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Previous model was a solid seller for Nokia Devices

Following the spring launch and summer rollout of Windows Phone 8.1, Nokia Devices -- Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT) smartphone unit – is preparing an assortment of devices for its fall lineup which will be likely be unveiled at the IFA 2014 (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 and Lumia 630.  It style has also changed significantly from its predecessor, the Lumia 720.
Neowin adds to the picture, leaking details 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

Lumia 730
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. (QCOM) 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

Lumia 730
The Lumia 730 in the wild [Image Source: WPCentral]

Neowin 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 Neowin and WPCentral 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 and Nokia X2 lineups.

But Debian Red is actually a color -- this color, to be precise.

Under Nokia Oyj. (HEX:NOK1V) 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
Lumia Amber in 2012 kicked off Microsoft's trend of more fund (and colorful) firmware names.

With the 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 (Amber) [ColorHexa].  In early 2013 it introduced Windows Phone Black [ColorHexa] 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 "Bittersweet Shimmer" (a coral red-like shade) [Colors.FindTheBest], Windows Phone Cyan was codenamed "Cherry Blossom Pink" [ColorHexa], and now the latest mystery color of firmware is codenamed "Debian Red" [ColorHexa].

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" (Deco), "Denim" (Denim), "Danube" (Danube), "Daisy" (Daisy), or "Daffodil" (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. (TPE:2498) 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.
HTC (Taiwan), Huawei Technology Comp., Ltd. (SHE:002502) (China), and Sony Corp. (TYO:6758) (Japan) have all launched special "selfie" edition smartphones.  Huawei even invented a new kind of selfie -- a panoramic selfie it calls the "groufie".

Windows Phone 8.1, Update 1 Preview
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 "Debian Red" 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.

Sources: WPCentral, Neowin

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More hardware
By chmilz on 8/8/2014 3:55:21 PM , Rating: 2
I really want to jump back to WP, but where the hell is the new, upper-end hardware? If MS was smart, they would sell all Nokia handsets unlocked and unbloated from their website and brick and mortar stores in addition to carriers.

RE: More hardware
By StevoLincolnite on 8/8/2014 6:24:03 PM , Rating: 3
I agree, there needs to be a push for better hardware and more often.

With that said and done though, not once have I ever said to myself "Gee, I wish this Lumia 920 was faster". - In the years I have owned it, there has never been been a single stutter, it's always been smooth and responsive just like the day I bought it.

I think we have reached a point of "Good enough" performance awhile ago now, that for MOST users, better hardware specifications come with diminishing returns from an end user experience perspective.

It's actually the same problem the PC has, once the Core 2 series launched, most people never needed a faster machine, it could handle flash-based games, facebook, email and youtube easily enough, drop in an SSD and it would be fast and responsive and despite being 6-7 years old, is more than enough for the majority.

As for unlocked hansets, in Aus there are dedicated stores for that, but it would be nice if Microsoft sold the handsets directly, then people could get the Xbox, Windows Phone, Surface notebook/tablet all in one place, perhaps Microsoft could even do bundling sales? It's a missed opportunity in my eyes.

RE: More hardware
By chmilz on 8/8/2014 11:44:30 PM , Rating: 2
All good points. I could look at a used 920.

Forget bundle deals. More people need to realize there ARE Windows stores, and they'll show you all the really cool stuff Windows and compatible devices can do together. If even a tiny amount of people knew the power of OneDrive vs. iCloud and Google Drive, they would be compelled to switch.

RE: More hardware
By StevoLincolnite on 8/9/2014 6:05:11 AM , Rating: 2
More people need to realize there ARE Windows stores, and they'll show you all the really cool stuff Windows and compatible devices can do together.

Maybe for the USA, but I'm pretty sure Microsoft doesn't have a store for a few thousand kilometers/miles from me in AUS, which is unfortunate. :(

However, they *could* open a store across the road from Androidland in Melbourne...

Apple could get in on that too.

RE: More hardware
By Krinosy on 8/9/2014 9:51:54 PM , Rating: 2
They do do pop-up stores though, there was a Lumia 930 stall in Chatswood Westfield last time I was there, next to the Sony stall.

