Just ahead of Windows 8.1’s official launch and Nokia’s Lumia press event, Microsoft has announced some significant updates to the Windows Phone 8 platform. This third update to Microsoft’s mobile OS will bring support 1080p resolution on 5 and 6-inch displays and quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon processors among other enhancements.
Microsoft says that Windows Phone 8 users will also get a new customizable Driving Mode that’s designed to limit notifications on the lock screen. Other new features include screen rotation lock, new ringtones, better storage management and Bluetooth improvements. Our favorite new addition is the ability to easily close apps from the multitasking menu. It’s about time.
The rollout is set to kick off within the coming weeks and will continue over the next several months, although Microsoft hasn’t specified an exact timetable. The announcement coincides with the launch of Windows 8.1 on Oct. 17, Microsoft’s first major update to the Windows 8 platform that will bring back the Start button (sort of), add camera access from the lock screen and introduce a new universal search engine among other improvements.
At the same time, Nokia is expected to unveil the first Windows Phone 8 phablet dubbed the Lumia 1520 among other Windows Phone 8 devices at its press event in Abu Dhabi on Oct. 22. Previous rumors had suggested that Microsoft would launch a significant update to the Windows Phone platform in preparation for new hardware releases, and now we’re finally seeing those new features come to light.
In addition to rolling out updates for consumers, Microsoft also announced a new Windows Phone preview program for developers that gives them earlier access to OS updates. We’re looking forward to learning more about what this new Windows Phone update will bring over the next several weeks.