Nokia releases Windows Phone update for Lumia 800 and 710

The two smartphones are getting Wi-Fi tethering for sharing an Internet connection with up to five devices

Nokia has started rolling out a Windows Phone software update for the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710, which includes Wi-Fi tethering and a feature that silences incoming calls and messages when the phone is turned face down, the company said in a blog post on Wednesday.

Owners of the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710 may not be getting Windows Phone 8, but that doesn't mean new features won't be added to the smartphones.

Just like on other smartphone operating systems, Wi-Fi tethering -- or Internet sharing as Nokia calls it -- turns the Lumia 800 and the Lumia 710 into a mobile Wi-Fi hotspot. Users can share their mobile Internet connection over Wi-Fi with up to five other mobile devices or computers, according to Nokia.

The feature that silences incoming calls and messages when the phone is turned face down is called flip-to-silence.

When the software feature has been installed, other new features can be added via Microsoft app store Marketplace, as well.

These include what Nokia calls Camera Extras, which enhances the camera capabilities of the device.

As Nokia looks for ways to differentiate its smartphones from the competition, the camera is one area it will focus on going forward.

The extras allow users to, for example, take better group shots. By pressing the camera button once, a user can snap five shots and then select the best shot for each person, turning the result into a single composite image.

There is also a new panorama mode and a mode for taking better pictures of movement and action, Nokia said.

The Windows Phone update will become available during June and July, and the camera features will be rolled out worldwide by the end of July, according to Nokia.

To get the update, users need to connect their phone to either a PC running the Zune software or a Mac running the Windows Phone 7 connector.

Internet Sharing and flip-to-silence are already available on the Lumia 900 and Lumia 610. The new camera features are already available on those phones in the U.S. and China, and will come soon elsewhere, according to Nokia.

Nokia will also roll out Windows 7.8, which is what existing Lumia owners are getting instead of Windows Phone 8. The update will includes a more flexible start screen on which users can choose the size of their live tiles more freely.

Nokia isn't yet ready to say when the update will become available, a spokeswoman said via email.

Send news tips and comments to mikael_ricknas@idg.com

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