Developers can get their hands on the update starting today

Windows Phone is getting its third update in the coming weeks, which will add features for new devices with larger screens and 1080p resolution.

Microsoft announced Windows Phone 8 Update 3 today along with a special Windows Phone Preview Program for developers. The latter gives registered Windows Phone devs access to the update today without needing a carrier in the middle. The program is likely a way to attract developers to the platform, which is a much-needed step to broaden Windows Phone's app ecosystem. 

As for the actual update, Microsoft says Windows Phone 8 Update 3 (8.0.10512) is geared toward new devices. More specifically, it offers support for Qualcomm’s Snapdragon MSM8974 quad-core processor as well as 5 and 6-inch displays at 1080p resolution.

With larger screens, the update plans to utilize the expanded space by adding a third column of Live Tiles to the Windows Phone 8 Start Screen on 1080p displays. This will allow up to six small tiles across the screen. With 6-inch displays, built-in apps will be scaled correctly to fit the screen.

There are also some new features for both new and existing devices with the third update. For instance, there are now custom notification sounds for text messages, emails, reminders and voicemails. There's also a new rotation lock option to keep the screen in either portrait or landscape mode, and a feature called Driving Mode, which limits the number of notifications on your lock screen to keep from distracted driving. 

Another new feature is "Mobile Accessibility for Windows Phone 8," which offers multiple apps that help Windows Phone 8 be easy to use for everyone. For instance, there's a screen reader to make it easier for blind and visually impaired users to manage phone calls and text messages.

Some fixes to existing Windows Phone features include a way to quickly close apps when multitasking; better bluetooth support; Wi-Fi access during the phone set-up (allows you to restore from a backup device over Wi-Fi), and better storage management. 

The update is expected to roll out over the coming weeks. 

Source: Windows Blog

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