90 Days Later, My Microsoft Lumia 830 RM-985 Still Doesn’t Support Lumia Camera 5

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Lumia 830

I try to be a patient person. It’s difficult for me–I want something, I have a hard time waiting for it. When it comes to promises that companies make about their products, I try doubly hard to be patient–nobody’s perfect, things don’t always work out as planned, I’ve been known to be late myself, etc. I try to hold companies to the same standards as I hold myself, and so I strive to be fair in my dealings with them.

That said, honest communication is key. I’m a good deal more patient when a delay is explained. If I order a product and it doesn’t show up on time, I’m far less upset when the company tells me why I’m waiting. When I purchase a product and it’s not precisely as described in the marketing materials, I’m more apt to be upset–I have a long career in sales and marketing, and I know what it means to be honest and forthright in marketing communications–but even then I’m more accepting of mistakes when they’re clearly explained and rectified.

That’s why I’m so disappointed with my Lumia 830. And, I’m surprised that Microsoft, with so much on the line, would perpetuate what’s a very unacceptable situation.

Here’s the deal. The Lumia 830 can be purchased from a carrier or unlocked, with the latter coming in a number of variants. I purchased the RM-985, US Variant, which means it enables the radios to work with GSM carriers in the US and supports LTE with my carrier, T-Mobile. So far, I’ve been happy with the smartphone’s performance, for the most part, although I’ve suffered from some wifi and Bluetooth radio issues that I’m hoping get resolved in a firmware update at some point.

The problem with my version of the Lumia 830, and likely with some others as well, is that it shipped with a limited version of the Denim firmware. This version does not support Lumia Camera 5, the version of the camera software that enables the highest quality and most important features such as much improved performance and Rich Capture. The details don’t really matter–what does matter is that Microsoft has touted the camera in its advertising of the Lumia 830, and implied in numerous communications that the smartphone would support the enhanced camera features out of the box.

The fact that the Lumia 830 ships with Denim installed, albeit a gimped version, is doubly misleading. When I purchased mine at the Microsoft Store, I saw that Denim was preinstalled. I wasn’t aware then (this was on January 22, 2015, almost three full months ago) that this wasn’t the full Denim version, and imagine my surprise when I found Lumia Camera 5 won’t run (although it does install). I’m stuck with inferior alternatives, and a device that simply does not perform as advertised. Even worse, I spend significant time and energy keeping up with the Windows Phone market–imagine the disappointment and frustration experienced by someone who only relied on Microsoft’s communications in making their decision to purchase a Lumia 830.

I’ve been waiting relatively patiently since then for Microsoft to release full Denim for the US Variant of the RM-985. I’ve asked on Twitter and in Microsoft support forums about the delay, with no answer. Other variants have received the update, and as far as I know there are no carrier approvals required. This is an unlocked device, and Microsoft should be in full control of the update’s release (full release status here).

I know I’m not alone. The Lumia 830 is a great device, particularly if you can find it for the same $380 or so that I paid, but many people are upset that the best camera experience remains unavailble. At first I was mainly upset at the lack of communication about the issue, but almost 90 days later without an update, I’m getting upset as well that my investment was made under what seems increasingly like false pretenses. I’m a huge Microsoft fan and supporter, as I think is obvious from the recent contents of this blog, and I simply can’t imagine how this kind of a performance can help Microsoft accomplish its lofty goals in mobile computing.

Come on, Microsoft. Release full Denim for the Lumia 830 RM-985 US variant, or at the very least tell me what’s holding it up and when you plan to release the update. Otherwise, I’m stuck with the undeniable impression that you’ve ripped me off, and that’s not how I want to perceive a company that is fighting for its life in such a competivie market.

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