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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

Haha no kidding. It's like, every single tidbit about GDRx is followed by "but that will likely be in 8.1". Get ready for disappointment in 2014, guys :D

Windows Phone 8.1 is going to destroy iOS 7 & Android 5 ...!
-Window Phone 8 overtook BlackBerry 10 @5% as #3 (2013)
-Window Phone 8.1 will overtake iOS 7 @10% as #2 (2014)

I REALLY hope Orientation Lock is easy to enable/disable. I'd hate if MS made this a setting or something. If it was a simple gesture, or something simple like double tapping the home button.. Then I might use it.

Orientation Lock! Sweet Jesus, thank you!
Only a genius like Steve Jobs can be so demented to actually think automatic screen rotation is a good thing.
I'm sorry, but it drives me nuts.

From a usability standpoint they can also just lock the orientation when a keyboard is pulled up. That might even be a better implementation of orientation lock.

I actually like the cadence Microsoft is establishing with Windows Phone. A major annual update with lots of new features punctuated by two or three smaller updates to support new phones throughout the year.

I honestly don't feel the need to compare Windows Phone against Android or iOS. They are three completely different platforms. Yes, Android and iOS are more mature, but Windows Phone is maturing in its own way instead of slavishly trying to "catch up" to the other two. I'm fine with this.

I love my Lumia 920, and I'm staying with Windows Phone for as long as it stays viable.

Removing the carriers from the update process should be done sooner than later. This is one solution to get consumers happy.

Totally agree with you. But... consumers happy? Are they with this goal? Seriously???? It is a bad joke this thing of Amber that never comes...

They do that, every carrier will just refuse point blank to stock the phone in both the USA and UK at least. As well as systematically brick every windows phone on their network. And they can because of the limited influence WP has on carriers.

May not be important to you but to me, it is very important! I want Orientation LocK! I want Driver Mode! I also want the ability to close apps from the Multi Tasking Window! Above all, I want a 1080p screen because my next phone will be WP8 phablet! So yeah, it's important to me!

I don't think they will. The additional 3rd row medium tiles will be implemented in the big screen formats or phablets.

I'd geez. Why they even bother throwing this out there when most don't have GDR2 and won't have it for God knows how long is beyond me. I really wish something could be done to get updates out in a timely manner

Any predictions on how Sprint might handle these updates? I'm picking up the Ativ S Neo and I'm hoping that I'll see some of the GDR's as well as Blue next year.

Nokia isnt announcing their flagship yet of the 9xx series and elop mentioned they are announcing it fall so maybe september or october.

Many are receiveing GDR2???? Where??? In Mars??? Nokia still ignores everyone and postpone for ever GDR2 update worldwide. A thing that should be simple and quick is Always made with suffer. This is boring and bad. When Nokia will learn it? When Amber will be released massively, widely? Stop this complications Nokia!!! Make us proud of our option!

I agree with you, I don't know what goes on in the background, but a Lumia with no carrier binding should get the update the day it is released no matter what region you are in. I hate it when I see big companies like Nokia & MS bend over for carriers, the only person who is getting frustrated is the end user, and the phone companies reputation.

The only update worth waiting for in my opinion is the Blue, all others are useless and functionalities that doesn't change the WP experience to the next level that we are waiting for. I am excited for the Blue, and I believe that it will support all WP8 phones since it is an 8.1.

Although alluded to in the article (and others), part of the other 'behind the scenes' changes in the GDRx updates is in the inclusion of new APIs which allow the vendors (e.g. Nokia) to provide new functionality/apps for the users.
Recently notable was the SMS/Call blocking app that Nokia added to Lumia's Settings menu, which was apparently possible due to new APIs added in GDR2.  We've long noted MS not providing programmer access to certain parts of the WP environment, so seeing this 'loosening of the grip' is great news for the app developers and in turn, the app consumers (you and me).
With GDR2 and 3, we should start seeing many more of the utilities apps we've been looking for.

I'm sorry but that screen in the image for the article looks like a busy mess.  I do not want to deal with a mosaic of icons every time I unlock my phone.  THAT IS TOO MANY ICONS.
 
To the photo's defense though, I do realize that it's a leaked photo and that might not be what the final situation is...

So it's a sure thing that a 1080p WP screen will look like that?  If so, I'm even more annoyed.  I thought it was just a preliminary type, testing image and not a final product.  "Leaked"  "Preliminary"  "Initial design"...whatever you wanna call it, no need to be pedantic.

"Mock up" or "leaked" means basically the same thing.  It's unofficial and may not be representative of the final product.  But anyway... it's an ugly mock up and if it misrepresents GDR3, maybe it shouldn't be used as the headline image for the article.

