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Screenshots of Windows Phone 8 GDR3 and Nokia’s Bittersweet Shimmer surface

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.

Supposed screenshots of Windows Phone 8 GDR3 and Bittersweet Shimmer

The device appears to be a Lumia 920 with firmware based from India and there are four screenshots posted so far, including the one used in the lead simulated photo (note: that is not the actual alleged device). The four screenshots include Extras + Info (two pages of information), multi-tasking window and screen orientation lock.

System settings in GDR3, including Screen Rotation, Driving and About

In regards to the multitasking window, it is now evident that users would be able to close out applications by tapping a visible ‘X’ in the upper right hand corner. In addition, the app’s name and icon are listed below. We have heard from our sources that the app’s icon will be added to the multitasking window in addition to the ‘X’, lending credence to the authenticity of those screenshots. To further the story, we have also heard that GDR3 is going out to "trusted Microsoft sources", hinting that the release is nearing completion as far as development.

The fourth and final capture is that of the orientation screen lock where users will be able to toggle a switch to disable auto rotation.  Some of these features, including screen orientation lock, were revealed earlier in August on Reddit and later confirmed by the Verge.

GDR3 Driving

GDR3 Driving mode

The person who posted the images to our forums, xs2k, has also mentioned the Driver Mode and silent NFC (no confirmation message) as being present, though a screenshot was not provided at the time. However, more screenshots are expected to posted relatively soon in the same forum thread.

Update 2:30 AM ET: Windows Phone Central has learned of some additional features found in GDR3 through an additional source, unrelated to xs2k, that can be found below:

Additional Features in GDR3

  • Custom sounds for text, voice mail, e-mail, and reminders
  • Restore over Wi-Fi when you reset your phone
  • Huge amount of work on Bluetooth with various vehicles and devices

Update 3 AM ET: More screenshots, including Driving Mode posted

Source: Windows Phone Central Forums; Thanks, John, for the tip

Daniel Rubino
Executive Editor

Daniel Rubino is the Executive Editor of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been covering Microsoft here since 2007, back when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and arguing with people on the internet.

