Going from Amber to Update 3 Preview on the Lumia 720

I updated my Lumia 720 to Windows Phone 8 Update 3 Preview last week, and the device seems to be running quite well so far. I had the Amber update for 3 weeks before that and most of the earlier issues seemed to have been fixed in that release itself.

There are a few noticeable new features in the Update 3 Preview:

  • Ability to close open apps from the task switcher (long press the back button to bring up the task switcher and then use the close button)
  • Driving mode when using selected Bluetooth devices – it can start automatically based on your movement speed
  • Screen rotation lock

The update does not seem to have affected the battery life for me, and the device seems to be pretty stable over the past week. The screen freeze issue still happened at times, but it seems to be triggered by the Facebook App. I uninstalled the Facebook App a couple of days back and the screen freeze and random typing issue seems to be gone.

Instructions on how to install Update 3 Preview on your phone for free without a developer account:

  1. Sign up for App Studio
  2. Download the Preview for Developers app on your device
  3. Run the Preview for Developers app and Enable the option
  4. Go to the phone update section of Settings and check for updates
  5. Update 3 Preview should be automatically detected and installed

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Note that the update cannot be rolled back and Amber\GDR2 update is a prerequisite.

Relook at Windows Phone 8 quirks after Amber

The good news is that the Bluetooth freezing issue seems to have been ironed out after the Amber update on my Lumia 720. Originally, the phone used to freeze upon disconnecting my Bluetooth headset, but after the Amber update the phone seems to behave normally (almost). The main quirk that I noticed is the screen responding erratically at times (culprit seems to be the Facebook app).

I had initially thought that the Bluetooth freeze had been replaced with this touch issue, but some troubleshooting last night seems to suggest otherwise. The touch issue that I have been facing is that the phone does not respond to screen taps. Turning the display off and then on seems to fix the issue, but it can occur again at random. It can be especially annoying when you try to receive calls and the phone ignores your tap on the answer button. This issue does not seem to be restricted to the Lumia 720, as my mother who has a Lumia 520 also faces a similar issue.

Also at times, the phone seems to go on a tapping spree of its own resulting in false taps akin to having a keyboard key stuck. I have faced this issue when entering the lock screen pin resulting in invalid entries, and also having emails deleted due to the phone deciding to tap on the delete button on its own. It seems that the region just above the home\Windows button has this issue. Again, a turning the screen off and then on seemed to fix the issue.

I had initially suspected the extra sensitive touch capability of the Lumia 720 causing the problem (the Lumia 520 has this feature as well), but since I’ve never enabled this feature I ruled it out as a cause. The main culprit seems to be the Facebook app, as I had it controlling my lock screen backgrounds (same as my mother’s Lumia 520). I uninstalled the Facebook app yesterday, and gave the phone some time to behave itself. Things seemed to be ok, and I went ahead and installed the app once more. Things seem to be ok so far.

A couple of other quirks that I noticed with the Facebook app is that the built in Windows Phone chat for Facebook messages seems to have connectivity issues with the app installed. It happily showed me as online after I uninstalled the Facebook app. Things were back to the “Can’t connect” state soon after I reinstalled the Facebook app. The other quirk was concerning the album list in the Facebook app lock screen setting. I had set the custom album option and selected a few albums from my album list. However, the album list was missing the newer albums and this got updated after the app reinstall.

Bottom-line seems to be that the Facebook app has some issues that seem to get sorted out on an app reinstall (different issues on different platforms going by my Android experience). So, if you have the Facebook app controlling your lock screen backgrounds and are facing issues like me, try a reinstall.

Amber (GDR2) update on the Nokia Lumia 720: First impressions

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I finally got the Amber update for my Lumia 720 yesterday (check availability here), and it brings a few visible features like Data Sense (data usage monitor) and Glance (show clock when the phone is locked) along with some under the hood tweaks like Bluetooth LE support. On the whole, the experience doesn’t seem to have changed much, but the phone seems to respond to touches a bit oddly after performing certain operations like switching off Bluetooth and taking a screenshot.

The update process took about 45 minutes including the download, and in true Windows fashion, the phone restarted then did some data migration and prompted for another restart. iOS updates do take a similar amount of time, but there at least no restart prompts. One of the first things I did was use a workaround to install the Nokia Pro Cam and the Nokia Smart Camera on my phone. Instructions in brief:

1. Change your phone region to United States (Setting->Language+Region)

2. Connect to a WiFi network

3. Under Settings – WiFi, click on the WiFi network you are connected to

4. Switch ‘Proxy’ to on. Now type “117.135.139.179” into “Server/URL”. In “Port”, type in “8888”, then click on the tick at the bottom of the screen

7. Go to the Store and click on ‘Nokia Collection’

8. Download Nokia Pro Cam (after disabling the proxy)

9. Turn Proxy off, set your phone region back to normal, and Restart.

They seem to work without much of an issue and can even be set as the default camera app (they require you to enter the PIN though if you have one set, unlike the default camera app). The on screen controls do seem a tad small on the 4.3″ screen of the Lumia 720, but this should be tweaked once we have the official launch on the lower end devices (non PureView branded ones). There doesn’t seem to be any technical barriers for this.

Nokia Pro Cam
Nokia Pro Cam on the Lumia 720

As for Data Sense, it works as promised and the usage meter filled was up to date right from the initial configuration indicating that the underlying hooks were already in place before the update.

Data Sense
Data Sense

My display on the first use also seemed to be a touch more saturated than before, and I tweaked it in the new Lumia Colour Profile option under the Display setting. A touch of warmth with neutral saturation seems to be my preference (having the crimson theme on a red Lumia 720 is probably the reason for the low saturation preference).

Lumia Colour Profile
Lumia Colour Profile

Let’s see if this solves the Bluetooth freeze issue I have been facing, or leads to any new ones.