While many handsets are just now getting Windows Phone 8 OS build 10327 aka GDR2, it has been known for a while that GDR3 was due not too long thereafter, filling in another gap between Windows Phone 8 and Windows Phone 8.1
Like GDR2, GDR3 will not bring many new major features but rather lots of smaller improvements, driven by new hardware requirements. Those plans include devices with 1080P resolution and so-called phablets (devices with 5-inch displays or larger). Now, a variety of sources have come forth with some of those supposed changes.
While the list is interesting, it’s not the big update that may are expecting. That of course is for Windows Phone 8.1 aka Blue, which is expected in early 2014. That version of the OS is currently being tested on various handsets by Microsoft employees, though the final feature list has not been specified. In the meantime, users on Windows Phone will have to settle for the smaller general distribution release (GDR) 3 that should arrive around October or November.
Here is the list of supposed new features:
- Orientation Lock
- Driver Mode, will turn on automatically when you connect it via Bluetooth. Can reject phone calls / sms and send auto reply back
- Ability to have 3 medium sized tiles in a row
- 1080p / new SoCs, which we knew for quite some time now
None of that should particularly come as a surprise, though certainly the Driver Mode is new. The rest, including Orientation Lock, 1080P display support, and new chipsets are all driven by the need for new hardware and will offer very little in the way for current hardware.
Other features that may make the cut include closing of apps via the multitasking window and silent NFC i.e. no confirmations, though it’s not clear that those features will be included due to time.
Over at the Verge, it is being reported that text message sync with the web is also being considered. That feature would enable one to view text messages at the PC instead of having to turn on the device. However, like other features it is not obvious that it will make it into GDR3 either.
As we’ve said previously, GDR3 should be thought of like GDR2: a software update to enable new hardware options for vendors. While it will bring a few changes for current devices, the big OS refinement for those will come with Windows Phone 8.1, which is expected to go to all current Windows Phone 8 handsets. That update will deliver new features, including a new voice assistant, Theme syncing with desktop and enhancements to text messaging as well in addition to the much coveted notification center.