Unofficial changelog for Windows Phone 8 GDR3 and Bittersweet shimmer begins to complete the picture

News this morning has come out regarding some more changes coming to Windows Phone 8 General Distribution Release 3 and Nokia's Bittersweet shimmer. Most of these features we have been aware of for some time, in fact we re-capped them on Saturday with the Glance screen information, but there are a few new tidbits to give a clearer idea of the big picture.

The info comes by way of Nawzil, who has been posting quite a bit of information regarding Microsoft and Nokia’s plans for the upcoming OS and firmware update. We have heard that GDR3’s features have been briefed by Microsoft with various people recently, so we’re not too surprised to hear information is now coming forward—leaks are leaks.

So what’s new? Let’s take a look.

Windows Phone 8 GDR 3

  • Support for 1080p display for new devices like the Lumia 1520.
  • Support for new processors.
  • 3 medium or 6 small tiles on a row for phones with screen resolution of at least WXGA (1280 x 768) including Lumia 920, 925, 928, 1020 and of course the Lumia 1520.
  • Close apps by tapping on the X on top right in multitasking view. The icon of the app appears below.
  • Custom tones for text or IM, voicemail, email and reminders (confirmed earlier by Windows Phone Central)
  • Screen Rotation lock: When auto-rotate screen is off, your screen will stay in the current orientation when you rotate your phone.
  • Driving Mode: Turns of all notifications except texts and phone calls when you're driving. You can also turn calls and texts off completely or set Driving Mode to text and automatic reply like "Hey, I am driving right now. I'll reply you later." Driving Mode can start automatically when your phone connects to a Bluetooth device.
  • Connect to WiFi in OOBE when switching on your new phone for the first time or after you your reset your phone, so you can restore your data even before connecting to a cellular network.
  • Attach Office files (.doc, .xls, .ppt) and .pdf files in email.

Nokia Bittersweet shimmer firmware

  • Glance Screen: Notifications in glance screen similar to the notifications on the lock screen. Choose from any of the 20 accent colours for night mode instead of just red in Amber. You can choose whether you want to keep the glance screen always on when charging, in Amber it is always on when charging.
  • New apps: Nokia Camera, Storyteller, etc.

If you’ve been following Windows Phone Central closely, most of that should be familiar. What is new is that WXGA (1280 x 768) devices will get new tile sizes, allowing 3 medium or 6 small tiles on a row. Previously it was assumed that only 1080P devices would get that feature, but at least according to Nawzil, current high end devices will also have the option. It’s not clear though how it will all work.

Attach Office files is also new and if accurate, a very welcomed addition. Not being able to attach documents has been a major sore spot for many in enterprise.

The Glance Screen improvements we already knew about but not so much the 20 accent colors for the display—that’s a novel and unique addition.

We should note that this is not a full changelog either for GDR3 and there are presumably other under the hood fixes included as well i.e. a lot of little things that help your everyday experience but aren’t as attention grabbing.

Microsoft and Nokia are expected to detail the new OS version and Bittersweet shimmer firmware later this month in Abu Dhabi.

Source:; Thanks, Devarshi R., for the tip

Daniel Rubino

Daniel Rubino is the Editor-in-chief of Windows Central, head reviewer, podcast co-host, and analyst. He has been here covering Microsoft since 2007 when this site was called WMExperts (and later Windows Phone Central). His interests include Windows, Microsoft Surface, laptops, next-gen computing, and for some reason, watches. Before all this tech stuff, he worked on a Ph.D. in linguistics and ran the projectors at movie theaters, which has done absolutely nothing for his career.

