Mar 11, 2011

my thoughts on the very much delayed Windows Phone 7 update

Microsoft posted a blog post today on how is the update process with Windows Phone 7. I for one have been quite frustrated on why my February update (which is just a preparation for the real update) has not yet been seen on my HTC Surround, which is already 20 days after it started rolling out with consumers. It is really frustrating, specially we have been hearing this "NoDo" update that includes the copy-paste functionality since December. It's March now, and like an Android device that hasn't been updated to version 2.3, it is long overdue.

I get it Microsoft. 9 devices in 60 mobile operators are plenty. I understand why the device manufacturers needs to get involved, as they are the ones who created the phones. But what I do not understand is the involvement of the mobile operators. Why do they need to get involved with these updates? This paragraph from today's blog states,

This combination makes up our update, which we dispatch to the cellular carriers around the world that sell Windows Phones. The carriers then conduct their own tests to help ensure that the new software works correctly both on their networks and the Windows Phone models they sell.

Aren't the phone models that they sell are the responsibility of the device manufacturers? And I don't understand why do they need to test if copy-paste works with their network? Does improved load times on games, improved marketplace search, and all the included updates affect their network as well? And if they do affect their network, does it really take three months for them to test it out?

But now here's the thing. The latest Windows Phone 7 device, which is the HTC Arrive on Sprint, would already have the copy-paste update. That is unfair for me, as the last one to be in running in the race gets to have the reward. Another thing that is confusing is that the HTC Arrive is the first Windows Phone 7 that will have a CDMA radio in it, which therefore the device should have the update much later, as Microsoft worked with GSM radios before they worked with CDMA.

I wouldn't blame it all on carriers though. As with the February update screwing some Samsung phones, device manufacturers are also to be blamed. With Samsung's track record with updates on Android, which by the way a lot of had been pulled because of crazy issues, I think Samsung just can't update their phones properly. That's the truth and everyone knows that. It's an absolute shame on Samsung's part -- as the Omnia 7 is such an awesome device made by a manufacturer that doesn't know how to do updates.

But one company I applaud, is HTC. Not only they have the highest number of Android phones that was updated in 2010, they also developed amazing software whether it is the Sense UI on Windows Mobile or Android, but also with the HTC apps and the HTC hub on Windows Phone 7. If you own a Windows Phone 7 device that is not made by HTC, I bet you dream of having the HTC hub, don't you? Not only that, as HTC already leaked ROMs containing the copy-paste updates with their WP7 phones. Unfortunately, there is no Surround love, but I blame AT&T for that.

So I guess Windows Phone's update process is a step closer to how Android's update process is. These damn carriers are so lazy to update their phones thus resulting a device to be updated so late. But in Windows Phone's case, ALL of the devices are updated late. I just repeatedly say to my mind that at least all Windows Phone 7 devices will be updated eventually.

But this whole update ordeal is a mess.  Here's a million dollar idea, Microsoft. Proceed with the updates sooner. Do not wait for every carrier or manufacturer to give you a go sign to deploy the update. Deploy them to the carrier or manufacturer who tested and approved it. I mean, why would we wait and suffer for an update just because a carrier in that is halfway around the world hasn’t tested the update yet? I think when we update that way, I think carriers and manufacturers will speed up to do their part to stay competitive. We'll also know who's carrier or manufacturer is the laziest to do updates. But I think we already knew that.

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