Also known as the General Distribution Release 2, the GDR 2 is the latest software update for Windows Phone (WP) 8 operating system. For Nokia handsets, this was called the “Lumia Amber update,” which included few system enhancements and software add-ons such as the Smart Camera App, FM Radio, and Nokia Glance Screen. It started rolling out this Q4 of 2013 in some regions and selected handsets over-the-air. If you are thinking of upgrading your handset to this new update, yet you’re curious about its key features, read on below as we list down all the details you need to know about the WP8 GDR 2.
Inclusion of ‘Data Sense’ Internet Usage Tracker
[Image Credit Windows Phone Central]
Similar to Android and iOS devices, the Data Sense tracks your mobile internet usage by displaying your real-time amount of data transfers via Wi-Fi or cellular network (3G/4G LTE). You can also set your monthly data limit to compensate your existing subscription and avoid unexpected charges. For instance, if you’re in the UK and you have a base tariff subscription with 100 MB data from O2, you can set the system to prevent internet transfers if you exceed beyond the specified cap. It will automatically block your online activities such as web surfing, mobile streaming, and app downloading.
Google Account Support
Last year, the search engine company dropped a bombshell that it would stop supporting its Gmail and Google calendar services via Microsoft Exchange ActiveSync (EAS), starting in January 2014. This will prevent users from accessing events, emails, and contacts associated to their Google accounts. With GDR 2, users can now overcome this threat by actually integrating the support into their WP handsets. Although as of the moment, there’s still no news if the developers are working on a solution to bring the search engine’s Cloud Drive services into the WP ecosystem.
HTML 5 Runtime for Internet Explorer
[Image Credit webmonkey.com]
The native Internet Explorer mobile is not supported by Flash, which restricts users to play video and audio files embedded in websites. With the HTML 5 browser add-on included in the GDR 2 update, it’ll enable media runtime in your WP Internet Explorer app, similar to the experience you get in PCs.Just to give you an idea, the browsers found in iOS and Android platforms are HTML 5 runtime-capable.
Smart Application Management
[Image Credit Smartphonezero.com]
Since the Windows Phone 7 version, the system allows you to multitask by holding down the back arrow soft key on your handset. But, it only allows you to switch from your actively running applications, and doesn’t give you the ability to close a program. In this system update, you’ll be given an (x) virtual button on the upper right side of each of your apps from the multitasking panel. It may be a minor and unnoticeable improvement, but having the power to close a running application will save you battery.
Enhanced Messaging and Voicemail
In the past, you can’t directly play WAV audio files sent to you via email or multimedia messaging, since it only supports MP3 formats. That has been fixed with this OS update as they’ve included more codecs associated with messaging and voicemail that supports WAV files. The GDR 2 will also improve issues regarding the inability to send group messages.
Knock-Knock Screen Gesture
[Image Credit Mynokiablog.com]
Similar to the LG G2’s ability to wake the screen by double-tapping the display, this software update has included the same gesture. This will result to better user experience and will save your phone’s sleep/wake button from getting over used. However, some users might struggle with this option as they need to tap the exact region of the locked screen quickly to bring out the slide-to-unlock display.
Fix for the Secondary Storage Bug
The update also resolved the issue with the micro-SD card support through an easier option of transferring files from internal to the secondary storage (and vice versa). Moreover, you can now delete your temporary and hidden files from the internal and secondary memory to free some space. Unfortunately, Microsoft still doesn’t allow you to move your installed applications on your micro-SD card just like the Android.
These are the seven features packaged on the GDR 2 update. It may be minor improvements, but overall, it will make your mobile computing seamless and more efficient. Have you noticed other features we’ve missed?
About the Author
Jennifer Birch is a British tech writer and a proud power user of Windows Phone. She sports a Nokia Lumia 1020 and she’s in love with its superb imaging power. Follow her at @WrittenByJenni and read her feature stories on Techie Doodlers.
Sendtiment is the first Windows Phone app that allows you to email, text, Facebook, Tweet and Instagram personalized photo cards,notes, invitations and announcement from your phone. The app is a brat companion to your windows phone especially now that the festive season is just around the corner, whether you’re in love, sharing a celebration or feeling festive this app is the app for sending quality cards to your friends and family.
With 200+ unique and modern cards thoughtfully designed to suit your every need it is easy to say it with a Sendtiment Greeting Card. And yes, the “d” is silent.
