The model Microsoft introduced with Windows Phone somehow guaranteed that no device will be left behind software update-wise. Of course there were some carrier related glitches over the past year where it took one certain network operator longer than others to test and approve an update but nevertheless, phones received the refresh. There were also some problems related to certain phones (Focus, Omnia 7) but still, those phones more or less are rocking the latest platform iteration.
Eric Hautala posted his weekly blog article and he says: “In the months ahead, we’ll continue to send out firmware and maintenance updates as needed. These will be available across the globealthough not everybody will receive or require them. It depends on your country, carrier, and phone model“. Let’s think about that for a second; firmware and maintenance updates often contain device specific improvements that will be destined for certain phones only (related often to drivers, fixes, etc.). It is normal for just some users to get them and they usually keep the OS build numbers unchanged. This it totally understandable.
What worries me a little is that Microsoft is introducing carriers in this equation. Carriers, even in the past, where Microsoft controlled the update process, were known to sit (often for too long) on a certain update. Giving carriers the opportunity to request a certain update and to decide whether to roll it out or not could mean future problems in Windows Phone-land. As with the latest 8107 update, it will be available “to all carriers that request it“. Could these lead to fragmentation? Yes and no!
Say you have an unlocked Windows Phone from a certain manufacturer; say I have the exact phone bought from a carrier that also happens to offer some other Windows Phones from its line-up. Will it be possible for you to receive a specific firmware and maintenance update on your unlocked phone and for me to go on without it, if the carrier decides not to roll the refresh out? I say it could very well be possible. You could call this fragmentation. I am tempted to call it discrimination (being forced to hypothetically live with bugs 7740 — that have a fix out there 8107 — which is not being requested and delivered). Of course, this is all in theory as carriers will definitely be diligent and prove this theory wrong!
On the other hand, I don’t think fragmentation will be an issue. Windows Phone updates are usually cumulative so if I, for whatever reason, skip one update, I’ll get all the goodies with the next one. I’m also positive that those updates which will bump OS version numbers (from one major release to the other) will be definitely rolled out by all carriers. No (real) fragmentation here; maybe lagging updates…
“As we continue our growth, we won’t be individually detailing country, model, and carrier details on the Where’s My Phone Update? site any longer“. This is probably because nobody will want to see a list in which a certain carrier’s status will be saying “skip”. This is also because it makes no sense to list all the make/model specific updates (they weren’t listed in the past either). The “Where’s my phone update?” page went live on March 24, 2011 and was a great tool with the help of which users could get an approximate idea about the status of the refresh soon to hit their phones.
Not anymore! The weekly posts from the Windows Phone Blog will also seem to stop giving out info; “the official Windows Phone website will be the primary place for news and information about our updates”.
So here we have Microsoft’s new policy and decision regarding the future of the Windows Phone update process. Is Microsoft giving part of the control up? Will there be users left behind (or lagging behind)? Is Microsoft beginning to pull an Android? Let us know what you think!
Source: Windows Phone Blog