orientation lock

If you’re using Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (Preview), and according to today’s poll many of you are, then you’re probably enjoying the benefits of the new screen rotation orientation lock.

A long sought after feature, albeit minor, is the new setting that allows you to lock the OS in place so that it won’t auto-rotate—great for when lying in bed. In fact, it’s your third favorite feature right behind the preview program and ‘X’ button for closing apps.

There’s just one problem: the orientation lock settings are a pain to get to. If you want to toggle the orientation lock, you need to hop into Settings, scroll down the massive list of choices, find the orientation lock and then toggle it. It’s far from ideal in terms of efficiency. Microsoft could easily fix this by making the setting pinnable to the Start screen for easy access, and hopefully they will for the final release.

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Update 2:30 AM ET: We have secondary confirmation that these images and features are authentic. More information at the end of the article.

Later this year, towards the November time frame, Microsoft is rumored to be releasing Windows Phone 8 General Distribution Release 3 (GDR3) along with alleged new firmware from Nokia named “Bittersweet shimmer” (originally reported by the site Nokiapoweruser). The OS update will once again enable new hardware features like advanced Qualcomm processors and 1080P display resolution, but it will also have numerous enhancements for current devices. The release will coincide with the availability of Nokia’s Lumia 1520 with a 6-inch display.

Tonight, a poster in the Windows Phone Central Forums with the handle xs2k has posted alleged screenshots running Windows Phone 8 OS Build 10484, supposedly taken from a Lumia 920 developer device picked up on Craig’s List.

Windows Phone Central has not been able to verify the authenticity of the screenshots but it does match what our inside sources have revealed to us off the record.

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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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Orientation screen lock for Windows Phone?

We're not sure if these are legit or not but it's not exactly something very far fetched. The idea of adding an orientation lock to phones is a pretty standard one, adding convenience when laying down in bed or if you just don't use your device that way. The method seems simple enough: bring down the volume bar, tap the icon to lock/unlock screen orienation.

These images come reportedly from someone's Facebook page and if real, would be from a newer build of the OS we haven't see yet. On the other hand, they could also be clever concepts, so take 'em with a grain of salt because we probably won't see this anytime soon.  Cool idea though.

Thanks, anonymous, for the tip!

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