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Update 3 for Windows Phone 8 Supports Larger Displays

Five- and 6-inch screens, up to 1080p HD resolution, will be supported.

Windows Phone developers should pay attention to the upcoming release of Windows Phone 8, as it may require a number of changes to existing applications, along with considerations for new applications.

The changes are coming in Windows Phone 8 Update 3, known internally as "GDR3" or "general distribution release 3."

The rollout for Update 3 "initially kicks off in the coming weeks and will continue over several months," according to a post on Microsoft's Windows Phone Blog attributed to Darren Laybourn, corporate vice president of Windows Phone. As with past Windows Phone 8 updates, the timing of when users actually receive Update 3 will depend on the model of their devices and their carriers. Windows Phone 8's last update, GDR2, rolled out to users this past summer.

One of Microsoft's top goals with Update 3 was to expand Windows Phone 8's support for new devices, according to Laybourn's post. To that end, Update 3 will support larger devices with 5- to 6-inch screens and 1080p HD displays. Instead of a maximum of four Live Tiles in one row on the Start screen, Update 3 will let users fit as many as six Live Tiles in a row.

Windows Phone 8 Update 3 enables a wider Start screen.

Microsoft is reportedly planning to release Windows Phone 8.1 (code-named "Blue") in 2014. If rumors bear out, Windows Phone 8.1 will support even larger devices than Update 3 -- devices with 7- to 10-inch screens, according to one report by SuperSite for Windows' Paul Thurrott. Officially, Microsoft has not revealed any information about Windows Phone 8.1.

Other improvements coming to Update 3 include:

  • new storage management features, including a "category view" setting that gives users a breakdown of their storage usage

  • the ability to easily turn a Windows Phone 8 device into a mobile hotspot for Windows 8.1 tablets and PCs

  • a set of "Mobile Accessibility" apps for users that are visually or hearing impaired

  • a "Driving Mode" setting designed to eliminate unnecessary notifications while users are driving

  • out-of-the-box Wi-Fi capability

  • the ability to assign different ringtones to different functions or contacts

About the Author

Gladys Rama is the senior site producer for Redmondmag.com, RCPmag.com and MCPmag.com.

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