  • Nokia Camera? What's that?
  • Are you the sme guy running the Fan page?
    How do you know that all of this is true? Are you briefed by MS?
    If yes, how is it that we have never seen a lumia 920 running GDR3, with that new tile structure of 6 medium apps. 
    That alone is enough to say most of what is simply a hoax.
    PS: I would love to see all of this true on my Nokia 925.
  • What fan page?
    If you read the above mentioned article about the Nokia Camera app you can know about me.
    You have never seen that? I remember a photo was leaked about a month ago, may be you didn't see. It was also posted by someone in comments below, check it out.
  • what about those six tiles.. current devices don't have a resolution "higher than wxga".. and what about 720p devices.. do you know anything about them??
  • I meant devices with WXGA.
  • Facebook fanpage in the link presented in the article at the end also what about the attaching multiple files to email. Without a proper file explorer that is simply not possible. So i doubt the possibility of this feature since there is no news of having a file explorer in wp8
  • That's a Facebook group, not page. Yes, I am the Admin of that group. That's a good point, hmm.
  • Office Hub lets you select and open files even though the OS has no "proper file explorer".  There's no reason that the file attach interface couldn't work the same way.
  • Actually, it is possible without a file explorer. Namely, the "File Chooser" from Windows 8. If Microsoft brought it over to windows phone, api's and all, it'd be just as good. Especially since, on windows 8, apps can integrate with it, so imagine selecting multiple documents from your dropbox and attaching them in an email.
  • What makes you think that without a file explorer its impossible to attach files to email? it could simply take you to the office hub and let you choose files from there. When you receive the same thing would happen (files will go to the office hub)
  • Hmmm... May be.. I understand you are saying, when we are attaching mail, we will first get an option to choose ppt, doc or photos. If we select photos then gallery, else we will be redirected to office hub. sounds good. Lets see how that gets unfolded. Its a welcome feature voted by me along with ability to have background image for start screen.
  • It's a camera made by Nokia.
  • Lol
  • A downloadable camera which you print.
  • N(SA)okia Camara XD
  • Nokia is a great Camera oem....
  • I guess the new unification of pro camera and smart camera...
  • That's how Nokia will keep an eye on you.
  • Nokia is combing features of two (maybe more?) of it's currently existing camera applications into one app for ease of use.
  • Well, I was late to the party, haha. I opened up the link an hour ago but I only just commented because I had to get some work done. But yeah, see the link above by Nawzil.
  • Yeeesss
  • But, what are they talking about with the new resolution❓ The 920 will support three medium tiles now❔
  • I don't think thats ever going to happen.
  • Well it does say so in the article, mister 
    And the screen itself is large enough, also supports 1080p
  • Its unferstanle that 1520 os getting it. But i was talking about 920 here...
  • Looks like new tile sizes with everything 2/3* the current size. The large tile is replaced by a medium tile, with room for 3 on a row or a medium and a full tile. Someone posted a "dummy" jpeg with the new layout last month in the forums, it works well on the 920. It does make the small tile a bit small, but I think it's worth the trade off to display more tiles.
    * Maybe not 2/3, but probably and I'm too tired to work it out.
  • There's no "new" tile sizes. Just, on WXGA and above devices, the start screen will allow for more tiles per row (in essence, the tiles are "shrunk", however, that word is inaccurate. Its more like on windows 8, where devices with a larger resolution have more room for tiles, and Windows Phone 8 is currently "blowing up" the tiles to fit the screen, and GDR3 will more accurately reflect the display size on the start screen. At least, that's my understanding.)
  • this one
  • It might be a case of 5 row for 720p and a 6 row for 1080p - that would make a fair bit more sense. A 720p 4.5" screen could easily fit a 5th row and still be comfortably large.
  • Does custom tones for text, email, etc mean that I can add a custom tone to my phone that is used for all text messages, or does it mean that I can add custom tones to a contact so that her text messages sound diffferent than text messages from other people?
  • Both
  • "Close apps by tapping on the X on top right in multitasking view"
    this is stupid. Should be swipe down like on Windows 8
  • Agreed.
