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Lumia Denim rolling out with hands-free Cortana and sexy camera features

Better check your Lumia smartphone, as the Lumia Denim update is ready to roll out, bringing some cool new features to Windows Phone 8.1, including hands-free Cortana.

Cortana now supports voice activation, so you can wake and operate your Windows Phone device hands-free by saying “Hey Cortana” when the phone is idle. For now, however, this feature will only work on the Lumia 930, Lumia 1520 and the Lumia Icon. You can also natter to Cortana when driving thanks to car kit integration.

The new Cortana also features snooze times for your reminders, so you can brush her off when you’re busy.

The Lumia Denim update sees the virtual PA made available in China and the UK in beta and in Australia, Canada, India, France, Italy, Germany and Spain in alpha, so you won’t have to fool around with your phone to turn her on any longer.

If you’ve got a Lumia Icon, 1520, 930 or 830 you’ll be getting a sexy new version of Lumia Camera, which loads quicker and captures images at a higher rate of knots. But even more intriguing is the Rich Capture mode, which includes auto HDR, Dynamic Exposure and Dynamic Flash.

Moment Capture is also included in the camera update, which gives you the option of shooting 4K, 24FPS video with a long press of the camera button. You’ll even be able to select individual frames from your video to save as 8.3-megapixel stills.

Other improvements bundled with Lumia Denim include Live Folders on your start screen, which give you the opportunity to organise your apps into groups; a new Glance screen, which allows users to see fitness and health data from the MSN Health and Fitness app; and a new and improved Internet Explorer which will reportedly deliver a faster browsing experience (we can only hope).

You’ll also get a shiny new VPN, which will deliver better security when connected to unprotected public Wi-Fi.

So, when will the Lumia Denim update hit your personal handset? According to Microsoft, the update has started rolling out to “a limited number of devices in selected markets,” so don’t panic if you haven’t got yours just yet.

To check if the update is ready to download, go to the Settings menu on your Windows Phone mobile and head to Phone Update, then hit ‘check for updates’.

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