glance

The Nokia Lumia 930 announced during Build is in many the perfect Lumia. There are just two features that are missing that may keep it from being the best Windows Phone on the market: no micro SD card and no Glance screen.

The lack of a micro SD card is perhaps not that bad, considering that the Lumia 930 ships with 32 GB of internal storage. Despite the grumbles in comments here about this missing feature, most regular people actually do quite fine with 32 GB. Glance though is a bit different. Much like the Lumia Icon on Verizon, the Lumia 930 will also not have Glance. It’s an odd omission, for sure.

Yesterday we sat down with Nokia though and were able to ask why that is. Here’s what we learned.

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Niche apps are always tough to write about. For some, they’re indispensable. To others, they don’t make sense. DayGlance is one of those apps, designed specifically for Lumia devices running Nokia’s Glance screen.

You may not have noticed, but Nokia’s Glance screen omits the date. Instead, it just shows the time and any notifications. While I understand the logic – keep it simple – for some, knowing the calendar day is important. Luckily DayGlance fills that gap by let users show the date in the notification bar.

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Nokia has today pushed out an update for its Glance screen. This Lumia exclusive feature enables consumers to add images and display the clock while the Windows Phone screen is locked. It's possible to configure the Glance screen to display at intervals, as well as setting night modes, but Nokia is extending functionality even further.

This latest system app release introduces a new feature for consumers, making it possible for custom messages to be created for display when the screen is locked.

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This morning, Nokia surprisingly released their new Glance Background app in Beta form. It’s shocking because for all the things we knew about upcoming changes to Glance (e.g. color choices, notifications) not one single leak pointed to this ability.

The app simply lets you add a background to your Glance screen and while in theory it’s simple, in reality it’s one of the coolest things we’ve seen.

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This morning we reported on a list of unofficial (and incomplete) changes coming in the double punch GDR3/Bittersweet shimmer update later this year. One of those new features, noted over the weekend by leakster Nawzil, were optional color choices for Nokia’s ever-evolving Glance screen.

Tonight on the Chinese social-network Sina Weibo, a low resolution (but clear as day) photo has leaked showing what Glance looks like in green. We have to admit, it certainly looks sharp. In the lower part of the display you can also see a pending notification, something which has been confirmed multiple times now.

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It’s not exactly a secret that Nokia’s forthcoming ‘Bittersweet shimmer’ firmware update, which will coincide with the GDR3 OS release, will sport Glance screen notifications. Indeed, we speculated as much before it was confirmed two days later in the famous leak of the new Lumia build.

Interestingly, Microsoft Norway just posted this above photo to their Instagram account and if you look closely, you’ll see a few notifications awaiting the owner of that Lumia 925.  Of course the rest of the image is actually highlighting the Surface 2, Xbox controller and Halo Spartan Assault, but that’s still a neat confirmation of this new feature.

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Last week Nokia moved Glance out into the open in Settings, which we covered in detail. The update was to make discoverability of Nokia’s many custom settings that much easier but alas, there was a prescient sign of things to come with the change: a new toggle for Notifications on Glance.

We speculated at the time Nokia was going to be adding Notifications to the Glance screen, enabling email and SMS visual alerts. Not a day later did we see the GDR3 and Nokia Bittersweet shimmer leak in our forums confirming our assumption.

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Good news for those with the awesome Nokia Lumia 720, as the 1334 Amber firmware and 10328 OS update (GDR2) is now sitting on Nokia’s servers.

If you're adventurous and use Nokia Care Suite or Navifirm+, you can download the ROM and manually flash your device (losing all information in the process); alternatively, you can wait until your carrier begins to roll it out over-the-air, which is what we recommend.

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Recent updates by Nokia may reveal forthcoming additions to expand Lumia functionality for users

Nokia has been churning out quite a few updates lately for its Lumia Windows Phones, especially for those with the Amber update. The last few system app changes, notably Extras + Info yesterday and Display + Touch for today, simply moved those settings into their own categories.

While that is seen as a fix for discoverability, there are few other deviations that have been noticed as well that may be a sign of things to come.

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Yesterday we reported on Nokia making some changes to its Display + Touch settings area, where you can configure some options for the Glance screen, altering display properties and adjusting touch sensitivity. The company has split up the panorama panes into separate settings entries to help with familiarity and easier to notice when first using a Lumia Windows Phone. 

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Starting with the Windows Phone 8 GDR2 and Nokia Amber updates, Nokia was able to offer new options for the Lumia line, including the coveted Glance screen and Touch features. Glance enabled the onscreen clock with vibration and charging alerts, while Touch allows users to modify screen sensitivity.

Both features are essential in getting the premium Nokia experience, but there was one problem: discoverability. In order for a new customer to learn about those features, they would have to do some deep digging in the myriad of options under Settings.

Well today, that is no more.

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There has been some confusion regarding the availability of Nokia’s Glance feature, aka the on-screen clock which we covered recently in a tutorial post. The feature is coming to other Lumia devices via the Amber update, but we remember seeing rumors for “exceptions” on specific devices pop up, revolving around screen technology i.e. AMOLED vs LCD.

Nokia has gone now and confirmed that the Glance is basically coming to all Windows Phone 8 Lumias except the Lumia 520 and Lumia 521 (T-Mobile, US) due to “hardware restrictions”. While that would have been an awesome feature on the 52x series, evidently cutting hardware specs so low does have some consequences for feature parity.

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We’ve reported quite a bit on Nokia’s Glance screen in the past but we also know some of you are new to Windows Phone and may have picked up a Lumia 925 this week or a Lumia 1020 next. If that’s the case, you may not be familiar with how to enable Glance (or even what it is) and all the options that it has available to you.

So we whipped up a little tutorial video to show you how to enable this feature (it’s not on by default, though we don’t know about the 1020 yet) and configure it for your liking.

Glance, for those who don’t know, is Nokia’s always-on clock for their Lumia line. It launched with the Lumia 925 but will be available on the Lumia 1020 for launch and other Lumia series devices when Nokia’s Amber update rolls out later this summer. Basically, a clock is fixed on your otherwise-off display and while it of course uses battery, it’s quite unassuming for usage.

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If you like occasionally playing with your display settings on  your Nokia Lumia smartphone, then you’ll want to go and update Display + Touch to version 1.6. That update is now live in the store and brings with it a few changes that are actually documented for once.

While most users won't be able to take advantage of the added functionality just yet, you'll still want to read on about how Nokia is dramatically improving Windows Phone by adding new features. One of those additions, documented below, has you "magically" turn on your display with the proximity sensor (tuned for motion detection). Very cool stuff.

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Information overload is all too common in our busy, hectic lives these days. One of the central themes through the entire Windows Phone operating system is of deep social integration. From the very start we have had Twitter and Facebook woven into the very fabric of the system. Sometimes though, too much social activity can mean it is hard to see the updates from those that matter most.

When you get to the point where you have hundreds of contacts on Facebook and the same amount or more again on Twitter, things can get hectic. We’re going to show you how easy it is to setup and create your own custom Live Tiles to cut out the static and see the updates from those that matter most...

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