No, on this instance it does not mean the same thing.
If it were 'leaked', then it would have came from an official source and would have been at least considered at one time or another.
A 'mock up' could have came from anyone and means nothing.

Jeezus, ok I should've said "mock up".  I am heartfully sorry.  That is not my point.  Majorly pedantic commentary here.  My point is that I really hope a 1080p WP screen will not look like that image because I do not like the idea of having that many icons on one screen and I also think it is ugly. That is my opinion.  The end.

I think it's ugly too. I mentioned that it's a mock up hoping that Microsoft might actually come up with something more clever than this. So we're actually on the same page here.

What, is pedantic your word of the day?
The only thing "pedantic" here is your failure to understand basic words and concepts.

Yeah I did actually learn it yesterday.  Good call.  <----No sarcasm there...I did actually learn it yesterday and you called it correctly.  But yeah, what concept have I failed to understand?  And yes, your initial reply to me was pedantic.  Comparing "mock up" and "leaked" photo as a correction to me?  Whether the photo was a mock up or leak was beside my point and you were just correcting for the sake of correcting.  It doesn't matter if a photo is a leak or a mock up, either way it is unofficial and can't be trusted as an infallible representation of a final tech product.

You sure are confused, and despite my attempts at informing you, it seems hopeless.
Good luck on your next word of the day!

I love ppl that choose to distract from making real points by arguing semantics. Btw, over usage of commas is a proven sign of inferiority complex. Just so we can both be "informing" each other...

Why does every comment section on any article about pending upgrades devolve into whining about how this company or that company does care about us? May as well declare everything is bad, crawl under a rock and die, people. I'm naturally grumpy, and you're all bringing me down.

Yeah, maybe these morons will educate themselves this time and we won't spend from now until GDR3 listening to people complain about how long its taking.

The whole point of a comment board is for people to post comments on how they feel about an article. If Microsoft is doing something cool with WP, I will be the first to be all excited and give props. If they are doing something I don't like I will express that too. They need to know how we feel, dude! But, I do feel you though when people ignorantly complain about things that could never be solved or that aren't Microsoft's fault.

The vocal majority here are usually just so wrong about everything they say, it makes it really annoying.
Many people read comments to find out more about a subject or help them form an opinion. Unfortunately, if you read many of the threads here, you'll come away with the wrong picture... ultimately, that's bad for Windows Phone.

If you read a comment board for any other reason than to absorb opinions of general public then you are using the internet wrong.  Emphasis on "opinions" there...

I would like screen orientation lock and the ability to close apps from the multitasking screen. 
But first I would like GDR2 for my freaking unlocked 920.

Idk why everyone's complaining about Microsoft's unreliability with updates. In the end, we have to blame the carriers for the slow rollout; not to mention that these gdr's are minor updates, so not many new features are expected.

Everyone is still waiting for GDR2 to roll out let alone GDR3. Saying in a few months for GDR3 means nothing to me.
 
Why MS doesn't roll out upgrades on their own is frustrating to say the least. 

When are we going to get XBox Video in WP8? With no mention of it in 8.1 I'm treating it as a rhetorical question at this point with the answer being "never". It's an embarassing feature gap considering Microsoft's whole "three screens strategy".

We could take bets on the over/under for when each indivudual carrier actually sees the GDR2 update. I'll set the date at August 20 and take the over with AT&T (this seems to be a nice concensus date being bantied about).

From what I read and understand Vinc, no!  Not even the 1020 will support it, which I thought was a crime at first, then realized the screen size was the same as the 920.  With that said, I can't see a 1080p making a huge difference on 4.5 inch screen!  Maybe a 5 inch phone ya!  My htc One was beautiful, but again only 4.7", but again that was a whole different screen in general and it kills the battery!  There are a lot of good articles online stating 1080p is sorta dumb on phones cause of the screen size, plus the drain on the battery.  I only had the Samsung s3 and notes, but many S4 owners state the screen is still not all that!  I played with it in store, its brighter, little more crisp, but nothing mind blowing, Samsung really overhyped that crap phone imo! and yes its crap! My S3 and Note 1 and 2 would always start to lag after a few months!   Either way I wouldn't loose sleep over it.  Just my imo though and some info I read.  Hope it helps!

Samsung ATIV S has missing hardware so no Bluetooth v4/FM Radio.

ATIV S has Bluetooth 3.0 +HS support with GDR2!

And "Data Sense" and "Fixed Other Memory problem!" My other is less then 2GB now!

IE10 a bit faster! Can't wait to see IE11 with WP8.1

All "icing on the cake" features for me! Will be awesome if the L925 I will be getting will get all these features! I will hold out longer if there is a chance they will start shipping the L925's to restock with both of these updates. After that I will be looking forward to a phablet in the future. Like someone else said, I hope T-Mobile will get the/a WP phablet so I can us JUMP! to get it. Excited to see so many official apps and updates coming!!! WP is growing!!!...even if it is slower than most people on here want or say it should! I think it's growing at a good rate. Like I always say, good things come to those who wait!