  • Screen rotation lock... And it only took them 2 years. Who is in charge of WP division?
  • The same person that's in charge of the same group that brought you the amazing Windows Phone. Chill.
  • Not sure where you get 2 years's 1 year coming up...
    However, I get your point...I personally don't care about that feature but others like closing programs in multi-task window and a notification centre would be awesome.
    I personally believe the delays are because WP "blue" is the start of melding WIN 8 RT with WP8
  • You shoould know the existence of WP7 was 2 years back. They are suffering till now.
  • Eh, 3 years
  • +1
  • +1020
  • You will start caring about the feature if you use the phone a lot in bed :P
  • No. I'm a wp developer and I want those features to serve my users including you.
  • I meant rotation lock, and i replied to lipper
  • ohh well. my bad. (smoking weed).
  • 420.....
  • If you were a developer, you would implement a way to disable orientation change in your apps...
  • .
  • +920
  • +420, FTFY
  • Uh in bed??? They'd probably want a toggle for vibrate on/off
  • Really do hope so, maybe even merging stores? 
  • you knew the limitations of the OS, if you didnt... you shoudl have checked them before getting windows phone and then maybe you wouldnt be complaining about all the features that are missing. you know none forced you to buy the phone.
    why didnt you get another OS that had rotation lock already? oh yeah, you just want to complain.
  • HE just wants to complain? He points out the legitimate point that Windows Phone takes longer than it ideally would to bring basic features to the OS, but you are the one who comes in and speaks so rudely and agrily at people over the slightest dissention from the idea that the OS is perfection and shouldn't be spoken poorly of.
  • It is one thing to complain about a feature that is missing for a while. It is another to act like a spoilt child and complain even when the feature is added. I hate people like that. It is obvious that Microsoft has been busy with making gdr2 and gdr3 that is mostly to enable new hardware and capture new users. From blue onwards it will be about new features 100%. Stop bitching and just be glad that you are getting some new features even before blue.
  • They only take a a while to add features because they are first making Windows Phone compatible with a much wider variety of hardware first so they can better compete with android and also meet a better market. After GDR3, they will be pumping out updates much more quickly, but these will be feature updates. Do a quick search and you can find easily this is their plan. And also bring with windows phone for me means that yes, its an awesome system, but does need polishing, but the potential of the system makes it so mu h more awesome. Things take time. There's tons of work to do begins the scenes. Don't freak, just chill and enjoy a solid phone
  • Why would customers care about that? If people bought WP on the (still unfulfilled) promise of good Skype integration, as one of many examples, I think it's pretty sheep-like to care about MS's device rollout plan.
    Care about the product, and you will get a better product.
  • pfft... please just shut up and if you can disappear do it, I blocked you in forum for a reason (many), you are annoying, ignorant, and not really smart. do the same in comment section "please". it was the point not to read your "intelligence" right?
    god... why cant a person stay ignored from forum in comment section as well? (maybe i should complain about WPcentral like people do about win8 and the "disconnection" between some features lol)
    But hey, I guess is it not complaining (for special people like you) saying "And it only took them 2 years (ehmm even though WP8 its only 1 year old anyway). Who is in charge of WP division?"? lol please... yeah, right, its not complaining /s
    they are adding the damn feature, which not everyone needed, and it wasnt high priority and it didnt make the OS unusable not to have it. (and still they are adding this feature first than other more important fixes and features WP8 needs)
    whats next, complain about every big or small feature because it wasnt from release of WP8, and then ask who is in charge of WP division only because YOU wanted a future and it wasnt priority for the OS and not every feature can be added at once? its obvious WP dont have some features compared to iOS or android, and other OS, if you cant deal with how "slow WP team is" and their priorities only because it doesnt have features you may want right now, then there are other alternative, and thats not a secret. often we dont get what we want at the rate we want, thats how life works, if you dont like that, again, its not a secret there is iOS and Android that are apparently fast to add features :)  
  • could you try to write in english so everone can share your wisdom?
  • But we want WP. We see it as the only option. Were fans. We will always expect more.
  • think of this in another way...
    If MS had really worked up lighnting fast, lagdroid would have gotten a serious blow, the Galaxy would be R.I.P and m not sure about Apple, guess it would still stick around.
    MS slowed down to let Android survive to actually give it a challenge. Not just get knockout in the first round.
    Believe me in this way, I think that this war will be far more interesting. and its Android vs Microsoft, not Apple, I think WP8 will surpass iOS in few years.
    I'm actually thinking of keeping a diary and recording what is happening 
  • This is all wishful thinking, because by the time MS has worked all this out they are already late, I hope the new Nokia developers do something about this and take care of that big backlog of critical features that are just lying idle. BTW the Android team is not sitting idle. They churn out features that customers require faster than M$. The war will be intersting if the Nokia team replaces the lazy current Windows team. If Microsft continues to give the replies that our Joe Belfoire gives, and by doing features like changing the size of tiles, customes will show them the middle finger.
    I would like to know the customer satisfaction of customers moving from other platforms to WP8, would it be difficult to get this data from AT&T/Verizone.
  • This is a key observation.  In absolute values (not proportionate ones) Android is growing faster than Windows Phone, is available on more kinds of hardware than Windows Phone, and is widening, not narrowing, the feature gap.
    As Bart Simpson once said, "Let me get this straight. We’re behind the rest of our class and we’re going to catch up to them by going slower than they are?"
  • Bart Simpson said that? That's actually good.
  • Oh sure, If MS changes its strategy after GDR3 (which I'm praying they would) will this Real Time Strategy seem interesting. right now it looks like a Pro player (Google) beat the shit out of the noob (MS).
