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New features for Windows Phone 8 GDR3 reportedly revealed; due in the coming months

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.

Source: Reddit, The Verge

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Reader comments

New features for Windows Phone 8 GDR3 reportedly revealed; due in the coming months

317 Comments

I would suggest there will be another 41MPx device, just not in the same formfactor, It's more likely to see the next <5inch phone with 41MPx at MWC 2014

I doubt there'll be another 41MP Lumia this year just because it'll be expensive and end up being another niche device especially when coupled with things like quad core processor and 1080p display. My guess is we'll see one next year during WP 8.1 launch. But I guess we'll just have to wait and see.

Agreed, I think 5in+ screen and 41MP is too expensive at the moment for anyone to buy it. Nokia don't often release 'all-in-one' flagships because the market for them is quite low vs releasing flagships that specialise in a particular area.

The  device can have 5 inch but size should not be beyond 1020 for a 41 mp device dude...we also need the device without bump,it should have 920 shape

The Samsung Galaxy Note 3 is coming soon, as is the HTC One Max. LG just announced the G2, which is not exactly phablet, but it still has a large display at 5.2". All of these phones will be available to purchase later this year, but Nokia's phablet probably won't come around until early next year. I'm going to wait for Nokia's phablet  :)
 
But if you can't wait then I would say go with the HTC One Max (if you can deal with Touchwiz I guess the Note 3 would be good too).

They forgot to mention, that nokia will release the Diamond update on top of that gdr 3 , to make the world a better place lol

I have a feeling those of us on AT&T will get GDR2 with GDR3 as a lump update instead of two separate occasions.

Nokia has pushed out setting updates that rely on GDR2 and/or Amber recently. It would seem they are expecting carriers to deliver GDR2 with Amber in the near future.

I have a feeling that if you want to see GDR3 and further, you'll likely have to buy a new device, particularly on AT&T or Verizon.

I don't think current devices will be locked out of GDR3, but certainly a lot of features will be unnaccesible.

I doubt that even the supposed big feature update next year, 8.1, will be available to all devices.  By next year, the carrier, be it AT&T or Verizon, will want you purchasing another phone and re-upping a contract.
Microsoft has no control over that, unlike Apple who can push an update out via iTunes.

The carriers are certainly a problem, but you are over exagerating it and not taking into account the history of WP itself.  The 8.1 update can most closely be compared to Mango, and Mango was delivered to ALL devices, and pretty quickly as well.  When it came to WP8, MS took a lot of flak for not delivering the update to WP7's, especially the Lumia 900.  MS has already stated all new phones get updates for at least 1.5 years or something, and I'm sure they wouldn't want the bad press of there being WP8 not getting upgraded to 8.1.

What you mean is that the 8.1 update will be made available to ALL WP8 devices but AT&T or Verizon will probably withhold it because they would rather you purchase a brand new phone with 8.1 in it. Just like Mango which was made available for ALL WP7 handsets but some carriers decided to withhold it from their devices.

It is not really an issue of 'getting' or 'not getting' the GDR updates.  These updates are mostly to enable hardware support for more devices.  GDR2 will be fun for the L920 because it will enable the FM radio... but outside of that the GDR2 update simply does not do anything for users of the L920.  However, a phone like the 1020 simply could not exist without the changes that came with GDR2, so in that sense it is extremely important because it grows the overall ecosystem.  GDR3 will bring some neat little goodies like orientation lock to existing users, but the bigger deal is that it will open up the ability to have larger 1080p screens, more modern CPU/GPUs, and possibly even quad core devices.
The bigger deal for Nokia users is that Nokia has been adding their own updates on top of these hardware enabling updates.  Amber brings things like pro cam software, a camera firmware update, stereo audio recording, flip to silence, double tap to unlock, the persistent clock, more screen/color settings, and a bunch of other little fixes throughout.  This is a much bigger deal than anything MS is throwing our way.  With GDR3 there will be a new round of goodies that Nokia will release which will have a much bigger impact on existing devices than anything that MS is working on at the moment.

I think that the nice thing is that with GDR3 MS will finally be mostly caught up on hardware support, which means that with WP8.1 (which most existing WP8 devices should get) will hopefully be the beginning of adding features, and changing some of the idiosyncrasies of the WP platform.  We will also hopefully start to see more integration between various Windows 8 devices which could be very interesting.

That is the main feature I want, but I see AT&T blocking this as they could sell you Smartlimits for $5/month

Picked up an AT&T 520 for my daughter and it has the amber update. When Nokia rolled out the extras and display updates the other day it came with the call/sms reject feature. It works very well and my wife and I are looking forward to having it on our 920s.