Damn I just want the clock and a notification center, just let me swipe down!  Just  like the iphone and android...super easy! Whats the hold up! Either way, I can't bi*ch!  I think we are slowly getting to the point of.....what else is there we can throw on a phone?  Huge screen? Done!  1080p? Done!  Excellent point and shoot camera? Done!  I am a huge phone junky, never got into the fanboy crap, but love Nokia!!  Always solid, plus I love the tiles!!  Android got old and apples phones are too small for a 6'3 guy!  I love the 1020, I just want a few more apps, a nice tile clock that works! and a better notification menu.  I guess the lock screen is good, but I would never use it, just my opinion and two cents.  Sorry for rambling!

You aren't rambling, and you are free to bitch as much as you'd like... you are the consumer! I also love Nokia's build quality and innovative photography features, but small stuff like no separate volume controls and no notification center get annoying. It's gotta be a great phone on top of a great camera, right?

True thanks!!!  Crap forgot about the volume controls!!!  At least my bluetooth volume never changes for my music!! That and improve PLEASE I.E.!!!!!!  I hate the back button!! 

The handset in the photo looks like a Lumia 920 am I correct? I hope I am, I only got my 920 a couple of months ago. I wouldn't like to miss out due to Nokia going mental with new handsets and crappy network carriers either not stocking the new handsets or being stupidly slow. I've been hearing more and more that the 9 month old Lumia 920 is now classed as old. Will the 920 get GDR3 or is 2 the end?

The pic just seems to be a photoshopped lumia....who knows....but I know your pain!  I hate buying a phone and then boom!  A new phone is released, and the updates we or you want aren't available to your phone!  I think the 920 will still get the GDR3, its their best selling phone still, I assume at least, and they (nokia) know that the general public is not going to jump from phone to phone!  The main reason I left android was I would buy a new phone, first day of release, top of the line specs, worked great, then boom! another phone was released by same company, or the carry wouldn't put my phone on the list for certain updates from google, and if it did Att took forever then to approve it!  At least with W8 your set for the time.  Hell I have the 1020, and its really just the 920 with a slightly brighter screen and better camera.

Cheers man. Yeah if i was an avid photographer I'd have jumped on the 1020 band wagon. But I'm happy with my 920. Gotta be, stuck with it now til 2015!

Excellent, stuck with my 920 til 2015 anyways. Would have gone for the 925 but EE the uks biggest network are rather slow at stocking it haha

Maybe folks know this, but I'm pretty new to WP8.
I am assuming that the 3 tiles across means, only if you're on an HD screen that can support the resolution to do 3 tiles across?  Or will non-HD screens also get this feature? (ie, are they shrinking the tile sizes to make it fit?)

Thats suppose to be a mock up, I heard it was what maybe their phablet would be, or maybe its just lumia, who knows, I would think that three icons across would work on any lumia, its just making a few slight changes. I can't see the icons getting any smaller on the current models, but ya never know! I try not to read about update rumors, they drive me nuts! Ya never know whats going to happen

Thanks!  
I have a few days left before I can return my HTC 8XT in the 14 day window, and I'm thinking that maybe the HD screen on the ATIV-S Neo would buy me extra real estate with the added feature, where the lower res screen on the 8XT wouldn't...
(Even though I love the 8XT...maybe Sammy is a better long term option.)

Good god - return it before its too late! I've never had a HTC which didn't prematurely break for some silly reason. My friend had the very similar 8S - it fell a mere one foot to the ground and the entire screen shattered (it is gorilla glass but it is incredibly thin to the point of flimsiness).
Get a Nokia (a phone actually solidly built) - any really- before youre stuck with it :P

I think the 6 tiles across is for 1080p display's as a feature of GDR3 update along with MSM8974 Snapdragon 800 support!

A 5" screen, quad core, 2gb ram, 1080p res and a 41mp camera,with a maximum thickness of 8mm that's the recipe for a beast Nokia windows phone 8,1 flagship device ;) ohh and a 3000mah battery

I'm tired of waiting for updates that will bring WP features the other platforms have had for some time. I know Microsoft and especially Nokia are working hard to bring it up to speed, but only having notifications featured on the lock screen? Navigation thay only seems to keep running in the background 50% of the time? The little things like that are building up to the point where even the amazing low light capabilities of the L920 can't make up for it. Being a functional phone is still my main priority over great photos. I own devices from the three top platforms, and WP is at risk of no longer being my daily driver... or the next device I purchase. When I jumped into WP8 I thought the update environment would more closely follow that of iOS than that of Android... I was sadly mistaken. I know there's lots to love in WP, and plenty of problems to be found on the other OS's in their own right, but I'm just voicing a portion of my concerns as a consumer.

