Windows Phone Mango is going to have a tough time getting the attention it deserves, seeing as it’s set to launch around the same time as iOS 5 and the iPhone 5, with Android Ice Cream Sandwich not far behind.
But Microsoft’s approach to the release of its new OS is a lesson in how to keep customers informed and included. This has been seen before when an update to Windows Phone 7 was released earlier this year caused plenty of consternation because it led to myriad issues for owners.
The Big M released a list of scheduled dates and details about when the delayed update would be released, by manufacturer, network and territory. It didn’t speed things up, but it certainly helped refute concerns that the company didn’t care.
Once again, Microsoft’s open approach is in evidence today with the news that it’s sent the “release to manufacturing” build of its new operating system to mobile makers and networks.
That means that phones running the OS will soon be out on shelves. Fujitsu is believed to be releasing the first Mango device in Japan in August. Microsoft used its official Windows Phone blog to tell the world the news, explaining that it’s now working on getting updates for existing Windows Phones ready.
There’s more to this than good customer relations though. Microsoft is quite clearly shifting the onus onto manufacturers and operators, saying that it’s now down to them to test the OS and get it right.
There will of course be kinks and issues. Rolling out an OS to various mobile makers, as Google knows, never runs smoothly. It’ll be up to Nokia, Samsung, HTC and the like, to get it tested and ready, while Vodafone, Orange, Three, T-Mobile and O2 will all have to make sure they get the rollout of updates right.
Microsoft has seen how Apple tends to shut up and shop and not communicate properly with iOS users and how Google has a tendency to stumble from fragmentation crisis to fragmentation crisis and decided it wants to do things differently. It’s great that it’s keeping everyone updated at every turn.
But the real proof will come with sales. Windows Phone Mango needs to make huge strides in the next few months and Microsoft’s partners must be prepared to pull out all the stops. At least the Big M is showing it wants to keep customers old and new happy and informed.