Me too, also I hope BT gets better. My car's BT can't play music without stopping and sometimes crashing the phone.

It's not what GDR 2 will bring to L920, but what the Amber update will enable on Nokia phones.  Glance and flip to silence will also be enabled.  So even tho the L920 doesn't have the upgraded hardware (quad core/1080), we will be getting some good usable features.

In Europe at least the timeframe for Amber was Calendar Week 33 to 40 (depending on carrier among other things). I would guess the timeframe to be similar for Nokia around the world, including AT&T. Given that AT&T were the first to roll out GDR1 to Nokia handsets it wouldn't surprise me to see GDR2 arrive there rather sooner than later.

That was sarcasm. I'm not impressed with these gdr updates and the addition of features. Not expecting nothing big but they could put a little candy in there to keep the masses (me) happy.

What is this mythical GDR2 update of which you speak? Those of us in HTC 8X land are unaware of any updates at all... :-P

Any word if the 3 tiles per row will come to current 720p devices, or is it just for 1080p "phablets"?  Would be nice if it were a settings option so that users can decide how crowded they want their home screen.

I agree way back when they talked about this on WPC they had a upright pic as well and it looked nice on my 8X. I bet it would look even better on my 928

that alone makes the whole update worth it for me :) been waiting for this small feature since...November 2012

So bizarre that Daniel specifically calls out orientation lock as a "need for new hardware that offers very little for existing hardware." Whaaaaaaa? Users have been begging for it for 3 years!!!

Which phones will be able to have 3 medium sized tiles in a row? I suppose it will depend on screen size?

I don't think any existing phone will support this, it will come with new hardware that has higher resolution screens. That's one reason I'm resisting the 1020, will wait for a "1025" with a bigger and higher res screen. I hope that comes this holiday season and not next year with Blue.

Same here man but I saw someone comment on WP central on a different article that the update will come out around August 20th.

Except for the placement of the emergency call button, some of the settings buttons, and the emoticons (which are absolutely abominable in WP8, this is true. Some of the changes seem to have been made for no reason and with no consideration whatsoever. They're mostly all quite minor at least but I find there isn't the same levek polish as WP7.

WP8 did little beyond what WP7 already could. It even lacked some features that WP7 had. Purely from a consumers point of view, WP8 was not a meaningful update.

God forbid Microsoft should change its stupid policy of not improving the OS fast enough, hoping their current consumers will have endless patience...

Honestly I think WP9 (8.1, Blue, whatever) will be just a bucket of cold stale water, pretty much like 7.8 was.

It's not exactly a policy. They've been battling carriers to get updates moving, and don't have the market share in mobile to influence them.

Then wouldn't it make sense to pack as much as possible into the updates they can get through the carriers? Two updates have come now, that's 2 opportunities to add features but they didn't. That's poor decision making on Microsoft's part, not the carriers.

These updates seem to be driven primarily hardware needs and not necessarily features for current owners. As such... new devices will ship with this update and the rest of it will get it whenever it makes its way through.

But why would that process stop with GDR3, as if somehow the rate of handset hardware innovation will slow just because MS finally catches up with GDR3?

My hopeless hope is that they are working on uniting W8 and WP8 APIs and such, and the new features will be mostly made with the new tools, thus pushing those features to Blue...

As it has been said, it's not the carriers that are responsible for the contents of the updates. They are to blame for the "approval" process that delays things, but they are not to blame for Microsoft's lazy stubborness in refusing to provide bigger and more meaningful updates.

Exactly. "Carriers resist making updates available so we should make updates as worthless as possible.". What kind of sense does that make?

And for those with unlocked unbranded devices? I bought mine direct from Nokia and have not seem MS moving updates.

Microsoft ran out of time last year so they didn't include a notification center with WP 8. Now it may not come until 8.1? Its obvious they were lying back then. They didn't run out time, they simply didn't even have started. 7 extra months since WP8 release is plenty of time to have released a notification center. Why do they think Nokia has all the time in the world? Microsoft will have a big problem if Nokia goes under.

Agreed. They obviously never intended on a notification center until they heard the complaints. If they had, it would already be available, obviously.

Small improvements are welcome but it's interesting that the big improvements/features are always said to be coming in WP8.1/Blue. I'd expect to see quite a large list of new features. I sure hope they deliver!