    I'm so sorry to use such language, but I'm obsessed with this Red Alert 3 :p
    anyways, what I see here is that MS has the upper hand of the name Windows, the platform or ecosystem is complete, they provide a complete gadget need. so its either MS or Apple in the long run. Meanwhile I want MS to move to the fast lane or this WILL be another death for their mobile OS which I do not want. I simply want them to reach 15% market share only so that we have something to talk about besides Apple and Android, and it will also result in better products coming faster due to competition. Win-win for us :)
  • well I never said people dont want WP, I just said if someone needs a feature and it bothers them not to have it in the OS, they could just get some other phone and stop complaining when a feature IS ADDED. not everyone need some features, and only because Microsoft had other priorities (because there can be more important features to be added), its just simply stupid to complain about a feature being added when they are adding it, even if it took 1 year for that (yeah wp8 is 1 year old), and ask something like "who is in charge blabla" like if it was easy to develop a OS, and put priorities and what you can be added, what needs to wait. I mean, its not like the phone was unusable for not having a rotation lock and needed this feature for most people (because everyone suffered from that but it wasn't an important feature for most people).
  • If he is anything like me, such basic features were not even a consideration while researching. Don't get me wrong, I love my L920, and can live with its limitations, but we're far enough in the game that a reasonable person would expect a modern OS to have features like rotation lock and custom notification tones from the start. These things are a huge oversight of Microsoft because the are so basic, and there is really no excuse for their absence up to this point. 
  • Exactly my thoughts. Coming from S^3 it was a rude shock to me to find out that some very basic things were missing in my L920 (WP8) , but I love my phone and Nokia ( :cries: ) so much that I have learnt to live with it.
    I am glad that things are starting to lookup a little
  • Exactly. Couldn't have said it better myself.
  • Idiot. Grade A. You want just leave it as it is do you? Finished is it?
  • Yoda?
  • Maybe because Windows only anounces the good points of the OS that makes people go out and get it only to find out later that it's lacking simple features.
  • Shame on MS for not listing all its fault and advertising it.
    Give me a break.
  • It's our fault for not researching and MS should be excused for not publishing limitations?
    Alrighty then... glad I went back to Android. You people are f'd in the head.
  • You are wrong. In my case, Microsoft forced me to buy their phone. In my university, I had to learn Visual Studio, C#,, Windows etc. In other word, all products belong to Microsoft were used in my university. During the test, or assignment, we were forced to use microsoft product such as Visual Studio to complete the assignment. After I graduated, I need to apply those knowledges in working area and again I have to use Microsoft products (the Windows Phone). Why do I need to waste my time to dig on Android or iOS when I already gained knowledge on Microsoft products? This OS limitation is not only bad for normal users but they are bad for developers too. People are complaining to improve their service and that's not a bad thing.
    You can see some apps publish by developers on the Windows Store have this description: "Please don't leave a bad comment, this is the limitation of the OS not the app". Developers are suffering with this OS. You have seen it.
  • Then you should have enrolled in another school if you don't like using MS products.
    If you are now finished with schooling then just sell them and buy Android/iOS = problem solved!
  • Only after a second year of study, I started to realise that I was being forced to use MS products. It wasn't possible for me quit from the school.
  • If you can do that you can do Java or Objective C. They're not too different; just not as nice languages as C#. If you're going to have a development career you'll be retraining your entire life. I'm currently learning Erlang in my spare time, for example.
  • But then he'd have to learn Objective C or C++ or java. Oh, the horror of an IT person having to learn more after college!
  • Wow, what a stretch... Microsoft made me buy their phone.... Maybe it's not the phone, but the college you should have researched better, to ensure that they had an Android track?
  • Yes, LOL!
  • it's one of the top universities in the country. I did a better research.
  • Obviously it's a top school. They taught MS tech. It sounds, though, like top isn't what you wanted.
  • And he said it look him two years to realize he was being forced to buy MS products - could you imagine that, took two long years to know that.
  • It took so long because today's educational system is so pathetic.
  • +100
  • Well, he did say he was smoking weed.
  • Ah, a bitter student!! I don't mean to belittle you, but you are still learning - the university is sensible to use ms stuff with teaching - most development in the IT world is based around ms products. It is pointless being taught about open office when almost every business uses ms office. Not everyone uses it, and their are other areas you can specialise in later, but if you want a good chance to get a job they are best to teach you the most common stuff. As for missing features harming developers i really haven't found it an issue at all - in fact some features that are missing are missing on purpose, to make the phone right for the average consumer (which almost no one reading this site will be). Some things may seem simple to implement - like close a running app...but what impact does this have on the running apps and keeping backwards compatibility. As a developer you should know that sometimes making what looks to be the mist simple change is actually a nightmare - heck, most of us are only developing little apps, not a full blown OS!!
  • > Ah, a bitter student!!
    Ah, a clueless person!!
    > I don't mean to belittle you, but you are still learning - the university is sensible to use ms stuff with teaching - most development in the IT world is based around ms products.
    It's a good thing at least Microsoft realised that they stopped being the center of the IT industry some time ago. Because if they weren't trying to adapt they'd soon be very shrunk company being stomped on by Google like nothing.
    Anywhoo, schools teaching the use of products instead of the concepts and basics of computer science are crap. Makes me wonder what kind of "top university" that should be...
  • Complaining on a random news site comment section is not going get OS improvements.
  • Actually it will. Microsoft constantly checks sites like this.
