Windows Phone’s long-awaited update is now finally official. Previously called General Distribution Release 3, it has been renamed to ‘Update 3’, and should start rolling out to users in a few weeks.
Support for HD displays, Quad-core Processors, and More
With Windows Phone 8 Update 3, there’s finally support for bigger devices on the platform. The update introduces a third row of Live Tiles for big devices – such as the rumored Nokia Bandit, which is expected to have a 6 inch display. The OS now supports full HD 1080p displays too.
There’s a welcome addition on the performance front too. With this update, Windows Phone will finally support Qualcomm’s Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor, allowing the platform to compete with all the other Android flagships in the market today.
Windows Phone 8 Update 3 has addressed many of the concerns users reported on Microsoft’s Features Suggestions Site. Microsoft has responded to the most wanted features on the OS from the users. With the update, Windows Phone will now allow users to set custom notification tones for emails, texts, voicemails and reminders. Additionally, the OS will finally introduce a ‘rotation lock’ for the display.
Another one of the most requested features was the ability to close apps from the multitasking windows, and Microsoft has listened to users again. However, many other top requested features don’t seem to have made it to the update. These include a battery percentage indicator in the status bar; a quick settings menu to toggle features like Wi-Fi, Mobile Data; and a File Manager.
Confirming earlier rumors, Update 3 includes a new Driving Mode that works with Bluetooth to send automatic replies to incoming calls and texts. There’s also a screen reader to assist visually impaired users.
There are other, incremental upgrades to different parts of the OS too. Aside from better Bluetooth support, users can now use Wi-Fi while setting up their phone allowing them to restore from backups instantly. Storage Management has been revamped; space allocation for different things such as videos and apps can be managed in a much better way. A common issue that has been fixed in this update is that of the ‘Other’ storage tab accumulating a large amount of space in the phone, not leaving enough for apps and music.
A Long Way to Go
While the new changes are very welcome and would please many existing Windows Phone users, Microsoft has still missed out on some crucial features and functionality that may be setting back the OS relative to its competition. The presence of a Notification Bar, or a Control Center equivalent – now present in both iOS and Android, is still missing on Windows Phone. However, according to rumors, that too shall be fixed with Windows Phone 8.1. Until then, this should tide users over.
Windows Phone 8 Update 3 is expected to start rolling out in the next few weeks. Depending on carriers, the process could take a few months. If you’re a developer, you can get your hands on the Windows Phone Preview Program, bypassing carriers.