The Windows Phone, while not as popular as the two other massive mobile operating systems, is slowly growing in popularity. While the phones themselves, and the operating system, are great, they do need to be updated to fix known issues, or implement new features. Windows Phone 8, launched in 2012, has recently been updated, with new features implemented.
This latest update, called GDR2 by Microsoft (GRD2 stands for: General Distribution Release 2), brings a number of small features to devices running Windows Phone 8, and was released for most phones on July 22, 2013. So far, this is the second update to the platform this year, and will likely not be the last, with more updates and a new version of Windows Phone 8 – Windows Phone 8.1 – rumored to be launched later this year, or early next.
Here are the main changes GDR2 introduces
- Support for Google Calendar and Contacts – Google Calendar and Contacts can be stored in file formats called calDAV and cardDAV. It is these formats that, when other systems can support or read them, allow for seamless syncing with Google. These formats have been introduced making syncing your Google Calendar and Contacts with your Windows Phone much easier.
- Data Sense – Because most smartphone users have a data plan that comes with a limited amount of bandwidth, they could benefit from an app or way to track how much data they have used. With the update and introduction of Data Sense, you can now do exactly that. After you install the update, you will be able to find Data Sense in your App list. Open the app, and press Settings to set your data limit and plan type.
- Ability to change your camera app – There are a number of camera apps on the Windows Phone store. The problem with the older version of Windows Phone is that it didn’t allow users to choose which app was their default camera. The update allows for this ability.
- Improved Skype stability – Anyone who has used Skype for an extended period of time, on any mobile platform, knows that it could use a bit of work stability wise. GDR2 improves the overall stability of Skype, making it an overall better platform.
- Improved HTML5 for Internet Explorer – HTML5 is still relatively quite new, and many phones lack full support of this language. Because it is becoming more popular amongst web designers, mobile users are starting to view these sites too. However, they may be missing out due to lack of support in the browser they are using. GDR2 brings some improvements to Internet Explorer and how it handles HTML5 on mobile devices, and improving the browsing experience.
How do I know if my phone has been updated?
If you are unsure whether you have received this latest update, you can check what version of Windows Phone your device is using by tapping on Settings from the App list, selecting About followed by More Info. Scroll down until you see Software and it would tell you what version you are running. If you have GDR2 installed, it should say: 8.0.10327.77 or 8.0.10328.78 depending on the phone manufactuerer.
How do I install the update?
If you haven’t received the update, you can check and see if it is available by opening the Settings app on your phone and tapping on Phone update, followed by Check for updates. Should the update be available, you will be given a prompt to update and then you can press Download. It is a good idea to ensure you are connected to Wi-Fi before doing this. Once the download is finished, you should see the phone turn off and on again, and the update install. Tap Done when instructed to do so, and you should be updated.
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