Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8 Update 3 on Monday, which will be available in the coming weeks and will come pre-installed on the Nokia Lumia 1520.

Microsoft has announced the third update for Windows Phone 8, called Update 3 – previously known as GDR3. As mentioned many times in the past, the mobile platform now supports large displays at 1080p.

The update will be served first to Nokia — a week after — on October 22, when the Fin Company will announce the Lumia 1520, the first phablet device featuring FullHD display and quad-core processor.

Windows Phone 8 Update 3 will bring the OS build number to 8.0.10512 and will introduce several features. The upgrade will have three objectives: to support the new device, improve the user experience with existing smartphones and offer greater overall quality.

It’s likely to see 5 and 6 inches models with a resolution of 1920 x 1080 pixels by the end of year. Therefore, the first visible change will come to the Start screen accommodating up to six live tiles — two more than today – in a row. It will allow users to have multiple apps at their fingertips. All pre-installed apps have been updated to take advantage of the extra space offered by a large display.

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As for the processors, the OS refresh now supports Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 SoC — a quad-core processor clocked up to 2.3 GHz, incorporating Adreno 330 GPU — and LTE and Wi-Fi 802.11ac modules. So, we’ll see all Windows Phone 8 with a potency similar to that of the Samsung Galaxy Note 3, LG G2 and Sony Xperia Z1 in stores by Christmas.

Other features include many improvements that were published on the feedback and suggestions forums.

Here’s the complete list of features (new or improved) in Windows Phone 8 Update 3:

  • Driving Mode: It minimizes the number of notifications on Lock Screen (SMS, calls, status updates) to avoid distractions while driving. In addition, the user can set an automatic response. The feature works via Bluetooth.
  • Accessibility: A suite of apps, which includes a screen reader, will allow blind and visually impaired people to take calls, manage contacts, send messages and emails, surf the web, and listen to the notifications — such as alarms and calendar events.
  • Internet Sharing: The feature has been updated to include a faster pairing mode with Windows 8.1 PCs and tablets. Now, you can share Internet by just a tap on the name of the network, without typing a password.
  • Ringtones: With Update 3, you can assign different ringtones for messages, emails, voice mail and contacts.
  • Rotation Lock: You can lock the auto rotation of the screen.
  • Storage Management: A new option allows you to better manage temporary files and free up space.
  • Closing apps: the App Switcher allows you to close open apps by tapping the (X) button
  • Wi-Fi access during the setup: You can configure access to a Wi-Fi network during the setup. Hence, the user would be able add a Microsoft account, without using the cellular network.

Microsoft has made hundreds of improvements on Windows Phone 8 platform under the hood in terms of performance and stability. The rollout of the update will begin in the coming weeks and as always, the distribution will be gradual and depend on your phone manufacturer or cellular network.

Doors are opened for developers and early adopters

Aside the revelation, Microsoft has opened the doors for developers and introduced Windows Phone Preview for Developers to give access to prerelease builds of Windows Phone updates.

It will enable developer community to download the update in advance in order to test their apps prior to general availability. To get the Windows Phone 8 Update 3, you must have the GDR2 release 8.0.10322.71 and meet one of these three essential conditions:

  1. You must have a developer-unlocked smartphone.
  2. You must be enrolled in the Windows Phone Dev Center, which costs $19 per year.
  3. You must sign up for Windows Phone App Studio program

Well! This privilege can also be exploited by users for free by registering for Windows Phone App Studio program.

After becoming the member of Windows Phone App Studio program, you have to install Preview for Developer app from Windows Phone store, which will allow you to enroll in the Preview. Once it’s done, just check for updates in the settings and download the Windows Phone 8 Update 3.

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The update comes directly from Microsoft, and doesn’t include firmware or drivers specific to your smartphone. The rest of OEM’s update will be distributed when the official update will be available.

After installing the updates, you won’t be able to go back to the previous release of the operating system. In addition, the action may void the warranty of the manufacturer or operator.

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