This week has been all about Microsoft’s resurgence in the smartphone space. Its Windows Phone OS has hardly been near the top of the agenda of most tech watchers since its launch just over a year ago. But finally, after a lengthy wait, the platform is stepping into the limelight.
The new flagship Nokia Lumia 800, billed by Stephen Elop as “the first real Windows Phone”, promises to be something very special. But beyond that launch the news that the new Windows Phone Mango update is now available for all compatible devices shows the Big M is really starting to get into its stride.
Microsoft’s Eric Hautala announced via the Windows Team Blog that the OS was fully available for every major Windows Phone going. That might not seem like a big deal on the surface, but it marks a huge turnaround after the failure to get the early 2011 NoDo update out in quick fashion.
That particular debacle caused worry and consternation at the time, with fears that the OS was destined to fail just months after its arrival on a string of HTC, Samsung and LG handsets. But Microsoft really has learned its lesson.
It uses its ‘Where My Phone Update?’ page to keep users informed of when updates are available by handset and network. This is something Google could really learn from when it comes to Android.
Today’s news also proves that the closed approach that Microsoft has adopted makes getting new software out much easier.
There are no delays here. Manufacturing partners have to get the update onto their phones as part of their deals with Redmond.
Google’s looser approach has caused untold troubles with fragmentation and it remains to be seen if Android Ice Cream Sandwich will solve this problem.
This isn’t to say that Windows Phone doesn’t face challenges, Android remains rampant and iOS is storming ahead thanks to the release of iOS 5 and the iPhone 4S.
But consumers can look at the update news and the new Nokia handsets and see not only real progress, but a willingness to keep the public abreast of developments in timely fashion.
That counts for a lot in the long run and it’s great to see a behemoth like Microsoft taking this approach. Whether Windows Phone can reach the giddy heights of its rivals Google and Apple remains to be seen.
However, one thing is for sure: all the pieces are now in place for a big push through until the end of 2011 and into 2012.