  • Totally agree.
    Hate x's......looks like Android.....swiping is the way!
  • That email attachment thing is huge.
  • Omg, I didn't even realize we couldn't do that lol... yes this is huge!
  • Yes, but I used SkyDrive for that.
  • Last weekend I found out that too after using WP7 since the begin... luckly I had my PC a few meters away from me.
  • This is a very welcome addition
  • Hi,
    Does it mean we can files and folders now?
  • Yes, finally.  It has always astonished me that a phone with office on board does not allow you to email the files you produce oe edit.  Lets hope it also allows you to attach from Skydrive which is very important. Sharing from Skydrive is not always appropriate. 
  • Um... Maybe it's just me, but I just went to the Office Hub, opened a file, and tapped Share in the menu, and it let me email it...
  • I think they mean when replying directly in an email
  • +1000. That's the way I've been doing it. Not sure what everybody's problem with sending documents..
  • And that's only allows you to attach 1 office file at a time, which is lame. I hope now we are able to attach multiple office files.
    And I'm still waiting patiently for a light wight file manger to allow easier file namagement.
  • Yes the email attachment is the biggest benefit to me right now. Custom tones is cool too but not something i've been clamoring for.
    The Nokia Camera app should be helpful to a lot of people as I rarely use the Smart Camera app. With it folded into one camera app it'll be easier to use its features.
  • Tones are important for me becasue my wife, my 2 brothers, my parents and some friends use Nokia WP... only my sister doesn't (Galaxy III). So, there is a lot of confusion when an email, message or notification arrives.
  • But we can already choose different sounds for ringers, text, voicemail and email.  If yours sound the same as the rest in your family just change them.  
    I think the update must mean you can choose a unique sound based on who sent you the text,voicemail,email etc. so that you know who it's from just based on the sound.
  • We know that part but sounds are similar and not everyone is musician to differentiate between similar sounds.
    As a friend of mine said one time. You know when someone has a WP without looking by the characteristic sound of a message.
  • I've been pining for this since 2010. Thank God MSFT listens and responds so quickly. Now if we could get native calendar search, I'd be a real happy guy.
  • Not native, but I just discovered today the app Unify does just that and more. And free! Yay!
  • I found Unify a little flaky in calendar search, though it is nice enough for searching music albums.  I have used "Calendar Search" for a little more than a year.  In fact, I specifically asked the developer if he would make the app.  He turned it out about a month later.  It works pretty well, probably as well it could work given the limitations of WP8.  A native app would be faster and have live filtering like email search.
  • We need full phone search like iOS - this has been around way to long to not have it on WP...
  • Incredibly that's what that app does: files, photos, album names, music, contacts, calendar. Just can't search for local installed apps (seeks the store instead)
  • Nice nice, I'll have to check it out. Would still like to see it baked into the OS but I guess if there is an app, that will suffice for now. Thanks for the heads up.
  • Calendar search is not a feature I have missed thus far, but I do miss having a week view and being able to see more than one appointment on the live tile. It wouldn't be so bad if third party developers were allowed to modify existing appointments because there are some nice calendar apps out there, but when I need to modify an appointment I always have to revert back to the native app. MS needs to either give me a fully functional calendar or allows third party developers to give me a fully functional calendar.
  • Already has been possible. Not from the email client but from Office, long press, share option. This new way will allow the dumbest to find it, plus adding different things in the same email, I'd recon.. ^_~
  • which is sad that this wasn't a feature since WP8's release. I'm kinda cringing when I'm reading comments about folks getting excited about this 'feature' like it's a new thing.
  • Can you attach word doc from email client currently?? Not that I can do on my 1020. Furthermore, attaching from Office hub limits only to 1 office file per email. Try it if you don't believe.
  • Totally shocked this isn't available now!
  • It is. Just people fear to click SHARE over their office files..
