Android smartphones have ushered in the era of full HD displays on mobile phones, but Microsoft’s Windows Phone 8, which is trailing iOS and Google’s mobile OS in market share, currently only supports up to 720p displays. But all that is about the change as the Redmond company is planning to increase Windows Phone 8’s maximum supported resolution to 1080p. The update will reportedly be called General Distribution Release (GDR3) for Windows Phone, and new devices with 1080p screens will be launched in time for the holiday season between October and December.
Sources familiar with Microsoft's Windows Phone plans told the The Verge that an update can be expected later this year and we will soon be seeing Windows Phone 8 phablets too, as Windows Phone will also be modified to support devices with displays larger than 5 inches. Having large-screen devices also opens up the possibility of getting more OEMs on board.
We could soon see this badge on Windows Phone 8 smartphones
This is a crucial segment for Windows Phone 8, as phablets have met with overwhelming success around the world. Currently, the platform supports displays ranging from WVGA to 720p resolutions, but devices with larger displays and higher resolutions can have either Windows 8 or Windows RT as the OS.
The Verge also reports that HTC, which had originally planned to release a quad-core WP8 flagship device with a 4.7-inch 720p display, had to cancel its plans to better compete with the current crop of Android phones, including its very own flagship One.
The report adds that the GDR3 update will also provide support for new Qualcomm processors such as the Snapdragon 600 or 800, which will be seen on many flagships this year. This will also open up the option of using quad-core devices with the Windows Phone OS.
Nokia is by far the most prolific WP 8 smartphone maker, but companies like Samsung and HTC have stuck to releasing a couple of devices running Microsoft’s OS every year. Samsung, in particular, could use the GDR3 update to bring a Galaxy Note-like WP 8 device with a stylus for sketching, note-taking and everything that is possible with an S-Pen. It will also greatly increase the chances of Windows Phone 8 getting apps that can make use of the increased screen real estate. A larger screen will lead to less scrolling on the homescreen to get to hidden live tiles.
While the update will no doubt allow for a slew of high-end devices, the update will not be part of the Windows Phone Blue makeover. The Blue update will be released sometime in early 2014 and will be a major software revision. Windows Phone Blue is expected to give a more seamless app experience between the PC OS and Windows Phone. Microsoft, it is rumoured, will bring browser and app synchronisation so users can switch between Windows devices without going through complicated processes.