Microsoft has formally unveiled the third general distribution release for its Windows Phone 8 mobile OS, fittingly titled ‘Update 3.’ The upgrade doesn’t bring anything too earth-shattering to Microsoft’s phone platform, but it does include a number of tweaks that should help bring Windows Phone 8 up to speed with its current competition.
Chief among those is a newfound support for larger and 1080p resolution displays. Microsoft isn’t saying that this will apply to any future tablets, but it does note that Update 3 will allow Windows Phone 8 to formally accommodate phones with 5- or 6-inch displays. Those devices will now sport a larger home screen that’s stuffed with more of the OS’ signature ‘Live Tiles.’
The company says that native apps like email, Photos, Music, and the like will be “carefully scaled” to better fit with the bigger screens too. Also on the technical side of things, Microsoft says that Update 3 will let Windows Phone 8 support devices that run on Qualcomm’s latest and most powerful SoC, the Snapdragon 800. It’s worth noting here that Nokia is rumored to announce new, larger Windows Phones as soon as next Tuesday, so it’s possible that we’ll see these technical upgrades in action real soon.
Next, Update 3 will let Windows Phone 8 catch up to the Moto Xs of the world by including a ‘Driving Mode’ that works with connected Bluetooth devices. It’ll limit any notifications you receive while it’s turned on, and it’ll give you the option to send automated replies to texts or calls when you’re busy on the go.
Finally, there’s a number of smaller tweaks on the way, including improved apps for the physically impaired, support for more customizable ringtones, a rotation lock option, the ability to close apps from the app switcher, and a more detailed view of what’s taking up storage space in the phone’s storage management menu. Microsoft says Update 3 will start rolling out in the “coming weeks” and continue into the next few months, depending on your Windows Phone’s model and carrier.