Microsoft unveils Windows Phone Update 3 introducing support for phablets, 1080p screens and quad-core chips
Microsoft has let the cat out of the bag - Windows Phone Update 3 is now official and it brings long awaited support for 1080p displays, quad-core chips and much more.
Windows Phone Update 3 is what many of you have heard of as General Distribution Release (GDR) 3. It comes to meet three huge goals Microsoft had: “Enable a new generation of incredible Windows Phone 8 devices, enhance the platform with new capabilities for current users and partners, and improve overall quality.”
On to the new features:
Larger screen, 1080p resolution - Update 3 expands the supported screen sizes so now Windows Phone can run on 5-inch and 6-inch devices. This is where Microsoft draws the line - 7” and larger devices will run on Windows 8.1. Those displays will not only be larger, they will support sharper resolutions as the new maximum is now set at 1080 x 1920 pixels. That’s a much anticipated improvement and something that Android has had for a year now.
Quad-core processors - This latest updates allows Windows Phone to run on quad-core devices, and more specifically on Qualcomm’s MSM8974 chip, commonly referred to as Snapdragon 800. Here again, Microsoft is playing catch-up to Android.
More Live Tiles - One appreciated feature on the sharper and larger displays is support for more Live Tiles. Instead of stretching 4 small Live Tiles across the home screen and making it all look ugly, Update 3 brings support for 6 small tiles in a row.
Screen lock, custom ringtones - Now you can lock the screen orientation to either portrait or landscape. You can also assign custom ringtones to almost anything - instant messages, emails, voicemails, and reminders.
Better multitasking, enhanced storage management - Multitasking in Update 3 allows you to manually close apps by hitting a big “X” button, and when it comes to storage you now have the option to see which apps and media use what amount of storage.
Other improvements - There is also a number of other improvements like a new Driving mode that would lock the screen while you drive and keep you safely focused on the road. Some things like accessing Wi-Fi during setup are now possible (more of a bug fix here), and Bluetooth tethering would also now remember devices you’ve connected to before and won’t ask for a password. Accessibility apps now include screen reader for blind and visually impaired, and tools for those with hearing problems.
The final question remains when can you get the Windows Phone Update 3. The release date is not exactly clear - it all depends on carriers to test, approve and push this, but if you are a developer you can get it right now via Microsoft's Developer program.