Microsoft has officially announced the latest Windows Phone 8 update for the platform, now known as Update 3. The biggest changes in the update include support for 1080p resolution displays and high-end quad-core processor support, as the the current hardware series is limited to WXGA resolution and dual-core processors. Additional features include changes to the Start screen that add more app tiles and additional convenience features, listed below:
Mobile Accessibility Suite for Impaired Users
Mobile Accessibility for Windows Phone 8, which isn’t a single feature but a suite of apps designed to make Windows Phone easier to see, hear, and use. The apps, which include a screen reader, make it easier for blind and visually impaired users to manage calls and contacts, send texts and emails, browse the web, make Skype and Lync calls, and hear notifications like alarms, calendar events, and low-battery warnings.
Improved Hotspot Functionality
In Update 3, we’ve made it easier to use your phone as a data-savvy hotspot for Windows 8.1 devices. Just pair your phone and Windows 8.1 PC or tablet over Bluetooth, tap your network name, and you’ll be connected and ready to go. No need to enter a password or dig out your phone and turn on Internet Sharing—it’s done for you.
Additional features also include a new Drive Mode which emphasizes driving directions and mapping while pushing alerts and other distractions to the background as well as the following additions that were previously missing from previous Windows Phone updates:
- More useful ringtones: With Update 3, you can use custom ringtones for more things—including instant messages, emails, voicemails, and reminders. You can also assign custom ringtones to contacts for text messages, so you’ll know who’s texting you without even looking.
- No more twist and shout: Does your screen keep spinning when you’re trying to read emails in bed? Use the new rotation lock option to keep it fixed in place.
- Better storage management: New storage settings make it easier to free up space on your phone and manage temporary files. A new category view shows what’s taking up space at a glance.
- Easily close apps: Now you can use the App switcher to quickly close apps when you’re finished with them.
- Wi-Fi access out of the box: You can now connect to Wi-Fi during phone set up, so you can start conserving cellular data right out of the box.
- Better Bluetooth: The team made a bunch of improvements to improve connection quality for Bluetooth accessories.
Finally, Microsoft has finally launched its Windows Phone 8 Developer Preview Program to allow registered developers and enthusiasts early access to major updates in order to maintain application functionality and update applications where necessary. More information on the program can be found here.