Upcoming Windows Phone 8 Update Paves The Way For Phablets

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As Android devices like the Galaxy Note have proven, smartphone consumers love phablets. As Android devices get bigger and bigger, however, iOS and Windows Phone device displays remain below 5-inches. Microsoft will be changing that with its next software update.

Microsoft announced this morning that it will be rolling out its third Windows Phone 8 update over the next new few months. The Windows Phone team says the update will seek to accomplish three goals:

  • Enable incredible new Windows Phone devices.
  • Enhance the platform with new capabilities for current users and partners.
  • Improve overall quality.
  • For new hardware, the latest Windows Phone 8 update will provide support for larger displays. The team specifically says 5- and 6-inch full 1080p displays will be coming to Windows Phone 8. These larger displays will bring with them larger Start screens so users can fit even more Live Tiles on the screen - up to six across.

    Such large screens will require even more powerful hardware, and the Windows Phone team already has that covered. It says that its latest Windows Phone 8 update will bring with it support for Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 CPU.

    As for new capabilities, the Windows Phone team is working on a new Driving Mode for Windows Phone 8. As its name implies, Driving Mode will limit what your phone can do while you're on the road. For example, you can have your phone send off automatic text messages to those who call you while you're driving.

    The Windows Phone team is also adding a screen reader to help make Windows Phone 8 more friendly for the blind and visually impaired. The screen reader will work with phone calls, text messages, Web browsing, Skype, and notifications.

    All of the above will be coming to Windows Phone 8 devices over the next few months, but developers can get it today through the newly announced Developer Preview program. To get Windows Phone 8 Update 3, developers only need to meet three conditions: have a "developer-unlocked" device, be a registered Windows Phone Store developer, and be a registered Windows Phone App Studio developer. You can find out more here.

    [Image: Nokia]

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