  • No, it really isn't available now.  Sure it is in a brand new email, but that does not cover a ton of situations.  There is no way to attach a document to an email chain.  Huge missing feature, imo.  Glad to see it finally show up.
  • Okay example... You are having an email chain with a job head hunter. And they ask you to send your resume. You can go to the office hub and hit share (creating a new email chain... Inconvenient). Or you can use this more natural method of replying to his email and attach what he requested.
  • If you tap share in any document it attaches automatically in an email.
  • But this is a very half-assed way to do attachments. Why did it take so long (and it's still not confirmed if this is the case) to make it possible to select documents to attach from within the email app and hopefully to be able to add attachments while replying to an email string. This boggles me.
  • That is simply because wp8 lacks a proper file explorer to choose files. Since there is no news on inclusion of file explorer in gdr3 i don't think this feature will come to Wp in gdr3
  • omg get out of here with your file explorer pipe dreams its unecessary.
  • Wish there were the ability to attach MULTIPLE files in one email. Now THAT would be a huge step!
  • Now that is the issue, not one file but multiple files, that aren't pictures.
  • Yea, I hope that is what they mean. From email you can attach but it only goes to your pictures, should be able to access your office docs or pdfs from there also.
  • Desperately looking forward to it
  • in the photo there's a lumia 920 from at&t, i dont want to get my hopes high but what if at&t is going to release gdr3 instead of amber? ... *reality check* or, you know, release amber and wait until december to release gdr3 and around may wp 8.1
  • I hope we get GDR3 somewhat on schedule once they FINALLY push GDR2... errr! 
    Does anyone have a link to what these new tile sizes will look like on 920? That's been intriguing...
  • Sam did a article a long time ago and showed on a 920. I liked it.
    I think I found it... is this a 920? I guess I always thought it looked bigger, like it was the 1520, than a 920, but maybe the tile size threw me off..
    If that's what awaits us in GDR3... ATT better PUSH IT ON TIME!!! That looks sweet!
  • Ya that's it
  • damnn, that looks sweet ...i cant wait to have gdr3, but...i'd have to 
  • Looks like the tiles are closer together and closer to the edge too.
  • Can anyone let me know how, and if, I can get this when it comes out if I'm using an unlocked ATT 1020 on T Mo? 
  • Hi,
    Welcome to the list of people still waiting for GDR2 updates, once we get GDR2 update for 920 then we can talk about GDR3 sometime December 201(3???)  may be
  • With all due respect, I have GDR2 and I'm interested in learning how unlocked phones get updates, if at all. 
  • Hi,
    Or may be you can flash it like other people did for GDR2
  • I think if it's an AT&T device it get's updated when AT&T pushes out the update, regardless of whether or not it's unlocked.
  • Thanks all!  That is good news.  I sympathize with the slow updates to the 920. 
  • K.R., I think you meant to say December 2014 for GDR2 AT&T 920 updates. :-(
  • You are being over-optimistic...
  • I've been saying for a while now that gdr2wasnt going to happen til gdr3, I'm sure att will release it on time for 920 users.
  • An AT&T 1020 unlocked still gets its' updates from AT&T, even if you are using it on another carrier.  So, you would get it whenever AT&T releases it.
  • Even if you are in France? My sister is going and is buying the 1020, and wants the updates when she is there.
  • 1020 already has GDR2.
  • I meant that will she get GDR3 if she bought a locked ATT 1020, went to France, and when the update would come for the 1020, for her to receive it?
  • If she bought an ATT 1020, you could only use it in France as an ATT roaming device (stupid expensive). You could ask them to unlock it but that is a gamble. Either way, the firmware will be ATT firmware so will only be updated when ATT feels like doing so.
    Strongly recommend she buys a 1020 from a non-carrier retailer. Avoid the bloatware, branding, firmware modifications, and likely be among the first to get GDR3.
  • No, I mean if she buys a locked 1020 and unlocks it, can she still receive the update when the carrier rolls it out?
  • those are different things... unbranded and Unlocked for example, I dont live in US but I have ATT phones. thats because its unlocked, but i was always restricted to AT&T updates....
    of course I could get a wp7 phone unbranded, after unbranding it... it received the updates immediately.
    so if you unlock your phone you would be able to use other carriers sim on it, but it will not change the brand part, unless you buy an unbranded 1020, or find away to hack the registry to unbrand the phone (which i dont know if its possible), and im sure there are other options available for doing that
