Yesterday, Microsoft kept its promise about "enthusiast program" and has released the General Distribution Release 3 (GDR3) aka Update 3 to all Windows Phone 8 developers.
The update comes with a few small features for current handsets and enables new class of devices:
- Driving Mode
- New accessibility features
- Improved Internet Sharing (aka tethering)
- More customization for ringtones
- Highly improved Bluetooth stack
- Screen rotation lock
- Ability to close an app from multitask card view (Ideally, there is no need to close an app. But some third party apps get stuck in a loop sometimes)
- Better breakdown of "other storage" and built-in ability to clean up if needed
- Ability to connect to Wi-Fi during first time setup (previously, it was after)
- General performance improvement for almost all components of the OS.
For new devices:
- support for quad core processors
- support for 1080p displays
- built-in apps will "rearrange" themselves to better utilize 1080p displays
- additional column on start screen (It seems this is for 1080p displays only)
People reported that the battery life has gotten better and IE is more snappier. Almost no one is having issues with the upgrade which makes this a solid upgrade that you should not miss.
It is important to note that this upgrade only comes with the core OS update. Device specific firmware/software (e.g., nokia bittersweet shimmer) will be made available by the OEM at a later date and will bring lots of new features too.
Now the interesting part is that, with the Windows Phone App Studio, even you can be a "developer" without paying any fees.
Once you have done that (really easy; takes a few minutes), you have to install Preview for Developer App. Start the app and login. Finally, go to settings -> phone update.
- Updating in this way may void your warranty
- This update requires your phone already on GDR2
- There is no roll-back
- This update does not remove your device specific enhancements. For example, nokia pro cam or call+sms block from GDR2.