Email, text, tweet, Facebook, Instagram personalized greeting cards, notes, invitations + announcements right from your Windows Phone 8.
Features Include :
• Easy to use app that allows you to scroll + select the perfect hand-crafted “Sendtiment”.
• 200+ thank you notes, greeting cards, birthday cards, invitations, announcements each personalized resulting in thousands of possibilities.
• Photo-friendly designs, giving you the ability to grab photos from your photo album or take pictures in-app.
• Seamless integration with your device’s built-in sharing capabilities. Share via text, email or your favorite social network. You can even share via Bluetooth, NFC or to OneNote.
Earlier this morning Microsoft outlined their new Windows Phone Preview for Developers. Remember the Enthusiast Program announced with Windows Phone 8 in the summer of 2012? This is basically it. If you’re a registered developer for the Windows Phone Store or a member of the Windows Phone App Studio Program you can download GDR3 starting today. That update is now live. Link below.
We’re in the process of downloading right now, so we can’t completely comment on the progress overall process. But so far after downloading the Preview for Developers app from Microsoft we’ve had no hiccups. Head to the Store and download the app, but first note these requirements from the app:
You must meet one of the following three requirements: (a) have an active Windows Phone Dev Center account; (b) have an active App Studio account; OR (c) be running a registered developer device (‘dev unlocked’ phone)
Updates will only include the Microsoft update, and not additional OEM drivers/firmware
To ensure the best experience, your device must be running the latest OS release (currently 8.0.10322.71) or greater to receive early updates via this program
You will be required to accept additional terms & conditions within the app prior to opt-in
You CANNOT REVERT to a prior OS version once you have taken an update via this program
Access to latest pre-release Windows Phone updates
Ability to opt-out of pre-releases and only receive production Windows Phone updates
Ready to take the plunge? Head to the Windows Phone Store to download Preview for Developers from Microsoft. After downloading, head into the settings of your phone and go the phone update section and do a check. You should begin downloading GDR3, but not any other OEM features like those that will be found in Bittersweet shimmer. Don\’t forget to check to what\’s new in GDR3 and head to the GDR3 Forums to talk it out.
A bigger Start screen for more Live Tiles. A new, customizable Driving Mode. Better accessibility options.
These are just some of the new features and innovations that we’re getting ready to deliver to you in Windows Phone 8 Update 3, which will roll out to existing phones over the next several months. As manager of the engineering team responsible for delivering updates to your Windows Phone, today I wanted to tell you a bit more about what’s included in our third official update of the year—plus describe a new preview program we’re launching to help developers keep their apps running smoothly on our latest software.
It’s been a busy but exciting year for my team—and Windows Phone overall. If you follow the news, you might have seen that our market share in Europe has grown to nearly 10 percent. We’re seeing things really start to accelerate. We believe this is because we continue to advance the platform at a rapid pace. Our hardware partners, meanwhile, have been taking advantage of this innovation by releasing amazing new Windows Phone devices throughout the year.
The story behind No. 3
When we sat down to plan our latest official update to Windows Phone 8, we had three main engineering goals in mind:
- Enable incredible new Windows Phone devices.
- Enhance the platform with new capabilities for current users and partners.
- Improve overall quality.
Support for bigger, higher-resolution screens
So the new update paves the way for future Windows Phone devices with 5- and 6-inch touch screens. 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.
A bigger Start screen means the ability to pin even more of the people, info, and apps that matter to you. Built-in apps and Hubs like email, Photos, People, and Music and Videos will also be carefully scaled to take full advantage of the additional real estate on 6-inch screens.
More powerful hardware
In addition to larger screens, Update 3 will also bring support for the Qualcomm Snapdragon 800 quad-core processor. The added horsepower that this chip delivers should make our already-fluid operating system perform even better.
A new feature called Driving Mode helps you get from point A to point B with fewer distractions. Working with a connected Bluetooth device, Driving Mode is designed to limit notifications on the lock screen—including texts, calls, and quick status alerts—until you’re safely parked.
You can even configure Driving Mode to send automatic replies to people who call or text when you’re behind the wheel, to let them know you’ll get back to them.
