We've known for a while that Windows Phone would soon add support for HD display and larger screens. Get ready for the real deal as Microsoft updates its mobile OS and Nokia prepares to launch a WP phablet at its big event later this month.
Microsoft and Nokia Looking Phab
Whereas Apple can roll out a new OS and a phone at more or less the same time, Microsoft and (for now) partner Nokia and other players in the Windows Phone area need to do things at a different pace. So, Microsoft has officially unveiled its third update to Windows Phone 8, bringing with it support for Qualcomm's Snapdragon 800 quad-core CPU, enabling partners to more easily add Windows Phone 8 to their current Android devices.
That boost also enables support for HD-class screens, opening up a world of larger-sized displays and more customized live tile arrangements. There's also a number platform enhancements as the system evolves and plays catch-up with its rivals, like driver mode, mobile hotspot deployment, new ringtones, rotation lock, improved storage and radio management.
Developers can now also join in a preview program, that Microsoft has launched to tempt more coders into the ecosystem and to get apps working earlier. This will bypass carrier activation services in a similar manner to Apple's processes, with a cheap $19 sign-up fee and device registration required to get things started.
Bring on the Hardware
All of this would be nothing without a device or two to shout about, and Nokia is expected to unveil the Nokia 1520 phablet at an event in Abu Dhabi next week. This 6-inch device will move Windows Phone into the realm of Samsung's Note devices and provide some much-needed breadth to the Windows Phone line-up, although the bar has moved on with curved phones to contend with.
The Nokia Lumia 1520 is expected to provide a cracking display at the 1080 x 1920 mark, which should really make the tile interface look super-sharp. Powered by that Snapdragon processor, plus likely 2GB RAM and 32GB on-board memory, it will use a 20-megapixel lens to allow for superb video and photography that can also be shown on that gorgeous display, while quad microphones should help boost video audio quality.
If Nokia throws in some of its usual camera smart software and technology, it could be quite the device. All will be revealed at Innovation Reinvented on 22 October. The only crimp in that plan is that it is likely to clash with Apple's iPad launch, although Apple seems to be saving its bullets for 2014, so more interest be spared for Nokia's news.
The Finnish company, soon to become part of Microsoft, could also reveal a proper tablet, which has long been rumored among other devices, so keep an eye out. And by courting the Snapdragon crowd, Microsoft could pick up some more support from hardware vendors.
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