Microsoft details the complicated WP7 update process

If you’re a Windows Phone 7 user (like me and a quite a few others on Neowin), you’re likely frustrated at the lack of Windows Phone 7 (WP7) updates since launch. Now, before you yell “They aren’t slow!” you should take a look at this post by Paul Thurrott. The fact is that if you purchased a WP7 at launch, it’s been a long wait for a wide range of performance and bug fixes, and for the implementation of copy and paste.

This is the update that's been causing a lot of 'anxiety'.

Luckily Microsoft is paying attention. Eric Hautala, whose job it is to get these updates out to WP7 users worldwide, has just shed some light on the update process for WP7. In short, Eric acknowledges that they have been slow and that the slowness is causing many of us to be “understandably anxious”. He explains that with 9 handsets on 60 carriers (in 30 countries), the process can be complex. After Microsoft and the OEMs complete their parts of the update, all of the carriers have to test the update on their networks to ensure that it doesn’t cause any problems for them or their customers. The various carriers have different testing times and requirements, which can hold up rollouts of updates, and Eric emphasizes that this is normal practice for rolling out software updates on any phone – he however doesn’t mention that Apple bypasses carriers completely when rolling out updates.

The potential for carriers to block updates has been a big concern for a number of WP7 users, and Eric doesn’t actually discount the theory that carriers can block updates. Instead, he explains that Microsoft works hard with carriers to get updates out on time and that WP7 users “should ultimately receive all the updates” that Microsoft sends out. Note the usage of the word “should”.

So what’s the good news in all this? Well, Microsoft is listening. It’s likely that they’ll learn from their mistakes and the publicity those mistakes have had, and they’ll be working to improve future update rollouts. Eric also says that the delayed launch of NoDo “should in no way impact the timing of future updates, including the one announced recently at Mobile World Congress featuring multitasking, a Twitter feature, and a new HTML 5-friendly version of Internet Explorer Mobile.”

Head over to the Windows Phone Blog for the full article.

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