1080P

By now it seems to be an open secret that Windows Phone 8 will be getting HD 1080P support in GDR3, a small OS update due in November.

That version of the OS is expected to debut on the Nokia Lumia 1520, a device reportedly being announced on October 22nd in Abu Dhabi and later released in the US in early November. Likewise, Verizon Wireless is supposed to get a similar 1080P Windows Phone 8 device dubbed the Lumia 929.

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A new render (left) for Verizon's Lumia 929, a large screened Windows Phone, has leaked matching an earlier photo (right)

Evleaks has posted a render today of Verizon’s next big device, the Lumia 929. Following on their Lumia 928 device, not too much is known about the 929 except that it will be 1080P with a 20MP PureView camera.

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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.

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Windows Phone 8 is reportedly set to go to “full HD” with a 1080x1920 resolution later this year, an update that will come with the GDR3 OS refresh presumably for OEMs.

Now, Justin Angel, who used to work with Microsoft and Nokia, has managed to dig up some emulator files for Windows Phone that coincidentally support that 1080P resolution. The files come by way of Visual Studio 2013, which was previewed at Build last week.

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Update: Our sources tell us that this photo is not accurate and that currently Nokia does not have any 'phablet' plans. Sorry folks!

File this under hopeful thinking, but a new photo of the alleged Nokia ‘Phablet’ (that is, a device small enough to be a phone, but big enough to be a small tablet) has supposedly been revealed. The photo comes from one Dahny el Perro, who attached the photo to a Tweet and which was later posted on the fan site NokiaPhones.fr.

In the photo, we see what looks to be a Lumia-like Cyan device in the background. With the photo zoomed in, it gets very blurry but you can clearly see three rows of Tiles, including the small, medium and double-wide ones we currently have. The difference is of course that added third row, which would be needed for 1080P display that this thing supposedly packs.

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Earlier today we shared with you guys news about Microsoft looking to add more live tiles to Windows Phone. It would allow the interface to look better on displays with larger and higher resolutions, something that Windows Phone 8 currently might not excel at. A reader sent a quick mockup of what that would look like. We figured we’d share it with you all.

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We've already covered rumours of Microsoft looking to add 1080p support for Windows Phone later this year with the GDR3 update (this is all before the anticipated "Blue" update), but now the company may well be addressing the larger real estate issue that will occur with Live Tiles. Should you own a Samsung ATIV S, the three columns of tiles can appear to be rather limited at times, but Mary Jo Foley from ZDNet has learnt that the Windows Phone team is looking at a solution - to add more tiles. 

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In perhaps not a surprising move, Microsoft is expected to add 1080P resolution support for Windows Phone 8 displays later this year with the General Distribution Release (GDR3) software release to OEMs. Currently, Windows Phone can only support up to 768 and 720 resolutions, which while a marked improvement over its predecessor is still far behind Android.

The resolution will reportedly only be for displays 5 inches and greater, allowing OEMs to expand their Windows Phone offerings into the new “phablet” designs like the Samsung Galaxy Note I, II.  That’s also presumably done because supply constraints on manufacturing will also limit initial 1080P displays to certain sizes, though that will change in the future.

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Earlier in the week Bloomberg stated that HTC had scrapped plans for a 5” or higher Windows Phone due to the inability of the OS to scale up to 1080P. Sure, the device could pass muster with 720P or 768P but for a major device like that to hit now or in early 2013 would behind the competition.

Now it’s being reported that Microsoft’s Ballmer met directly with the CEO of HTC, Peter Chou, when he passed through Taiwan recently. In of itself this is not news as the two mega CEOs reportedly exchange emails and meet several times a year. But in this case, the limiting resolution of the Windows Phone 8 and presumably other areas of contention were brought up.

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One step forward and two steps back. Sometimes that old saying can be applied to Microsoft, who despite doing their best to stay ahead is often slightly behind.

Such is the case with Windows Phone 8 and the ability to now have 720P and 763x1280 resolutions. On screens that are 4.7” or smaller, it’s simply stunning and a nice treat to have but its apparent limits may now be its undoing as HTC has reportedly cancelled a new Windows Phone because of it.

The phone, possibly the rumored HTC Zenith, has allegedly been abandoned due to the fact that Windows Phone 8 cannot do 1080P resolution, which would scale nicely on post 4.8” devices. The boundary, something for which Android has no problem with, is said to have been the deciding factor for HTC as anything less than 1080P would not be as competitive.

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