Eyeing phablets, Microsoft readies Windows Phone update

Oct 14 2013, 20:13 IST
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The update will allow bigger start screen and better accessibility options on mobile handsets. Reuters The update will allow bigger start screen and better accessibility options on mobile handsets. Reuters
SummaryMicrosoft said that new features would pave the way for future devices with 5 or 6 inch touch screens.

Microsoft will release an update of Windows Phone 8 operating system with new features, which could see the software giant making inroads into the much promising phablets market in emerging economies.

The update will allow bigger start screen and better accessibility options on mobile handsets.

Announcing the third update, Microsoft today said that new features would pave the way for future devices with 5 or 6 inch touch screens.

Phablets are smart-phones which are slightly bigger, usually with a screen size of 5-7 inches. They are popular in emerging markets like India and are even expected to eat into the market share of tablets in coming years, according to technology research firm IDC.

More than 3 million phablets were shipped to India during the second quarter of this year

The update will work for 1080p HD displays and will make the devices more personal by porting jumbo-sized Start screens with room for six Live Tiles across instead of four, the company said on is blogpost

"Windows Phone 8 Update 3 will roll out to existing phones over the next several months, bringing with it a bevy of improvements and new capabilities," it added.

According to IDC data, the sales of phablets grew 17 times and the phablet share rose to 30 per cent of the smartphone market in the second quarter of 2013.

In India, local vendors like Micromax, Karbonn and Lava have outshined global leaders Samsung and Nokia in the smartphone segment mainly on the back of large screen devices.

"The key for growth in this market, as with most emerging markets, is a low-priced phone equipped with a large screen and dual SIM slots," says an IDC analyst.

Nokia, which is gaining foothold in smartphone market with Windows based Lumia range of handsets, is also rumoured to launch its first phablet at Abu Dhabi event later this month.

The latest Windows Phone 8 update would include features such as customizable Driving Mode and better accessibility options.

Microsoft also announced a programme -- Windows Phone Preview for Developers -- which gives app builders early access to its operating system updates so they can verify that their apps work as expected on the new code.

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