Ina Fried

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Update to Windows Phone Paves Way for Devices With Larger Screens, Quad-Core Chips

Microsoft is announcing on Monday a software update that will add support for large, high-resolution displays, as well as Qualcomm’s quad-core Snapdragon 800 processor.

Nokia is due to introduce a variety of new products at an Oct. 22 event in Abu Dhabi, and a large-screen 1080p phone is among those. New devices are likely to be the first to get the new software, though it will also be made available to existing Windows Phone 8 owners.

The new software update also adds a driving mode that can be automatically set to respond to calls and incoming texts with a preset message. (Microsoft had developed Driving Mode as part of its planning for Windows Phone 8, but the feature ended up getting cut before the software was released.) Other features in this update include the ability to lock screen rotation, manually close apps and more easily manage storage.

It’s the third update for Windows Phone 8 since it was released a year ago.

The updates have all been fairly minor in terms of the features made available to customers, but Joe Belfiore, corporate vice president and manager for Windows Phone program management, said they have been critical in allowing Microsoft and its partners to go after new countries and new market segments.

“The work we are doing is valuable, and a lot of people aren’t aware of it,” Belfiore said.

As for when a more substantive update is coming, Belfiore declined to say, though he acknowledged that the company is working on the next major release of Windows Phone.

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There’s a lot of attention and PR around Marissa, but their product lineup just kind of blows.

— Om Malik on Bloomberg TV, talking about Yahoo, the September issue of Vogue Magazine, and our overdependence on Google