Microsoft releases Windows Phone 8 GDR3 update for bigger screen support, Driving Mode, quad-core speed and more

The third Windows Phone 8 update, GDR3, has been the talk of the interwebs for a while and now it's officially arrived.

The most notable change will be high-resolution screen support for the many 1080p screens arriving and future 5 and 6-inch mobiles about to be announced. This will mean the screen can now fit up to six tiles across the display as opposed to the more limited four WP8 currently offers. Built-in apps and Hubs such as email, Photos, People, Music and Videos will also be optimised for the extra screen space. And this will all run smoothly as the OS update optimises the system to support the latest quad-core Qualcomm processors.

Driving Mode is a new adage that will limit call and text notifications on the lock screen to keep you focused on the road when driving.

Internet Sharing has also been updated. Now when you want to use your phone as a mobile hotspot for your Windows 8.1 tablet or PC, it will work instantly. Once paired a first time it will automatically work from then on without the need to turn the Internet Sharing on and off each time.

Smaller but useful updates include a screen rotation lock ideal for reading in bed, the ability to use custom ringtones for more notifications like voicemails and reminders, a new category view that lets you see what's using up memory at a glance, App Switcher which allows you to close apps when you're done with them, plus better Bluetooth and instant Wi-Fi from out of the box.

With more than 175,000 apps for Windows Phone and a host of new hardware on its way now is a great time to get excited about Windows Phone 8. And with Nokia rumoured to be launching a bevy of new handsets and even a tablet soon this is the perfect time for such a useful update. If you've got any more ideas for future updates just pop them in the Windows Phone suggestion box and they may appear soon.

The Windows Phone Preview Program for Developers has also been announced to make app development easy on the new system. If you’re a developer and want to download Windows Phone 8 Update 3, you’ll need either a Dev Center account, an App Studio account, or a dev unlocked phone.