The long rumored and recently confirmed update to Windows Phone 8 is now called Update 3, and Microsoft has just announced that the next major update to the platform will be pushed to smartphone in the coming weeks.

And as expected, Update 3 will be included by default on all Windows Phone devices that are to be announced on October 22 at the Nokia World 2013 event.

Redmond has also announced that it will offer early access to Windows Phone 8 Update 3 Preview for free to Windows Phone developers. But in reality, anyone can gain access to this preview program starting today if they feel a little adventurous.

But first, here is what Microsoft says on this:

“Windows Phone Preview for Developers program, which officially launches later today, gives app builders early access to our operating system updates so they can verify that their apps work as expected on the new code.”

Now, obviously, to be able to download Windows Phone 8 Update 3 you will need a developer unlocked phone, and have to be either a registered Windows Phone Store developer or a registered Windows Phone App Studio developer.

The development program has a $19 membership fee, but not everyone has a developer unlocked smartphone at hand. A workaround to this, in case you want in on early access, is to use an App Studio account, which is free.

Do keep in mind though that this update will only include Microsoft specific enhancements. Firmware and drivers specific to your particular device are not something on offer — you will have to wait for your manufacturer and wireless carrier for these.

But in any case, we are nearing the official launch of Windows Phone 8 Update 3, and as Redmond states, the deployment is set for kick off in the coming weeks and will continue for several months.

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