  • You poor thing. Forced to use a particular product. It's called life, and the same thing happens in the real world. The fix is a different school/job.
  • Plus1
  • It's not a complaint. I love WP over any other OS. OS is amazing, but it's hard for people to buy WP when it doesn't have features that were present on a 2010 Symbian devices. The problem is that Microsoft made a good OS, but they skipped on such simple, basic features that it is hard for people to love it. If they keep on developing so slowly, WP will never get any significant market share. Microsoft preached their usual BS that buying Nokia would speed up the process, but talk is cheap.
  • I like you
  • Hey, at least we know its coming. :)
  • Who's in charge?
    I don't know, apparently they should hire you. I'm sure you're a master developer/designer.
  • Joe Belfiore's is in charge of the Windows Phone divsion. He's the Corporate VP and Manager of the WP Team. I'm following his twitter for news on WP's development.
  • steve wozniak. sounds like steve wozniak
  • I don't know why do you want it, I prefer the possibility to switch rotation, not locking it, sometimes it's better the horizontal mode than vertical mode, I think that it's an useless feature
  • The feature will give users the OPTION to lock the screen. How is increasing customers options "useless" is beyond my understanding.... and this is the reason why I do not like Apple products....
  • At this point I could care less about new features, fix the damn issue where the Live Tiles stop updating. This has been problem since 2010, it's the main selling feature of the OS and a pain in the ass to fix.
  • The only live tile I have problems with is the ESPN Scorecenter tile. Since its the only one that stops working for me, I got to assume that its app not the phone.
  • I agree with the OP.  This is all just moving way way way to slow.  A year from release of WP8 and only now coming out with GDR2 having minor updates? 
    They've made improvements in productivity because in the past that would have taken 3 years.  But they only went from 1st gear to 2nd while Google is consistently moving in 5th.   They HAVE to start moving faster and stop losing the battles otherwise the whole war could be lost in as little as 5 more years.   
  • This article is about GDR3.
  • Thanks.  I got that.  I was just making a general comment, like many on this thread, about the pace of releasing improvements, enhancements, even bug fixes.  
    We all saw the Comscore numbers yesterday.  Flat growth in the US.   Yay, bring on screen lock feature!  Not going to win that way.   They need MAJOR improvements to this OS just to CATCH UP to Android let alone pass it.  
    I guess I'm a little frustrated because my income depends on people holding and sitting in front of Windows based products.  Sorry if I sound frustrated sometimes. 
  • Actually, the WP "division" is two temps who do a lot of their work from Starbucks on the weekend.
  • I see it a different way. I went from Android (HTC Evo) to WP7 (HTC Titan). Features that I noticed immediately on WP7 that were surprisingly absent on Android were no random phone reboots, no constant app force closes even on built-in features like mail, no gradual OS slow down over time, no need to manage the OS to try and keep it from imploding, and 18 hours of battery life compared to 4 hours on Android. But at least Android had screen lock. Also, I don't understand the volume issue. On my now Lumia 928 I have different volumes for the phone ringer (currently at 15), music while playing through the phone speaker or headset (set to 10) and music while playing through Bluetooth (set to 30).
  • You're the only one who gets it.... As I type this from my shitty Android tablet
  • I think that guys just left Microsoft couple weeks ago. Can't wait 8.1
  • How long did it take other OS's to add it?
  • Ms is the largest software and OS company, and we don't know why they taking so long to update and adding features in wp. Oh god MS keep doing fast.
  • Agree with you, now I just want the Nokia's Device and Services Department can bring us fast updates for the windows phone.
  • i feel the same way about them taking this long to get custom text sounds. 
  • If its rumored to be released around November, wouldn't it have been easier to lump GDR2 + 3?
  • GDR3 isn't ready, and they had to release GDR2 for the 1020's camera to function properly.
  • Thought 1020 shipped with gdr2.
  • Isn't it implied in what he said?
  • I can see your point. Lumping the updates would make sense for phones such as my 820, since GDR2 doesn't really unlock to much for it.
  • First time ive heard someone complain that wp is getting too many updates and too quickly
  • +928,000
  • +920
  • Cool we can be six updates behind with AT&T. They should be legally forced to unlock our phones if they aren't going to upgrade the $800 phone I am paying monthly for. That is like a car manufacturer refusing to w your car for repairs until it is paid off. Some of us have features broken that will be fixed with GDR2 (Many automatic things like podcast downloads. Every Podcast dev you take to say that problem is fixed in GDR2).
  • Let's all file a class action lawsuit against them. That's the only way to stop these companies from doing and getting away with things like this. I'm not a lawsuit kinda guy but it is ridiculous and I am tired of companies shitting on us. And like you said, we pay 600-800 for these phones and then get raped on the monthly contract prices. It would be like buying Madden on the 360, EA releasing an update and MS not allowing us to get that update. Wouldn't go to well for them.
  • While I'm excited, I'm wondering if that November timeline will later translate to "Early 2014" :/
  • No.
  • Well at least in reality it definitely will. Operator locked phones will need their approval and unlocked phones will need to be certified by Microsoft in that region. In all probability this is bound to happen.
  • You sound pretty confident Daniel, and you know much more than I but it seems almost unbelievable that some people will get GDR2 at the end of September and then only a month later get another update.
    Unless you mean that it will be ready to START rolling out in November, in which case I'll just go stand in the corner.
  • LOL you guys are talking of two separate but related things. GDR3 will indeed be ready by November and in fact will be inside the new form factors like the 1520. That's one thing. The other thing is pushing it to existing devices already in the hands of users. That one will probably extend to 2014 - but then again maybe it will not. Time will tell. But If I were a betting man, I'd bet on it extending to 2014.
  • you sounded so sure Dani. elaborate?
  • Well, the first devices will be unlocked in November. Add the normal 30 day window plus the holidays.... January.
  • I'm pretty sure they will be timely with this. Didnt the first rounds of GDR2 start ahead of schedule?