Microsoft Preps Lumia 730 "Selfie-Phone", Debian Red Firmware
August 8, 2014 1:44 PM
Previous model was a solid seller for Nokia Devices
Following the spring launch and
Windows Phone 8.1
, Nokia Devices -- Microsoft Corp.'s (
) smartphone unit – is preparing an assortment of devices for its fall lineup which will be likely be unveiled at the
(Sept. 5-10th) mobile electronics trade show in Berlin, Germany. With
top Windows Phone leaker @evleaks retired
(for now, at least) expect a bit more mystery surrounding this year's lineup. But top Windows Phone blogs have stepped in, scrounging up leaked images from developers posting to various forums and microblogging platforms.
I. The Design and Hardware
The latest leak to emerge is the Lumia 730. The device is seen in the leaked images bearing the same shade of green as
the Lumia 530
. It style has also changed significantly from its predecessor,
the Lumia 720
adds to the picture,
about the spec. It upgrades from the 4.3-inch 720p screen in the Lumia 720 to a larger 4.7-inch screen of the same resolution. The touchscreen also drops the bottom capacitive physical buttons bar from the previous generation in favor
of virtual buttons
The Lumia 730 in the wild [Image Source: WPCentral]
The processor onboard is expected to be bumped from the Lumia 720's ancient Qualcomm Inc. (
) 1 GHz dual-core Snapdragon S4 MSM8227 to a sportier 1.2 GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon 400 (quad-core). The GPU remains unchanged -- the Adreno 305 GPU @ 400 MHz
The Lumia 730 in the wild [Image Source: WPCentral]
indicates that the device will pack a 5-megapixel front-facing "selfie" camera (the industry gold standard). While the leakers did not mention it, we've heard this camera may incorporate elements of Nokia's PureView technology, including optical image stabilization (OIS), making it much more powerful than traditional front-facing cameras.
The rear camera is expected to get a mild bump from 6.7 megapixels to 8 megapixels and still incorporates the solid Carl Zeiss optics and
PureView stabilization/sensor package
With the Lumia 530 ("Rock") and 630 ("Moneypenny") Nokia opted not to upgrade the internal storage (4 GB for the Lumia 530; 8 GB for the Lumia 630), so it's possible that the NAND flash internal memory will stay at 8 GB. Or Microsoft may bump it modestly to 16 GB.
This isn't as big an issue, though, as Microsoft's Windows Phone 8.1 update allowed (finally) for apps to be run and stored on the microSD card, so you can easily buy a cheap card to expand your phone's storage to 32 GB or even 64 GB (this was a bigger issue in the Lumia 720 as in Windows Phone 8 you would only have the internal memory -- 8 GB -- for apps, limiting the number of large apps that you could install).
Microsoft might be wise to bump the memory from 512 MB to 1 GB, which is more standard in mid-range phones these days, but there are no guarantees. Overall the new device hopes to continue the Lumia 720's track record of strong camera performance and battery life in a mid-range device (the Lumia 720 was widely regarded as the best battery life Nokia Windows Phone), while remedying the sluggishness encountered at times.
A final thing
appeared to miss was the inclusion of a small circular set of holes, close to the camera. This is likely a second microphone for ambient noise cancellation. This could offer better call quality in the new Lumia 730.
II. The Firmware -- Codename and Possible Release Name
Some may get confused with the codename of the firmware spotted on the device -- "Debian Red" -- as there's a popular Linux distribution named Debian. The timing may exacerbate this confusion as Microsoft recent announced it was killing off its short-lived branched Android Linux Windows Phone clone projects,
the Nokia X
But Debian Red is
actually a color
this color, to be precise
Under Nokia Oyj. (
) Lumia Windows Phone firmware originally had pretty boring names that were missing strings of numbers. For example the Lumia 710's firmware was 1600.3007.7740.11465 (beginning) → 1600.3013.8107.11502 → ... → 1600.3036.8858.13030.
The first number was specific to the device (1600 == Lumia 710; 1750 == Lumia 800; 2175 == Lumia 900; etc.). The second number was specific to the device as well, but changed with each update. The third number was the build number of Windows Phone bundled with it (e.g. the above Lumia 710 builds were Windows Phones 7.10.7740, 7.10.8107, and so on). The last number was a family code that tied together all the different patches from a specific round of updates (e.g. there's XXXX.XXXX.XXXX.124x0 for the Lumia 710, Lumia 800, etc.).
Lumia Amber in 2012 kicked off Microsoft's trend of more fund (and colorful) firmware names.
late 2012 launch of Windows Phone 8
Microsoft decided this system was pointless, overly confusing, and was missing a major advertising opportunity (vs. Android that had fun names like "Ice Cream Sandwich" or "Jelly Bean"). So Microsoft went off
on a new path
, dubbing the firmware
Windows Phone Amber
]. In early 2013 it introduced
Windows Phone Black
] and this spring it rolled out
Windows Phone Cyan
(Cyan) [ColorHexa] firmware with the release of Windows Phone 8.1.
What color the firmware ends up being in the end is anyone's guess as Microsoft/Nokia have chosen shades of red-to-pink as the codenames for the firmware, since the colorful new naming trend was introduced. Windows Phone Black was codenamed "
" (a coral red-like shade) [
], Windows Phone Cyan was codenamed "
Cherry Blossom Pink
], and now the latest mystery color of firmware is codenamed "
From the past trends we can guess that Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1's firmware will be a color that starts with 'D' other than red -- so maybe "
" (Deco), "
" (Denim), "
" (Danube), "
" (Daisy), or "
" (Daffodil)... or basically any color with the word "dark" tacked on the end if Microsoft wants to get really tricky. A semi-complete list of 'D' colors (for Windows Phone fans)
can be found here
III. OS and Firmware Improvements Recap
The new firmware will likely be bundled with
Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1
. In addition to existing improvements in the operating system, on the firmware side it's expected to include much
improve selfie-controls and higher-quality selfie processing algorithms
to accompany the device's powerful 5 megapixel front-facing sensor. Hence Microsoft is reportedly referring to the device internally as the "selfie-phone".
The Lumia 730 is believed to be codenamed "Nokia Superman", in previously leaked roadmaps.
Nokia Lumia 730 == Nokia Superman [Image Source: DC Comics]
That may make some wince, but "selfie-phones" from Android phonemakers have been strong sellers. HTC Corp. (
) went as far as to claim that
90 percent of pictures people take in some regions are now selfies
, which if even close to accurate would suggest that phonemakers should prioritize the rear sensor.
Comp., Ltd. (
) (China), and Sony Corp. (
) (Japan) have all launched special "selfie" edition smartphones. Huawei even invented a new kind of selfie -- a panoramic selfie it calls the "groufie".
Live Folders (left, "Photography" folder) and China-regionalized Cortaina (right, "Xiao Na")
The Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1 OS update adds Cortana improvements, bulk text message actions, Live Folders, Store Live Tile quick-links, Xbox Music hub improvements, and more. In addition to the selfie camera firmware upgrades, the Lumia "
" firmware is expected to feature additional battery life and CPU usage improvements.
The latter upgrades will be especially welcome as one criticism of the Lumia 720 was that it was one of the more sluggish feeling Windows Phone devices, often posting "loading" sorts of messages when entering apps or hubs.
"Paying an extra $500 for a computer in this environment -- same piece of hardware -- paying $500 more to get a logo on it? I think that's a more challenging proposition for the average person than it used to be." -- Steve Ballmer
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