So Microsoft finally came up with an official list of new features in Windows Phone 8 General Distribution Release, named as GDR3. Also, they are now opening a “Developer Preview Program” for the WPDev’s to test their apps against the new OS build before it comes to consumer.
In this post, I am going to share you the set of features that you are going to see in the next update of your Windows Phone 8 device.
There was already a rumoured news where we came to know a better Start Screen for Windows Phone 8 devices with 1080p resolution. Now this is officially out. We will now have a bigger, higher resolution screen where we can put three medium sized icons in a single row of WP8 start screen. Thus making a better start experience. Isn’t it?
What else? There are some other features that will allow you to lock your device’s screen orientation like the one you can do in Microsoft Surface. Personally, I already experienced a lot difficulties when the screen rotates in different angles of the phone and I have no control over it. This new feature is really very good for the users like me.
What’s new in GDR3 update?
In a blog post, Darren Laybourn (Corporate Vice President of Windows Phone) mentioned three main engineering goal behind this update and they are: enabling incredible new Windows Phone devices, enhancing the platform with new capabilities for current users and partners, improve the overall quality of the devices.
Let’s see what are the new features and enhancements coming up with this update after few months. Here is a list of them announced by Microsoft:
- Higher resolution screens (1080p): Now you will have a bigger Start screen. That means, you will now be allowed to pin more tiles in a single row. Earlier it was limited to 4 tiles maximum (small) but now you can accumulate up to 6 tiles in a single row.
- Powerful hardware: Windows Phone 8 GDR 3 has support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor.
- Orientation lock: Now you will be able to lock the orientation of your Windows Phone like the way you are locking the screen in Surface devices.
- Driving Mode: This will help you to go from one point to other point with less distractions. Driving Mode is designed to limit notifications on the lock screen—including texts, calls, and quick status alerts—until you’re safely parked.
- Out of the box Wi-Fi support: Now you will be able to turn ON the Wi-Fi during the phone setup process.
- Improved Internet Sharing: When you are in GDR3, use your phone as a hotspot for Windows 8.1 devices. Just pair your phone and Windows 8.1 PC or tablet over Bluetooth, tap your network name and you'll be connected to the network. No need to enter a password to turn the internet sharing option.
- More ringtones: With GDR3, you can set ringtones for more operations. Earlier you had option to set ringtones for only instant messages, emails, voice mails and reminders. But now you will be able to set custom ringtones for individual contacts for text messages.
- Better Bluetooth support: GDR3 has additional improvements in quality of Bluetooth connectivity.
- Better Storage management: Now you will be able to manage your storage settings and free up temporary files.
- Close your apps when done: You will be able to close your apps using the App Switcher once you are done working on them.
What’s there for Developers?
So, are you excited after seeing the features and enhancements in Windows Phone 8 GDR3 and wondering how you can get the bits? Okay, Microsoft announced a preview program for developers by which you will be able to get the GDR3 release prior to the final release reach to the consumers.
To participate and get the WP8 GDR3 bits (from Microsoft), you must meet one of the below three conditions:
- Your phone should be unlocked for developers
- You should be a registered Windows Phone Store Developer
- You should be a Windows Phone App Studio Developer
Once you meet any one of the above three requirements, you are good to go to download the GDR3 update and test your applications against this pre-release update. There are no SDKs available yet for this release but this could be available later when it comes near to final build.