    so yeah your sister or whatever, will get the update. but you know, ATT is slow releasing it, thats why unbranded phones are better.
  • Unless you flash the ROM directly, once an AT&T phone always an AT&T phone. Doesn't matter if its locked or not. If you bought one from Rodgers for example, then same thing, it would always get updates from Rodgers. The only way to change this would be to flash it with a ROM from a different carrier.
  • I am on Tmob with the AT$T 920, in the US, so yeah getting fum bucked (patent pending) pretty good by AT$T.
    Two questions...
    What would happen if I flashed my AT$T 920 with T-Mobs 925 firmware? Brick, too risky, or success?
    When you flash the ROM is it just WP8 or is a flash from a carrier like Roger?  For example, what would show up on the splash screen when I turn the phone on.
  • Just wait.. Its a minor update and it will be out sooner or later. people are impatient nowadays
  • I think that it would be safer to flash it with a different carrier Lumia 920. My 920 had a  Telcel ROM (Mexico) and flash it with a France Country Varian ROM. It was a different product, Telcel 920 is a RM-820 and the ROM I'm using is for a RM-821... everything works great. Although I think that going for a Lumia 925 ROM is going over the board.
  • Exciting if true!
  • Seems like a nice little update to hold us over until 8.1
    I'm hoping it comes in early November for my t-mobile 925.
  • Little update? This is actually quite a huge update compared to previous GDR updates we've been getting :)
  • No bluetooth le is a let down. As much as i feel that MS has the potential to become a significant competitor to ios and android, i think they are just too slow with everything.
  • They said Bluetooth is coming... so if not in GDR3, it'll definitely be there by 8.1
  • I know its coming, but as I said, I feel that they are just too slow in dishing out features, especially given that they are well behind ios and android. I love my L920, the interface is beautiful, its buttery smooth but its lagging in terms of some essential features. And its not even enough to get these features, MS has to bake in things that ios and android dont have for ppl to jump in.
  • I would rather wait and have it work correctly than release it 'buggy' just to get the marketing feature set.
    "Build it GREAT and they will come..."
  • Build it late and they won't.
  • quoted from the article:
    We should note that this is not a full changelog either for GDR3 and there are presumably other under the hood fixes included as well i.e. a lot of little things that help your everyday experience but aren’t as attention grabbing.
    There's nothing saying here LE is not going to be supported.  
  • They said this isn't the full list. And if it isn't it will be in 8.1
  • And a bluetooth HID profile.  They removed it before WP7, and still haven't put it back in.  I think WP is the only mobile or desktop platform that does not support standard bluetooth keyboards!  It's killing us.
  • Agreed. 100% agreed. This topic was the straw that broke the camel's back for me.  Going away from Windows Phone until they can catch up.  I feel neglected as an early adopter.
  • Ok, I seriously hope that the new quantity of tiles are optional for actual phones!! I don't want to my tiles be sooooo small on my Nokia Lumia 920 screen!!
  • I do. I'm excited!
  • I'm sure it will be... maybe it'll let you select your resolution. I for one can't wait for the 3 medium tiles... I feel the 2 medium tiles are too big on my 920.
  • Same on my 928
  • I agree with you. The medium tiles is perfect on the screens of the 92* series.
  • On my 620 they feel big! lol. Especially since they have a lot of empty space. Wish they would make a 1x4 tile or 1x2 tile! That would be super space efficient!
  • Big tiles=lame tiles...except for Amazing Weather HD's large tile ;)
  • Definitely in agreement - while plenty of people will be all about the smaller tiles, I guarantee there will be an equal number that will have trouble with them being shrunk. MSFT keeps touting the start screen as being such a personalized facet of Windows Phone, and this would be a perfect customization option - but don't force it on people that don't want it!
    Best case scenario will be an option to toggle between a start screen width of "2 Medium Tiles" and "3 Medium Tiles."
  • It will be optional, don't worry.
  • Oh, thanks!!
  • is there no chance for WVGA (480x800) to get d extra tile option ? :(
  • No, I have a Lumia 820 too.
  • I want those extra tiles on my 620! :( Or just give us an extra start page to slide to! :-