Nokia announced today that it has begun to rollout the "Black" software update to Lumia smart phones. Black is essentially a firmware update designed to ship alongside Windows Phone Update 3, but it also comes with additional features and some updated apps.
I previously wrote about the initial, limited availability of Black on the Lumia 1020 on AT&T Wireless in Nokia "Black" Update for Windows Phone 8, though the update's first public appearance was with the Lumia 1520, which shipped with both Update 3 and Black preinstalled. This week's announcement indicates that Nokia is now rolling out Black more broadly, first to Lumia 1020 and 925 devices worldwide. It will be made available to users of other Lumia devices "in the coming weeks," Nokia says.
While my previous report details the new features, there are two new items to mention, the first of which I'd not heard about (nor seen on my own devices):
App folders. This new features adds one of the most eagerly-requested Windows Phone features: Folders of apps for the Start screen. "With App folders you can group similar apps and settings into one folder, a tile, on your Start screen," Nokia says.
New apps. Once you have Black, you can snag new (or new versions of) Nokia Refocus, Nokia Beamer, Nokia Storyteller and, most important, Nokia Camera, which combines Nokia Pro Camera and Smart Camera into the single best smart phone camera app on any platform. It supports RAW (DNG) format and provides image quality improvements.
I'll be writing more about individual Nokia "Black" features soon.