I am growing annoyed at a lack of release/update calendar.. I find this news annoying as I still have no clear timeframe for GDR2 on my unlocked/unbranded 920 in Aus!

Any word or is it possible with an app to make folders?  Like instead of pinning all my camera apps, I just click my "Camera" folder tile??  That would be nice!

me parece tan poco las caracteristicas de las proximas actualizaciones. Ni la 8.1 da una solucion a todas las carencias del os

Wouldn't stating 'An extra column' or 'A 3rd column' be a lot less convoluted to say over  '3 medium tiles in a row'?
 
Also... everyone 'tired of waiting' for updates... really?  Is this your first smartphone?  I don't care what you've had before... be it iOS, Android, Palm, Blackberry or even WinMo... these WP8 updates aren't taking any longer than any other has or ever will.

Pretty happy to hear of a built-in orientation lock finally coming.
But will they add the ellipsis symbol to the keyboard??? (like iOS does when you long-press on ".").  This rather bugs me, especially when trying to save valuable characters on Twitter or SMS's… and I like using "…"… 8)  #justMe

No Unification Center ? Ugh... come on Microsoft. They better have good stylus support app for the phabets otherwise they won't stand a chance against the galaxy note.

-quote-
TechieFan
the L920 doesn't have upgraded hardware (quad core/1080)
-quote-

920's screen is capable of 1080p ;)

Everyone in August 2013 will get GDR2 update for WP8!
November 2013 Everyone gets GDR3 update for WP8!
February 2014 1GB & 2GB RAM WP8 devices get WP8.1 update!

Still waiting for WP8 to have the capabilities of Android feature of storing "Apps" on to the microSD Card.   

Ability to have 3 medium sized tiles in a row

I hope that feature is usable on 720p phones too! That would be awesome! (on 4.5inch 720p screen you totally could have them at that scale without comprimising much)
Also - not to bang an old drum too much - but more accent colours!!! Come on guys - it really should be less 1990s games console and more like Pantone Colour Charts
 

 I don't like Note 2 design, but the killer feature in it is the s-pen. If Nokia Phablet comes penless that will be a disadvantage. 1080p is just marketing. You hardly notice the difference in 42'' tv screen, its not whats missing from cellphones. I would take 720p and stronger performance over 1080p anyday. Thats why lg optimus g is better than xperia z. 

Microsoft should give allow developers access to videos and songs so that we can send videos/songs on WhatsApp and WeChat,etc and personally i need the ability to save contacts on the sim card (this is just ridiculous,every phone can do this except windows phone) ,a brightness slider and wireless syncing like Zune :-D

Driver mode will be great! Hopefully it will encourage stupid drivers, that were smart enough to get a windows phone, to stop texting while driving!

So this isn't really an update that I will notice that much on my 810.  It will be an update for the benefit of newer devices.  I can understand MS tactics in this case.  By controlling the chipsets they are not able to have the most up to date hardware, but they allow for a very optimized experience with the current hardware they do have.  Anyway... Dammit TMO... give me my GDR2! 

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.

All we need is that notification centre. It could be a simple "swipe to the right" from the live tiles screen. Plus we need full control of the "Other" Storage. Then we can have some of those new upcoming features from W8 like; the moving background of the start screen, or the guesture unlocking screen thing! 

The screen looks like a mess just like on my desktop with all these icons so close together. It sometimes takes forever to find what I am looking for.  Suggestions to MS
1. Folders - we can hide away our small tiles in a neat little folder
2. Multiple page options with ability to add titles - (Pin to page 1, pin to page 2 with max 5 or so pages) Everytime I scroll it  should automatically stop at each page rather than a continuous scroll. This will make is a lot easy to organize and find items.
3. Notification center - Enough said.

 

One thing I have missed from my Pre3/touchpad days was being able to get and reply to my text messages on my touchpad - so the SMS sync would be GREAT!  Already have the surface pro, so bring on the sync.
 
Now if they would just make it more compatible with my car with MS SYNC!

What ever the update it may be it should have a file manager...bluetooth sending of videos...organising gallery into folders...we should be able to see the downloads of internet explorer,received files so we need file manager,flv support of default gallery....

The next 41 mp device can have 5 inch but size should not be beyond 1020 for a 41 mp device...we also need the device without bump,it should have 920 shape...we dont mind if its slightly bulkier

we need a 41 mp device with 920 design and bump free..5 inch screen but device size shoul dnot exeed 1020 size,a file manager...a gallery that can be well organised

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