Yeah well, I suspect the 8.1 will be just another disappointment in the row of disappointing "updates" to WP. Accompanied by more BS about "great stuff happening in the future".
Why the fcuk are we supposed to even know about what amounts to device drivers to new phones (GDR2, GDR3)? This is stuff that should happen out-of-band all the time, not hyped up to be the saviour of the WP ecosystem. Compare it to the latest point release of Android: how many over-excited announcements of device drivers were there compared to actual features?

The text messaging via tablets is nice, the palm touchpad had that and its a no-brainer feature I think. I'm a big fan of the old school profiles for car, work and home, which sounds a lot like that car setting feature.

Text Message sync means they got it. One ecosystem to rule them all. It might be 8.2 before fully realized but its coming.

I hope all the carriers jump the GDR3 and not bring these to existing WPs. Why? This only will delay the WP8 Blue test for they!
I think that if they don't test the GDR3 they will test and approve Blue faster.
I don't want to receive Blue in the middle of 2014.

You'll receive Blue in the middle of 2014 regardless of carriers jumping GDR3 or not. Microsoft will not release Blue any faster just because carriers have jumped GDR3. Microsoft will not release Blue for approval before everyone gets GDR3. And carriers will also have to "approve" Blue anyway. . So...the only think Microsoft has to do is stop being lazy and start to pack GDR3 with more features (note that they still haven't addresses A SINGLE top feature on their uservoice) and start releasing updates faster.

I agree... Orientation lock is a big user voice request. It's split across like 8 topics there so it may not show at the top of the list though.

We'll all have to buy new pants then, too, with gigantic raver pockets, because the phone will be a foot tall with two inches of camera lens sticking out of the back!

If you already have WP8, then there would be no need to buy another phone because the upgrade will also come to your phone!

Great. I will be able to see SMS on my phone then. But, will it also enable the phone to send SMS?

Hey, what does 3 medium tile size mean? I don't catch that.

Well, I understand that, though it's just a mockup image by another Windows Phone fan. Thanks for informing anyway.

Orientation lock!!!! Score! I hope someone can find a way to make it work with current devices. This is a huge "feature" for me, personally.

Me too!! I think for All of us (WP users) .. Now Microsoft felt the need to add Orientation lock? I wonder who the tester is :/

Yeah, me too! With that feature coming up, I can wait for longer.
But, hey, where they got the need of users about locking the orientation?

Another +1 for you. That's the SoC improvements, but it also will give phone the better GPU.

Yes, indeed WP8 can support up to 64 cores, by using NT kernel shared from PC version of Windows, but it still needs to be unlocked by making the driver for SoC based on ARM architecture.

No, it won't be because the vast majority of Androids will still be at quad-core and 1080p screens because that's the point where Android performs at its best. Beyond that is overkill!

People with 512MB of RAM on WP8 only get GDR3 update!

WP8.1 memory base has been raised to 1GB RAM!

I see WP7.8 all over again with GDR3 update.

Dan, do you think they would do a GD2 + GDR3 update at the same time? GDR2 has been ready for some time now, and from what I've read, GDR3 is in testing. I was under the impression, which may be false, that Nokia would be releasing GDR3 devices sometime this Fall\Winter. ATT may be wanting to package the 2 updates? 

These features couldn't be included in gdr2?
I'm grateful we're getting them within these few months anyways though. Other than the other issue my 920 has been nothing but an excitement to use.

Orientation lock is my most desired feature in wp8. I'm generally very happy with the os, and mostly use apps with lock built in, but mail, texting, and most importantly internet explorer can't be locked.

It's useful information for those of us that haven't yet gone to WP8. The 1020 with GDR2 almost made me jump. GDR3 devices might be the ones to finally do it for me.

And don't forget most of the rest of the world!! Remember?? You are not alone so stop acting like you and at&t are the only ones getting left behind and screwed (I'm sure it's right around the corner anyway)

Normally I don't really care about 1080p resolution but I think it's a bit of a fail to bring that so late. If anything, the 1020 would've been the perfect handset to introduce 1080p on Windows Phone.

Well I DO care about a 1080p res screen but not on the 1020 nor on my own 920. The main reason behind this is that to me it becomes interesting when the screen size is 5" or larger since you won't see the diff anyway. PPI is important for me. You can stuff 1080p in a 3.5" screen but it has no added value IMO.

Orientation lock not for current hardware.? Needs superior hardware..? Are they joking..? They do something like that and i am bidding goodbye to WP faster than an aventador can reach 60mph. :-/

Nice car analogy haha.
 
