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GDR

Reports of the Windows Phone Amber and GDR2 updates continue to roll in from various parts of the globe.

The latest updates are being reported for the Nokia Lumia 920 in Germany for T-Mobile, unlocked 920's in the United Kingdom, for the Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 in Italy, and the Lumia 920 in Belgium.

Still no sighting on AT&T's update and hopefully that will change shortly.

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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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It was only last week where we learned about so-called “GDR” or “General Distribution Releases”, which are to be minor OS updates for Windows Phone 8. The “Portico” update that started last December was reportedly GDR1 and according to ZDNet, there are at least two others coming this year as well: GDR2 and GDR3. After that is a “major” OS update with “Blue” coming in the holiday season.

We have now found the new firmware that is in testing on Nokia’s Navifirm servers and it is coincidentally labeled “GDR2 Beta 2”. Since we don’t believe that is by mistake it seems evident that this is actually not just a firmware update but also and OS-level update delivering new features, including the ability to clean temporary storage, improved camera performance and giving users control over their display color profile.

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With yesterday’s alleged leak of HTC’s next Windows Phone, one of its eyebrow raising aspects was the use of “GDR2” when identifying the OS. The term was new nomenclature for those who follow Microsoft’s update cycles and product code names. Now, ZDNet’s Mary Jo Foley has learnt of its meaning and Paul Thurrott helps put it into focus.

The term GDR2 stands for “General Distribution Release” with the two denoting its sequence. The first GDR was “Portico” (build 10211), which was delivered starting at the end of December by Nokia (AT&T Lumia 920) and continuing within the last few weeks for the Lumia 810, 820 and HTC 8X devices on various carriers.

The big picture of these new updates is something we spoke about on the last podcast: there will be more frequent but smaller OS updates on Windows Phone 8 over the next 8-12 months before “Blue” is released.

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