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10/22/2010
00:05 AM
Ed Hansberry
Ed Hansberry
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Microsoft Does Windows Phone 7 Updating Right

Even at the height of its popularity in the mid-2000's, Windows Mobile had one attribute that frustrated many users to no end. While Microsoft and hardware partners designed the operating system to be upgradable to at least the next major version, actual upgrades occurred less often than a snowstorm in Phoenix.

Even at the height of its popularity in the mid-2000's, Windows Mobile had one attribute that frustrated many users to no end. While Microsoft and hardware partners designed the operating system to be upgradable to at least the next major version, actual upgrades occurred less often than a snowstorm in Phoenix.Carriers and sellers of PDAs often viewed the devices as a normal phone. As long as it continued to do what it did when they sold it to you, they were happy, and thought you should have been as well. Consumers, on the other hand, viewed the devices as what they really were, a smartphone, which is really just a small computer. Consumers know that computers are generally upgradable to the next version of operating system, even when the manufacturer doesn't directly support it.

This all made Microsoft look bad because the Windows Mobile owner looked at it as a Microsoft device, even if they purchased it from AT&T or Verizon. The truth was, Microsoft wanted the devices to be upgraded and frequently provided minor updates, like service packs that occasionally had new features and even major updates to the next major release often well below the original licensing rate. The problem is, Microsoft couldn't provide the updates directly to the consumer, either for contractual reasons or because the carrier would have to add their drivers to the mix to make it work on a particular device.

With Windows Phone 7, that all changes. Microsoft has taken ownership of upgrades, even when it ultimately comes through your carrier. To get more details on how the process works, including a walk-through of a phone being updated, check out this article at Windows Phone Thoughts. Jason Dunn sat down with Microsoft's Program Manager for Windows Phone Update Andrew Brown to discuss the new process.

Now that we've been told features like Copy and Paste will be coming to the platform in early 2011, it is nice to know that it is a pretty sure bet you'd see it on your phone, compared to the relatively insignificant chance were updates distributed under the old model.

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