RE: More hardware
By robinthakur on 8/13/2014 2:58:10 AM , Rating: 2
I use Onedrive and it rocks generally, but they need to sort out the syncing from Android and OS X. Several times, I've synced receipts from my phone, they suceed in upload and then are never seen again! They need to sort out the sharing as well, as alot of people don't realise they even have a microsoft account because of all the different names they have (live, msn, onmicrosoft, outlook, hotmail etc) and are already logged in with another account to the one you are trying to share to.

RE: More hardware
By nikon133 on 8/10/2014 9:23:37 PM , Rating: 3
So true. I like the idea of getting 930 or next high-end when released... but I am so NOT over capabilities of my Lumia 920 yet. I really cannot think of anything I'd need faster/bigger/better... save for camera, maybe. But even that, considering my camera usage.

RE: More hardware
By Mitch101 on 8/8/2014 6:27:47 PM , Rating: 2
End of year McClaren with a 2K display. All thats known is its super fast but might be cancelled.

HTC One M8?

Nokia 930 but Im not sure why anyone would want a display over 1080P on a 5" screen.

Even if Nokia came with a new flagship device over mine I cant imagine what I would want to upgrade for? I think the 930 might have better contrast in the camera but outside of that I dont feel the need for a 2K screen even if I had 2K video content.

RE: More hardware
By Reclaimer77 on 8/8/2014 8:21:17 PM , Rating: 2
Nokia 930 but Im not sure why anyone would want a display over 1080P on a 5" screen.

RE: More hardware
By Mitch101 on 8/8/2014 9:07:13 PM , Rating: 4
RE: More hardware
By Labotomizer on 8/9/2014 11:42:10 AM , Rating: 2
I'd like to see them unlocked but there isn't bloat on them for carriers. All carrier and OEM apps can be uninstalled without doing anything special.

You could do the 1520.3, which supports ALL US carrier HSPA and LTE bands and is unlocked.

RE: More hardware
By althaz on 8/11/2014 11:53:29 PM , Rating: 3
You mean like the Lumia 930? It's high-end in every sense of the word (I bought one a couple of weeks ago when it launched).

RE: More hardware
By NellyFromMA on 8/12/2014 9:11:06 AM , Rating: 2
It's on VZW, strictly.

Why is this news?
By lexluthermiester on 8/10/14, Rating: 0
RE: Why is this news?
By peterrushkin on 8/10/2014 1:09:48 AM , Rating: 2

RE: Why is this news?
By atechfan on 8/10/2014 3:49:09 PM , Rating: 2
You still upset about that? Nobody called you racist because you don't like Microsoft. You were called racist for the claim that Indians automatically make bad CEOs.

RE: Why is this news?
By peterrushkin on 8/10/2014 5:27:55 PM , Rating: 2
I'm not upset about anything. I'm still laughing about how everyone got their panties in a bunch over the whole thing.

Wait, Microsoft are still doing good? Oh yeah, I'm still wrong right???

Nevermind, you are an MS uber fanboy.

Nothing to see here, move along!

RE: Why is this news?
By lexluthermiester on 8/15/2014 7:30:19 PM , Rating: 2
Wait, you think my distaste for Windows Phone/8/8.1/RT has to do with Microsoft's choice of CEO? What drugs are you on?

I don't like those OS platforms because they suck[difficult, annoying unintuitive, ugly], not because the NEW CEO[who had little to do with them] is Indian.

What frackin rock did your sorry, pathetic self crawl out from under?

RE: Why is this news?
By lexluthermiester on 8/15/2014 7:23:02 PM , Rating: 2

I've been called many things, but never that.

Would you care to explain your logic?

Perhaps I'm slow but my "Windows Phone = Fail" statement doesn't have anything to do with race issues, or did I miss something somewhere?

Debian? Really?
By Argon18 on 8/11/2014 2:27:59 PM , Rating: 1
Microsoft named a Windows phone release after a popular Linux distribution? And not just any Linux distribution, but one of the more popular ones for ARM-based mobile hardware. Smooth move Microsoft, this isn't at all confusing. /sarcasm

"Young lady, in this house we obey the laws of thermodynamics!" -- Homer Simpson

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