One of Apple’s biggest innovations is often one we don’t think about. When they launched the iPhone, they also set a new benchmark for interactions with carriers. Traditionally these carriers would take a device from the manufacturer, then add their bloat ware, while also delaying the launch for weeks or months while they test it. Supposedly they test it to make sure it doesn’t break their network, but that has always seemed like a stretch, any decent network infrastructure would be constructed in a way to prevent devices from interfering with it.
Whatever the reasons the carriers wanted to play the middle man, they have now been bypassed by Windows Phone. Overnight Microsoft started offering Update 3 for Windows Phone 8, this was previously known as the GDR3 update. While there’s much needed features like 1080p support, quad-core processors, screen rotation lock, app closing from the multitasking screen, but the way consumers get it is the more interesting story.
As described in Paul Thurott’s ‘Update your handset today’ guide on Supersite for Windows, you can get the update today. This comes on the back of only just getting GDR2 a matter of weeks ago. That makes it the fastest update to hit Windows Phone yet. Technically you need to sign up as a developer, install the ‘Preview for Developers’ app and unlock your device for direct updates. Please note this does not unlock like a jailbreak, just allows for Microsoft to make updates available directly to you.
While Microsoft will say it’s designed for developers to test app compatibility, the simplicity in which you can get this tells a different story. The cost of doing also reflects the programs availability to everyday consumers. The US$19 per year cost will be nothing for WP8 enthusiasts.
As an existing developer, I got the Preview for Developers app and after agreeing to terms and conditions, visiting Settings > Phone Update had Update 3 on its way to my Lumia 920. Thurott says the update should take around 10 minutes, but I found it was closer to double that. I’d expect the difference being the amount of data you have on your device.
Download the ‘Preview for Developers app’ here.