There’s no getting around the fact that Microsoft’s update plans for Windows Phone 7 have been a complete mess. A preparatory software boost, designed to lay the groundwork for a heftier, copy-and-paste-packing upgrade, ended up bricking phones and caused delays which the company has tried hard to explain away. Now though, the latter update, dubbed “NoDo”, is ready-to-roll. Well, kind of.
Microsoft has said it’s ready, but that now it’s down to networks and OEMs to get their act together. And as Google knows, rolling out software updates to smartphones is a lengthy, laborious process if you’ve got loads of companies all working towards the same goal.
But here Microsoft must be commended. It’s released a table on its Windows Phone blog. Called ‘Where’s my phone update?’, it lays out update plans by carrier. Just hit the page and you can see how your network is getting on with releasing the first, preparatory update and the copy-and-paste one.
Sadly, the table doesn’t make for good reading. All the major UK carriers are either still testing or scheduling the copy-and-paste software, with some still testing the first patch. Yet while it’s easy to get wound up about this, it’s brilliant to see a big company actually telling its customers about a situation, rather than hiding behind short official statements and platitudes about why they care about and value their customers.
If anything, Microsoft is suffering from the same issues that dogged Android updates. Froyo’s lengthy rollout has caused much consternation and it appears Gingerbread is going to do the same. By releasing a table like this, perhaps once monthly along with fragmentation statistics, Google could do a hell of a lot to appease its huge customer base. And rather than just distribute the stats online for mobile watchers to pore over and phone fanatics to search for, it could make posters and signage for stores which sell its phones, explaining if and when an upgrade is coming.
That way, customers would have the full facts in front of them and know whether a phone they’re buying really is going to be at the bleeding edge whenever they want it to be.
Microsoft might be taking a sluggish approach to WP7. But with this simple table, it’s shown just how its rivals should operate. Here’s hoping that Google sits up and takes notice.