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Dear Windows Phone 7 owners…
…why all the crying?
Owners of slick HTC and LG devices have been rattling the walls of forums and blogs across the web, united in their disgruntlement… and meanwhile, Samsung Omnia 7 owners are still waiting for their NoDo “copy and paste” update, the one that was first released in February 2011.
So, do these people feel happy that they’re not the recipients of the latest Windows Phone 7.5 upgrade, which delivers a host of great new features to their devices? Of course they don't!
In fact, most of them are angry, laboring instead under the misapprehension that they have some sort of entitlement to the upgrade, mainly because it is free and they have spent hundreds of dollars on their phones.
While you can see things from their perspective, we should be clear on a few things first. Microsoft has been through this update procedure a few times now. They’ve learned plenty of lessons from the pre-NoDo, the NoDo and the post-NoDo updates, and from what I’ve seen so far the Mango update process is a far more stable experience than the earlier ones.
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Remembering What Is To Come
After all, patience is a virtue.
Throwing your phone out of the pram just because you’ve been placed lower down the list than someone you have never met on a forum you just discovered isn’t going to make it come any quicker. In fact you can check Microsoft and their network partner’s progress at the Where’s my phone update? page.
But if we spend a few moments thinking about the fantastic new features such as improvements to the Office, messaging, better user interface options and a faster camera – not to mention general speed enhancements and a revised Marketplace UI – then it becomes clear that this is more than just an update.
It’s pretty much a brand new phone.
As much as I loved the initial release of Windows Phone, my affection was mainly geared towards Xbox LIVE integration and the Metro UI. One of my bugbears with iOS is the apparent stagnation of the once-revolutionary user interface, so to finally find that Microsoft of all companies had found a way to make phones even slicker came as a total surprise.
In truth, however, things were missing from Windows Phone, a wide selection of omissions from copy and paste to the inability to save your preferred camera settings.
Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” changes all of that, finally putting the platform on an even keel with Android and iOS.
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Has Microsoft Learned Lessons?
Now while I’m one of the lucky ones who have been able to enjoy the Mango update, this doesn’t mean that the process is perfect. For a start, I employed a popular hack to force the official download onto my phone, something which wouldn’t be required if the process was more refined.
With the previous update, the issues experienced by Samsung owners appear to derive from a lack of communication between Microsoft, Samsung and the carriers. This issue dragged on for so long (with typical silence from Microsoft for some weeks) that if nothing has been taken from this embarrassing mistake then there is a lack of joined up thinking at Redmond. Customers will vote with their wallets in the face of these types of problems.
What Microsoft should have learned from the previous updates is the simple process of communication, both with partners and with customers. Windows Phone was a bit of a risk for some users in a marketplace where Android and iOS are dominant. Most buyers chose the platform because of the user interface, because they had previously used Windows Mobile, because the platform wasn’t Android or iOS or a combination of the three. Therefore these early adopters deserve the courtesy of good communication, something which seems to be happening with the Mango roll out.
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Improving the Update Process
However, this isn’t to say that the current update process isn’t without its faults. Improvements need to be made in time for the Apollo update in 2012, and there needs to be an option for over the air (OTA) updating of the platform.
Now, it could be that the Mango update was so comprehensive that an OTA update was unreasonable to the carriers. If this is the case, however, the previous copy and paste update from early 2011 would have been available as an OTA installation.
Instead, it looks like this is an area that Microsoft is happy to avoid until they polish the current update process.
A single/limited feature rolling update is an option, but in fact Microsoft has already made several low-key updates to Windows Phone. This tells us that rolling updates (a term used to describe continuously releasing updates rather than restricting them to the usual single release) are something that Microsoft is happy to consider (one only has to take a look at Windows Update on a PC or laptop to see that the rolling updates model is very much embraced). They are more than likely to adopt whichever method is most effective in distributing the update.
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Stay Calm and Carry On
Microsoft has got to the bottom of the problems they had rolling out the previous update, from issues with distribution to faults applying the update.
If you haven’t yet received your Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update, be patient and stick to the message – your turn will come, and you will be suitably impressed by what is surely the most comprehensive mobile phone update ever!
- Image credits: Windows Phone Newsroom, http://www.microsoft.com/presspass/presskits/windowsphone/imageGallery.aspx
- Update process screenshot provided by author.
- Where's my phone update?, http://www.microsoft.com/windowsphone/en-us/features/update-schedule-world.aspx