Microsoft Announces Windows Phone 8 Update 3 For Larger 'Phablet' Devices

There’s another Windows Phone update coming down the pike in the next few months, and among several new features, Microsoft’s Darren Laybourn noted in a blog post that the update is designed in part to make use of larger screens such as those found on phablets.

“So the new update paves the way for future Windows Phone devices with 5- and 6-inch touch screens,” he wrote. “The larger, 1080p HD displays on these devices will make Windows Phone even more personal—for example by sporting jumbo-sized Start screens with room for six Live Tiles across instead of four.”

Microsoft Windows Phone 8 Update 3

This is none too surprising, as rumors of Nokia phablets have been kicking around for a few months, even as Microsoft’s acquisition of Nokia reportedly slowed down the latter’s phablet launches. However, without directly saying it, Microsoft is all but telling us that those Nokia phablets are coming, and probably soon.

In addition to support for larger Start screens, Windows Phone 8 Update 3 will add support for the quad-core Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 processor, offer more mobile accessibility options for the visually impaired, easier mobile data sharing between your devices, and “hundreds of under-the-hood performance tweaks”.

Microsoft Windows Phone 8 Update 3

There are also small adjustments such as greater customization of ringtones, rotation lock options, storage management, better app switching and closing, and a better WiFi and Bluetooth experience. The new Driving Mode, designed to be used with a Bluetooth device, limits notifications to keep distractions to a minimum and can be configured to automatically reply to calls or texts with a message that you’re driving and will respond when you can.

Microsoft now has a Windows Phone Preview for Developers program to give devs the early access to the update and thus the ability to verify their apps before it rolls out.