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Phablet_StartScreenProductivity_01_072A1240Just don’t call it Windows Phone 8.1.

Microsoft’s new “Update 3” for Windows Phone 8, unveiled this morning, adds support for screens as large as five or six inches, with 1080P dispays — creating room for “jumbo-sized” Start screens that can hold as many as three standard or six small live tiles across the screen.

The image at right, provided by Microsoft, gives a sense for what the experience will be like on these larger devices.

Other new features include a safe driving mode that activates automatically when connected to a Bluetooth device in the car. Microsoft separately says that it has improved the Bluetooth connection quality with this update. (I’m crossing my fingers, because that’s a glitch I’ve been struggling with when trying to use my HTC 8X in the car.)

Microsoft says it has also improved and simplified the Internet sharing feature for tethering Windows 8.1 computers and tablets over Bluetooth.

In addition, the company says it’s adding new storage settings to “make it easier to free up space on your phone and manage temporary files.” This will hopefully help address the “other” storage problem that inexplicably takes up space on Windows Phones.

OK, so when can existing Windows Phone users get their hands on this thing?

In a blog post, the company says, “the rollout initially kicks off in the coming weeks and will continue over several months. Specific timing depends on a number of factors including your carrier and phone model.”

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