Windows Phone Updates Add Features, Boost Performance, Reliability - InformationWeek
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Windows Phone Updates Add Features, Boost Performance, Reliability

Got a Windows Phone running version 7.5? Make sure you take advantage of the updates that have come out since 7.5 was released. There are numerous performance and reliability enhancements and bug fixes, as well as changes that are phone- or region-specific.

Microsoft has released an update to Windows Phone 7.5 that makes text messaging more flexible.

Windows Phone Update Notice
The 8773 Windows Phone update improves messaging. (Click for larger view).
Update 7.10.8773.98 is the latest of three general updates Microsoft has issued since the release of Windows Phone 7.5, a.k.a. Mango. The 8773 update allows you to attach multiple items--images, ringtones, videos, and audio notes--to text messages. The update also includes "many other improvements to Windows Phone," according to Microsoft. Another change in the update, not mentioned on the Microsoft updates history page, is the ability to export phone contacts to a SIM card and import them selectively from a SIM card.

The first of the three updates fixes bugs in Exchange Server use and voice mail and is available only in certain markets. This might be because the voice mail problem was limited to "some European and Asian networks under certain conditions," according to Microsoft.

The second update, 7.10.8107.79, consists mostly of bug fixes for the on-screen keyboard, a Google mail synching problem, a location access problem, an email problem when using Exchange Server 2003, and a voicemail notification bug "...on some European and Asian networks under certain conditions." The update also revokes certain digital certificates that had been the victims of an encryption problem.

Microsoft said the texting update "... is not available in all markets or for all phones." However, my Nokia Lumia 900 detected the 8773 update and it was applied when I synched with Zune on my PC.

My Lumia 900 found a fourth update, numbered 8779 and entitled "NOKIA Update for Windows Phone," so it's likely not available for other phones. It's also not mentioned on the Microsoft updates page, but there is a page about it from Nokia. The features added in the Nokia update are:

  • Flip-to-silence, which mutes your ringer if you turn the phone over. According to Nokia, "This will come in real handy if you're in a meeting or with a close friend and you wish to not be interrupted."
  • Camera performance enhancements.
  • Battery performance enhancements.
  • Startup sequence performance enhancements.
  • Improved reliability opening the camera when the phone is locked using the dedicated camera button.
  • Support for the Contacts Share app, to send and receive business cards as text messages (Canada only).
  • Proximity sensor performance enhancements (Canada only).
  • Removes purple hue which affected some phones in low-light conditions (Canada only).

Updates to Windows Phone 7.x must be applied by synching to a computer. Thanks to Paul Thurott for this recommendation: "Generally speaking, it's best that you do this on a PC for which you have a non-guest sync relationship. That's because it's possible that an update could fail and if you're syncing as guest, you could lose some data."

Over-the-air updates will be supported in Windows Phone 8, expected late this year.

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