New accessibility features
Another highlight of the new update is Mobile Accessibility for Windows Phone 8, which isn’t a single feature but a suite of apps designed to make Windows Phone easier to see, hear, and use. The apps, which include a screen reader, make it easier for blind and visually impaired users to manage calls and contacts, send texts and emails, browse the web, make Skype and Lync calls, and hear notifications like alarms, calendar events, and low-battery warnings.
Improved Internet Sharing
Many of you are familiar with the Internet Sharing feature, which turns Windows Phone 8 into a mobile hotspot by sharing your cellular data connection over Wi-Fi.
In Update 3, we’ve made it easier to use your phone as a data-savvy hotspot for Windows 8.1 devices. Just pair your phone and Windows 8.1 PC or tablet over Bluetooth, tap your network name, and you’ll be connected and ready to go. No need to enter a password or dig out your phone and turn on Internet Sharing—it’s done for you.
But, wait, there’s more
That’s not all we’ve packed into Windows Phone 8 Update 3. Besides hundreds of under-the-hood performance tweaks and enhancements, we’ve also added a bunch of small but handy new features, including several that you’ve been asking for. They include:
- More useful ringtones: With Update 3, you can use custom ringtones for more things—including instant messages, emails, voicemails, and reminders. You can also assign custom ringtones to contacts for text messages, so you’ll know who’s texting you without even looking.
- No more twist and shout: Does your screen keep spinning when you’re trying to read emails in bed? Use the new rotation lock option to keep it fixed in place.
- Better storage management: New storage settings make it easier to free up space on your phone and manage temporary files. A new category view shows what’s taking up space at a glance.
- Easily close apps: Now you can use the App switcher to quickly close apps when you’re finished with them.
- Wi-Fi access out of the box: You can now connect to Wi-Fi during phone set up, so you can start conserving cellular data right out of the box.
- Better Bluetooth: The team made a bunch of improvements to improve connection quality for Bluetooth accessories.
As you can see, there’s some fun and handy stuff in Windows Phone 8 Update 3. If you have suggestions for future updates, submit them to our Windows Phone Suggestion Box site. We always appreciate the feedback and take it into account as we prioritize new work.
So when will all this be coming to your phone? As I mentioned earlier, the rollout initially kicks off in the coming weeks and will continue over several months. Specific timing depends on a number of factors including your carrier and phone model.
The Nokia Lumia 625 is the big-screen Windows Phone 8 smartphone, which means it is ideally placed for being a great games machine. Discover the top 10 Xbox games for Nokia Lumia 625 running Windows Phone 8.
The Nokia Lumia 625 is built around a 4.7-inch IPS LCD display with a standard 800 x 480-pixel resolution. It comes with a curved glass screen, Gorilla Glass 2 and super-sensitive touch technology for use with nail and gloved hands.
We think this makes it ideal for playing the latest Xbox and other Windows Phone 8 games for big screen fun. You won’t even find it a burden, as while the Nokia Lumia 625 is the largest Lumia yet it comes with a sprightly weight of 159g, and measures in at an overall size of 133.25 x 72.25 x 9.15mm, making it a slim and super-compact smartphone that feels great in the hand.
To put it to the test we’ve put some of our favourite Xbox games for Windows Phone 8 onto it. Check out how well it handles with our hands-on video.
Great Article about Living with the Nokia Lumia 925 by NOKNOK.tv head over to the site a read the full article.
The Nokia Lumia 925 has been our main Windows Phone 8 smartphone for two months. We’ve grown accustomed to how well it handles, the battery life and even got to grips with the Nokia Pro Camera app. Check out our living with the Nokia Lumia 925 (two months on).
The Nokia Lumia 925 is the flagship model in the Windows Phone 8 family. It comes with a 4.5-inch AMOLED display, 1.5GHz dual-core processor, 1GB of RAM and 16GB of internal storage. There is a 8.7-Megapixel PureView camera with Carl Zeiss optics, dual-LED Flash and 1.2MP front-facing camera.
Check out our living with the Nokia Lumia 925 (one month on)
The Metal-frame and polycarbonate design makes for a great slim and stylish smartphone that feels fantastic in the hand. We’ve also found it incredibly hard wearing and tough – it can certainly live up to every day usage on the go.
Wireless charging is built in but you’ll need to add a wireless charging jacket to complete the connection with your Qi charging plate. Here we take a look at how we’ve been getting on with the Nokia Lumia 925 over the last couple of months.