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A closer look into Windows Phone GDR3 update

Windows™ Phone Expert

It’s finally the fourth quarter of the year! As expected, here comes another update for Windows Phone.


The pre-release of General Distribution Release 3 (GDR3) that was surprisingly announced 6 days ago (14th October 2013) for developers. With the update early in the hands of developers, it will allow them to exercise on the update and verify if the app works as what you expect.



  • Targeting towards incredible new Windows Phone devices such as quad core processor, 1080p screen resolution

  • Enhance the platform functionality and capabilities for current users

  • Improving the overall quality of the OS.


So what’s new?

High resolution support, bigger screens.


1080p start screen


The new update paves the way for future Windows Phone to get even bigger, such as 5-6 inch phablets (a phone and a tablet). With a larger screen, Windows Phone becomes even more personal and the start screen is more efficient! It allows more tiles to be pinned to the start screen, for instance sporting jumbo-sized Start screen with 3 medium sized tiles in a row instead of 4.


Stay tuned for Nokia World 2013 on 22th October!


More powerful hardware! Faster than ever

The third update will also bring support to the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor. Delivering even better performance than the current S4 series, making the already fast and fluid Windows Phone even better!


Qualcomm 800


Driving mode

A new feature called Driving mode is included that gets you away from any possible distraction during driving. After paring up to a Bluetooth device such as your headset, & Bluetooth + NFC enabled speakers (Nokia JBL). You phone will be able to automatically ignore calls/texts, & limit notifications. Then response with a quick message prompting that you are currently busy.


Driving Mode 1 Driving Mode 2


This is quite a nice little addition for people who drives, making the road safer for you and other users.


Custom text/IM tones

Hate the default selection of text/IM tones that you are not allowed to customize? You can now select tones of your own and make your Windows Phone even more unique.


Ringtone 1 Windows Phone 8 Update 3 adds the ability to assign custom ringtones to contacts for text messages, so you'll know who's texting you without even looking.


For me, as a Pokémon Fan. I’ve selected ‘Pika-pika’ as my ringtone. Sounds cool huh?  Cat Very Happy


Lock screen orientation

Hate the screen twisting and spinning while you are using the phone in bed? Now you can lock the orientation of the screen to keep it fixed in place.


Lock screen orientation 


Easily close apps

A new ‘X’ option is now included in the multi-task screen that allows you to close applications.


Multi task 1


So should you close your apps often when not needed? The answer is definitely no.

Third party windows Phone application cannot run in the background as a whole, so fear not! It’ll not be sneaky and sip power unknowingly. It will only be frozen in the memory until you launch them again. (Some Windows Phone application supports fast-resume, so keeping them there allows it to be back instantly when needed!)


Is there really no background task on Windows Phone?

No. They can only register themselves to run once every 30 minutes at a low priority. You can also choose to block it however. Settings > background tasks. The power consumption is insignificant.


Mutli task 2


Many of us are so used to closing applications on PC that this becomes a necessary option despite Windows Phone’s automatic memory management.


Better storage management

A new option is now included to make it easier to free up space on your phone and manage temporary files. There is also an improved category view that shows what’s taking up space at a glance.


Storage 1 Storage 2


For Nokia and HTC Windows Phone users, you may already have an app pre-loaded onto your device to manage the temporary storage.


Other minor improvements

  • Better Bluetooth: Improves connection quality for Bluetooth accessories (Bluetooth 4.0 low energy?)

  • Wi-Fi access while setting up your phone: You can now connect to Wi-Fi while setting up your phone for restoration work [Apps, data setting, favourites], conserving cellular data.


All these minor GDR release make up a fruitful year of enhancement and updates for Windows Phone 8, with 3 releases to date. Instead of the 1 year release cycle like the rest of Microsoft’s product such as Windows 8, Office, & Azure Windows Phone adopted an 18 month cycle. Having to ship 3 releases in a year isn’t easy as they were hampered by carrier.


Windows Phone is in fact moving at a much faster pace than the competition at the same time frame rather than a ‘big bang’ style update on iOS.


Many minor issues and enhancements are swiftly included and updated. Whereas iOS users were largely ignored for the entire year until the next iOS is shipped.


Android on the other hand is a different story as there is uncertainly to getting updates even for high end devices. Low to mid-range device shouldn’t even expect any of them, leaving it vulnerable to malware and other nasty bugs.



Let’s not forget Nokia too, they are not going to sit by and wait for updates from Microsoft. Being one of the largest handset manufacturer for Windows Phone, accounting for 90% of the devices sold. They too have also shipped its addition and enhancement such as the recent release of ‘Amber’ together with GDR2. You have new additions such as double-tap to wake up, better camera performance, Smart Camera, Pro camera app, flip to silence, & glance screen.