Microsoft takes wraps off new Windows Phone update, developer program

Microsoft takes wraps off new Windows Phone update, developer program

Summary: Microsoft's Windows Phone 8 Update 3 will be arriving on new and existing Windows Phones over the coming weeks and months, while a new dev preview program kicks off immediately.


Microsoft made public on October 14 the list of features that are part of Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (8.0.10512).


Update 3 is the official name for what's been known unofficially as Windows Phone 8 GDR3. Many of the Update 3 features had previously leaked, including the update's support for 1080p HD screens up to five-to-six inches in size; support for Qualcomm's quad-core ARM processor; a new driving mode; an app-switcher option allowing users to quickly close apps; and room for six Live Tiles across (instead of four).

Update 3 also adds the ability to use custom ringtones for more things (like instant messages, email and voice mail); a new rotation-lock option to keep screens locked in either portrait or landscape mode; improved storage-management

Microsoft released Update 3 to manufacturing at the end of September, officials said. It should be available to consumers with new phones with Windows Phone 8 Update 3 preloaded in the next few weeks, and those with existing phones "in the coming months," according to Microsoft execs. Timing is dependent on carriers and handset models, officials said.

Microsoft also launched a new developer preview program for Windows Phone developers on October 14. Though the Softies aren't officially promoting the program this way, the new preview program will provide many of its Windows Phone enthusiasts with a way to get the latest bits without having to be hamstrung by carriers.

The preview program will allow developers to get Windows Phone updates before they are available to consumers. This will allow developers to make sure their apps work on new releases and give them time to get updates to their apps into the Store before consumers get updates to Windows Phone through official channels.

To participate in the dev preview program, users need to have a Dev Center account, an App Studio account, or a dev unlocked (registered) phone.

Microsoft officials said there are no new application programming interfaces being introduced with Windows Phone 8 Update 3, so there won't be a corresponding software development kit for this update. Developers won't have to do anything to get their existing apps to run on the new update. Emulator images for Windows Phone 8 Update 3 aren't going to be available until some time in the next three weeks, officials added.

The next Windows Phone update is expected to be Windows Phone Blue, which I'm still hearing from my sources is due in the spring of 2014. Microsoft officials still aren't confirming this or commenting on anything to do with the Windows Phone OS beyond Update 3.

Topics: Mobility, Microsoft, Mobile OS, Software Development, Windows Phone


Mary Jo has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications and Web sites, and is a frequent guest on radio, TV and podcasts, speaking about all things Microsoft-related. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008).

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  • GDR3

    Hopefully that will finally shut the people up who complained about not being able to become pompous annoying jerks and add loud custom songs as a ringtone.
    Dreyer Smit
    • Customizing the ringtone wasn't the problem.

      It was the alert tones which could not be customized. And it was one thing I disliked about my Windows Phone (as trivial of a thing as it was).
      • Notification/Alert tones

        This is actually more important than it initially sounds.

        My workplace is actually unusual in that we've got a lot of Windows Phones around (all personally owned). As WP doesn't yet allow you to change the alert tones outside of the ones it ships with, it means that everyone has essentially the same set. That means that when the guy you're chatting with gets an email or text message it's difficult to not think that it might be you.

        This has happened to me outside work as well. The more penetration that WP gets, the worse it will be.
        • This doesn't make sense

          This doesn't make sense. We've been able since day one to choose different sounds for ringtone, incoming texts, voicemails and emails. Maybe tell the people in your office they don't have to wait for GDR3 if they're confusing each other. Just get them to look in Settings / Ringtones + Sounds. It'll be like Christmas came early for them.
          • It does make sense

            You're misunderstood. Notice he says "Outside of the ones it ships with", he clearly knows you can change the alerts, but is saying that there is a limited amount of notification sounds compared to ringtones, wherein you have free reign.
        • I could change them.

          I just couldn't use custom ones.
    • Nothing shuts up pompous jerks, theyll just find something else to complain

      about. That aside MS needs to step up the pace. No release between now and spring of 2014 is too long a wait. I'm sure there's plenty of valuable feature goodness they could push out earlier that doesn't require 8.1 underneath to work. They need to get noticeable value add for users out on a quarterly schedule.
      Johnny Vegas
    • Stupid statement....

      "pompous annoying jerks and add loud custom songs as a ringtone."

      How are you a pompus, annoying jerk just because you want to add your own songs as a ringtone?

      I love my Windows phone but I'm sorry, the included sounds are CRAPPY and the ability to replace them for me is huge.

      If you like those stock sounds, great enjoy.. but don't knock people for wanting the ability to customize their phone.
    • Brings a smile to my face

      I love you comment. Still laughing as I write this.
      new gawker
  • Microsoft takes wraps off new Windows Phone update, developer program

    Microsoft Windows Phone is coming along very well. I love this OS. I hope I see more people using the new driving mode feature. Can't tell you how many times I've seen people swerving between lanes because they were doing something on their cell phones. Since I'm on Verizon though its a matter of when I will get to see the update.
    • "I hope I see more people using the new driving mode feature."

      Amen to that, LD! But I'm a bit skeptical that human intelligence has progressed to the point that that will happen. :(
  • What's launching Oct 22nd?

    Yesterday I saved a person from from getting an iphone. All it took was looking at a smoked by windows phone ad, she also thought lumia's only came in black, still don't get how that happened, maybe a best buy robot told her.

    Wireless charging and kids corner was the nail in the iphone coffin for her.
    • launching?

      I don't know if anything is actually launching that day. Nokia is announcing several devices that day.
    • Good job!

      This just goes to show how many people don't do their own research and simply buy what they see other people using or what the sales people like. It's rather frustrating because if everybody made an informed decision Windows phone would have a much higher market share, guaranteed.
    • You saved a person?

      I wasn't aware that God would be checking what phone you are using before letting you past the pearly gates.
    • It's not the iPhone you should be saving from

      If you're a Windows Phone lover, it's the Android devices that you should be saving people from. iPhones are already at a decline, they will decline further with no extra help needed, it's Samsung Galaxies that are conquering the world, don't you see?
  • Great news for developers

    Now developers don't have to wait for carrier updates. Great !
  • Hallelujah!

    Fantastic news! I'm so glad that Microsoft is finally offering the "early-adopter" program, and I do approve of how they're doing it with needing to be "developer registered". It's not only a way of promoting developer interest, but it's good that they're making sure that only serious users willing to accept the warranty risks will sign up for it.
    • Also...

      I like the notification and screen-rotation improvements, but I'm most interested in seeing the Bluetooth and Accessibility improvements. A screen reader option? Might be a good in-car, hands-free option...
  • Why shold it take MONTHS for exisiting WP8 users to get the updates?

    Carriers have way too much control over this process. If I can get updates for my PC directly from Microsoft, shouldn't I also be able to get WP8 updates directly from Microsoft as well?
    M Wagner