After slowly building momentum with Windows Phone, Microsoft(s msft) is adding new features and functions to the platform. Windows Phone Update 3 will be rolling out to phones over the next several months, the company said on Monday, and will also bring new, more powerful handsets to the market.
With the new software, Microsoft will support full HD resolution screens on phones with 5 to 6-inch displays. That’s a needed improvement on larger-screened devices that don’t look as sharp with 720p resolution. The new phones will also support Qualcomm’s(s qcom) quad-core Snapdragon 800 chip; arguably the most powerful available for a Windows Phone handset.
Both new and old phones will gain new features including:
- A new, customizable Driving Mode designed to limit notifications on the lock screen
- The ability to now close apps in multi-tasking mode
- Screen rotation lock, new ringtones, better storage management and Bluetooth improvements
On the surface, it’s easy to dismiss this update as Windows Phone simply playing catching up to Apple’s(s aapl) iOS and Google’s Android platforms. It’s true; that’s what much of this update is. But Windows Phone has survived while BlackBerry has imploded. Yes, the user base is relatively small, but in some countries it has more than 10 percent market share.
Windows Phone Update 3 isn’t going to hand Microsoft 25 percent of the smartphone market. But the company has shown that it has staying power and that it is committed to the mobile market. As a result, these updates are exactly what Windows Phone needs to keep its slow and steady progress in what Microsoft calls a marathon.