One of the litany of new features coming to Windows Phone 8 is support for OTA updates. Sure, that clearly means no more tethering to Zune each time a new update rolls around, but we’ve been wondering about exactly how else this new system will affect how Microsoft and WP8 OEMs deliver new code to their users. Some details of the process have just emerged, filling us in on some of that info.
WP8 users should be able to select between either manual or automatic updates. When updating automatically, the phone should try to wait for an opportunity to download the update over a WiFi network, and once it’s all saved locally, will prompt you to install it. You can always put that off until later, but once you decide to go through with it, the phone will reset, the update will install, and in ten minutes or less the phone should reset again, booting back up with the update in place.
The manual update works in much the same way, except your phone won’t download anything until you give it the go-ahead. You’ll also be able to force it to retrieve the update over a cellular data connection if no WiFi network is available.
The source behind this info also describes several size-based classes of updates, allowing for them to be retrieved in different ways – for example, a carrier could allow smaller updates to go out OTA, but make you find a WiFi network for larger installs. We still need a little clarification on exactly that will work, as it seems to conflict with some of the info on the manual update process, but the important take away is that smaller bugfix updates will be treated differently from broader, system-wide updates. The hope is that this system will also let some updates arrive without the need for carrier approval.