Nokia Update Turns Lumia Phones Into Wi-Fi Hotspots

Patch for Lumia 710 and 800 also adds new camera features, but potential buyers may decide to wait for Windows Phone 8.
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Nokia released a software update Wednesday for a pair of Windows Phones that gives them a number of new features and allows them to share Internet connections with other devices.

The patch is available for Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 phones that are running Microsoft's Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update.

"Today, a new software update for the Lumia 800 and Lumia 710 starts rolling out that will bring some powerful new features to your device and access to new apps you will use again and again," Nokia officials said in a statement.

One new feature brings Internet sharing to the phones. With the update installed, users can share their Wi-Fi connections with up to five other devices, be they PCs, tablets, or other phones. "In effect, it turns your Nokia Lumia 800 or Nokia Lumia 710 into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot," said the officials.

Another new feature is what Nokia calls "flip to silence." Users can silence all incoming calls and alerts simply by turning their phones face down.

[ Windows Phone 8 has five important new elements for enterprises. See Windows Phone 8: Ready For Business? ]

The download also includes an add-on called Camera Extras. It adds several new picture-taking modes, including Smart Group Shot for better group shots, Action Shot for improved capture of subjects in motion, Self-Timer for self-portraits, and Panorama, for wide-angle pictures. "Camera Extras feels like several apps rolled into one," Nokia officials said.

To download the update, which is now available, users must connect their cameras to a PC or Mac via a USB cable. PC users can then access it through their Zune software, while Mac users will need to run Windows Phone 7 Connector.

While the update will add some pizzazz to the Lumia models, it may not be enough to attract new buyers, given that Microsoft has announced that Nokia and other handset makers will ship Windows Phone 8 models later this year. Among other things, Windows Phone 8 features include more customizable version of the Metro interface, and they will support quad-core mobile processors.

Microsoft has confirmed that phones running Windows Phone 7 or 7.5 will not be upgradeable to Windows Phone 8.

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