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AT&T Ships Windows Phone Updates

The nation's second largest carrier and "Premier Partner" for Windows Phone is finally releasing the NoDo update.
Microsoft released the much anticipated NoDo update in March which includes copy and paste functionality. Globally most carriers and manufacturers released the update soon thereafter with one notable exception. AT&T has held up the update for its users, causing frustration among its users and much digital ink to be spilled in blogs by bloggers and on social networks by angry customers.

For weeks the status page "Where's my phone update" has listed the three AT&T devices with testing next to their name. That changed over the weekend.

The LG Quantum and Samsung Focus moved to scheduling, which normally takes ten days. However, WinRumors has obtained an internal email that is written to inform support personnel. The bad news is for those of you with the HTC Surround, the update won't be available until mid-May.

"Effective April 19, 2011, new Microsoft maintenance release updates will be available to AT&T customers with existing LG Quantum and Samsung Focus Windows Phone 7 devices. Approved updates for the HTC Surround are scheduled for availability in mid-May and will be communicated once approved."

There are actually two updates that are being pushed. Remember the February update that did little more than prepare phone for future updates? AT&T never released that either. Now the carrier is doing both at the same time, which means you get to do the update process twice in rapid succession.

There is also something in letter that looks interesting. Near the end, it says "The Headliner for the 7390 (NoDo) MR is that it adds Copy/Paste functionality but additional functionality is included that is unique to AT&T." There is no indication in that letter as to what the unique functionality is, but Microsoft's Windows Phone Blog gives it away. Your phone will be equipped with the AT&T Address Book.

Wow, seriously? A custom address book app? It will backup and sync your contacts to AT&T's servers so should something ever happen to your phone, you can restore your contacts as long as you replace it with a phone from AT&T that supports the AT&T Address Book. Not all of them do.

The problem is, of course, every smartphone sold on planet Earth today already has this functionality, and more, via BlackBerry Internet Server for consumers or BlackBerry Enterprise Server for businesses for RIM's BlackBerry devices and Exchange ActiveSync for webOS, iOS, Android, Windows Phone, and Symbian. Just hook your device up to either your corporate servers or another service like Gmail that supports contact sync. Now not only are your contacts backed up to the cloud, they are somewhere that you can actually use them since they are tied to your email account.

I really hope AT&T hasn't delayed these updates to get this "unique functionality" finished. No one should be using this. It amazes me the money carriers spend on useless or redundant software just to get their logo in a few more places. The code takes up space, introduces the possibility of compatibility errors, and can possibly delay the deployment of ROM updates that have real functionality users crave.