As Microsoft announced today, there are new features and innovations that Microsoft is ready to deliver with its upcoming Windows Phone 8 Update 3, which will roll out to existing phones over the next several months. For the latest official Windows Phone 8 update, Microsoft said it had three main engineering goals in mind: Enabling incredible new Windows Phone devices, enhancing the platform with new capabilities for current users and partners and improving the overall quality. All this results in the GDR3 which comes with support for bigger and higher-resolution screens, more powerful hardware, Driving Mode, new accessibility features, improved Internet sharing and much more (see bellow).
The new update paves the way for future Windows Phone devices with 5" and 6" touch screens. The larger, 1080p HD displays on these devices will make Windows Phone even more personal - for example by sporting jumbo-sized Start screens with room for six Live Tiles across instead of four. A bigger Start screen means the ability to pin even more of the people, info, and apps that matter to you. Built-in apps and Hubs like email, Photos, People, and Music and Videos will also be carefully scaled to take full advantage of the additional real estate on 6" screens.
In addition to larger screens, Update 3 will also bring support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor. The added horsepower that this chip delivers should make our already-fluid operating system perform even better.
A new feature called Driving Mode helps users to get from point A to point B with fewer distractions. Working with a connected Bluetooth device, Driving Mode is designed to limit notifications on the lock screen - including texts, calls, and quick status alerts - until safely parked.
It's even possible to configure Driving Mode to send automatic replies to people who call or text when behind the wheel, to let them know users will get back to them.
Another highlight of the new update is Mobile Accessibility for Windows Phone 8, which isn't a single feature but a suite of apps designed to make Windows Phone easier to see, hear, and use. The apps, which include a screen reader, make it easier for blind and visually impaired users to manage calls and contacts, send texts and emails, browse the web, make Skype and Lync calls, and hear notifications like alarms, calendar events, and low-battery warnings.
In Update 3, Microsoft made it easier to use the phone as a data-savvy hotspot for Windows 8.1 devices by just pairing the phone and Windows 8.1 PC or tablet over Bluetooth, tapping the network name, and the devices will be connected and ready to go. No need to enter a password or dig out the phone and turn on Internet Sharing.
However, that not all Microsoft packed into Windows Phone 8 Update 3. Besides hundreds of under-the-hood performance tweaks and enhancements, Microsoft also added a bunch of small but handy new features:
- More useful ringtones: With Update 3, users can use custom ringtones for more things - including instant messages, emails, voicemails, and reminders. It's even possible to assign custom ringtones to contacts for text messages.
- No more twist and shout: Does your screen keep spinning when you're trying to read emails in bed? Use the new rotation lock option to keep it fixed in place.
- Better storage management: New storage settings make it easier to free up space on your phone and manage temporary files. A new category view shows what's taking up space at a glance.
- Easily close apps: Now you can use the App switcher to quickly close apps when you're finished with them.
- WiFi access out of the box: You can now connect to WiFi during phone set up, so you can start conserving cellular data right out of the box.
- Better Bluetooth: Microsoft also made a bunch of improvements to improve connection quality for Bluetooth accessories.
- Windows Phone 8 Update 3 adds the ability to assign custom ringtones to contacts for text messages, so you'll know who's texting you without even looking. Does your screen keep spinning when you're trying to read emails in bed? Use the new rotation lock option to keep it fixed in place.
The rollout for today's Windows Phone 8 smartphones will initially kicks off in the coming weeks and will continue over several months. Specific timing depends on a number of factors including your carrier and phone model.
Cheers ~ Arne