However, that was deifnitely a mistake in their writing's context. Orientation lock will not need new hardware. There's no reason it would haha

I know..!! But such things make me doubt that it wont need the superior hardware. I am no programming god, but i guess it shouldn't be a problem, enabling orientation lock that is. Some of my friends really need it, though i don't care much about it. Still, its a basic feature that's a must have in a smartphone, and saying it'll need beefier hardware is just stupid, implementing that is utterly cruel. :-/
And thanks dude. I am a gear head, so it comes naturally. :P

You know what I find funny ... If you take your newly purchased Lumia 1020 and goto .. Settings .. About and look at the model number .. it says .. NOKIA 909. WHY? HAHA

That's what they planned initially but thought that 1020 would be better for their new naming scheme. 1020 being successor of 808 and all.

That's because they had a decent name planned - Lumia 909 - and they decided to change it to the misleading "1020" (when the phone is little more than a 92x with a 41MP)

Everyone except the people who locked themselves to carriers. You can't get mad, they want to sell you phones as often as they can, that's why they look cheap in the beginning.

You're confused about what "locked to carriers" mean, I think. You can buy a phone without a contract, like I did on T-Mobile with the Lumia 521, and you pay cash upfront - you don't get a discount, and you can cancel the contract anytime. It's not cheaper. The phone is still locked to the carrier for a certain time period (I believe it's 40 days for this phone?), after which you can unlock it. What does that have to do with when T-Mobile will push the GDR2 update?

Does it come as an unbranded phone or as a T-Mobile variant? That's what I meant. Sorry for the wrong choice of words, English is not my native language.

The Lumia 521 is, I believe, a T-Mobile exclusive (it certainly is branded with their logo at least), but I'm not sure. I know it can be unlocked so other carriers' SIM cards can be used on it, but only after a certain period of time.
Are you saying that if I unlock it, I can get the GDR2 update sooner? Honest question, not being facetious... I don't know how these things work, I thought all updates were pushed out by the carrier you happen to be using at the time, no matter if the phone is unlocked or not.

Unlocked phones get their updates through Nokia, in this case, it's Nokia US. Locked phones get specific roms and carriers decide to push an update or just leave it behind completely. Now, I don't know how Nokia does it but in most Android phones, they are almost always left behind with no updates (both by manufacturers and carriers) to force people get a new phone.

Actually change all the "locked" and "unlocked" to "branded" and "unbranded" then we're set. In my defense -again-, I learned English as a second language in high school. ;)

I don't believe that is true, after you unlock your update comes when T-Mobile clears it. Even if your using your phone on another carrier

I think what people outside the US don't understand is that we don't have a choice. Unbranded phones are not available here. Nokia does not sell them direct. All phones in the US are branded, unless you import. But then you pay more, often don't get the right bands for use on our networks, and often get features like internet sharing that don't work.

There is no doubt in my mind that the mobile operators in this country are corrupt and in collusion on pricing.
 
I think unbranded phones is the least of our issues... contracts with outrageous early termination fees would be my first choice to attack.  Then the insane monthly rates for texting and the additional charges for wireless access point usage (even though we have already paid for the data).  They make a habit of breaking out features that cost them nothing to give us and making them separate, expensive options.  Just deplorable.

Right. For example, T-Mobile's WiFi Calling feature, which is awesome. The stranglehold on the consumers is still in place, but T-Mobile's new model is at least a little less carrier-centric than the Big 3, which is why I paid the penalty to AT&T to switch to T-Mobile.

Finally, Thanks a Million!! for Orientation lock feature!!! Very much needed!! :) pls release asap.. also, what did you mean by Hardware changes in orientation lock?

What's that app that has that HTC CLOCK??? I notice that's a Nokia device with a HTC looking clock on the screen.

Yes, maybe I should've worded it different. Is there a app for Nokia's that's similar to the HTC CLOCK APP.

Dudaaaaa...!!! Don't make such an offer. They might kill you as transparent tiles might be too much of a hassle compared to just hiring an assassin. :D :P

And easier dude. Just make a call..give lucktr's ip..and bammm....GAME OVER..!! no more transparent live tile demands..happy Microsoft.. :D

Lol! This forum can no doubt make one man paranoid! Mk, guess I'd take liberty instead....wait! @_@

Can you imagine transparent tiles with diagnol gradient theme color animations every few seconds!! +100

Since I became interested in wp8 I uncover more and more basic features that are still missing. In the past I assumed that orientation lock or landscape view were included from the beginning. Damn, 8.1 can't come soon enought.

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