the Lumia's camera functions, Denim will also include Windows Phone 8.1 Update, the platform update that Microsoft announced in late July. Windows Phone 8.1 Update will expand language support for the Cortana voice assistant, introduce "Live Folders" for the Start screen and the new "Apps Corner" feature, as well as enable VPN connections over Wi-Fi.

Current Lumia devices need to already be running Windows Phone 8.1 and the previous "Cyan" firmware update, both of which technically began rolling out in July. However, as with all Windows Phone updates, the exact delivery date to users ultimately depends on the carriers, which can lead to significant delays. In the United States, for example, Windows Phone users on the Verizon network and some on T-Mobile still have not received Cyan or Windows Phone 8.1, according to this availability status page.

It is possible to circumvent the carrier and get the Cyan/Windows Phone 8.1 update by signing up for Microsoft's Developer Preview Program (see "A Non-Developer's Guide to Upgrading to Windows Phone 8.1").

Also this week, Microsoft released a beta of the new "Gestures" app for Windows Phone 8.x, which enables users to interact with their phones without actually touching the screen. According to The Verge, Microsoft had originally planned to include the Gestures capability in a future Windows Phone update, but changed course in favor of offering it as a separate download.

About the Author

Gladys Rama (@GladysRama3) is the editorial director of Converge360.