Windows Phone 7 was launched at the end of 2010 — October 11 for Europe and Australia, adding America on November 8 — and, at that time, had ambitions for 30 countries worldwide, with support for five languages and a Marketplace operating in 17 countries. On February 21, 2011, Microsoft started pushing out the first ever Windows Phone 7 update in a first major global project of this kind in Redmond’s mobile history.
As we’re convinced you’ve heard us talking in our PocketCast (that is Episode 5, starting 10:41), there were mixed thoughts regarding both the update availability - carrier and region-wise - it’s purpose as well as the need (or on the contrary) of a SIM card. While the generally known as induced idea is that your device has to have a SIM card of a Windows Phone 7 partner carrier in it, we’ve shown you that the update process is possible without a SIM card.
As most of you would know by now, I am living in Romania, which was neither a launch country nor part of the countries with Marketplace availability. My daily driver is an LG Optimus 7, unlocked, rocking a Vodafone Romania prepaid SIM card. It was about 20 minutes ago that I’ve received the update notification upon syncing my device with Zune.
Needless to say the update was smooth as butter and took approximately 7 to 10 minutes from start to finish. It just so happens that I quickly managed to get access to another, not yet updated, LG Optimus 7, unlocked as mine, without a SIM card. Upon connecting to my PC’s Zune, the device instantly received the update notification and started the process in a similar way and is now, around 10 minutes later, running build 7008 of Windows Phone 7.
Here are our thoughts and theories on the update topic: Windows Phone 7 does not need a partner carrier SIM card actually it needs no SIM card at all to update itself! Quod erat demonstrandum (again)! What do we think? Windows Phone 7 definitely needs access to the Internet in order to get an update notification. Since Data Connection is the only permanent Internet connection you’ll ever get on your smartphone thanks to your carrier — many people will regard this, and the SIM card, a prerequisite for the update.
Luckily you don’t have to travel to another country, put in a “partner” SIM, wait for the notification, update your phone and return, if you are in a country like mine Windows Phone 7-wise. If your phone can access the Internet via WiFi or by using your PC’s connection via Zune, you will receive the notification once your device - or generally, the make and model - is flagged for an update. If you own a carrier branded Windows Phone 7, you might receive the update a tad later as carriers often apply certain (but basic) customizations and include pre-installed programs. They need some time for this as well as for testing purposes but once the carrier approves the update, it will be pushed out to your device (our belief) regardless if you rock the corresponding SIM card or not.
So, taken all the above into consideration, hold on tight! Regardless of your Windows Phone 7 make, model, operator carrying it, SIM card and other variables, you will get the update! This and all the upcoming ones.