Microsoft delivers first over-the-air update for Windows Phone 8

Summary:European HTC 8X Windows Phone 8 users are starting to see the first over-the-air update for their devices. No word yet when U.S. users should expect them.

Microsoft and its carrier partners have started pushing an over-the-air update to Windows Phone 8 users, starting with those outside the U.S., as WPCentral first reported.

htc8xupdate1

The update includes the promised fix for the random reboots reported by a number of Windows Phone 8 users . Microsoft officials said a couple of weeks ago that an over-the-air fix for this issue would be available in December.

The update also seemingly includes other updates and fixes. Among them are an always-connected WiFi capability and some new SMS-focused capabilties, such as select-all, draft saving and call rejection.

(Thanks to reader Ermanno Ferrari, who confirmed the existence of the 8X update and the list of features it provides. He said he has an unlocked HTC 8X on Swisscom and received the set of updates today, December 11. The screen shot he sent also confirms that the update is build number 10211. The base Windows Phone 8 OS was build 9905.)

According to WPCentral, this first update is codenamed "Portico." This isn't the same as the first full update to the Windows Phone OS which will be applied to all handsets, not just the HTC ones. That Windows Phone 8 OS update is supposedly codenamed "Apollo Plus" and may include VPN support, among other features. Apollo Plus sounds like a 2013 deliverable from what's leaked about it so far.

On Verizon here in the U.S., there is no sign of this first batch of operating-system updates for us HTC 8X users. There also is no mention of them on Microsoft's Web site. There doesn't seem to be a Windows Phone 8 OS update history page (yet?), akin to the Windows Phone 7 one.

Microsoft officials wouldn't talk specifics about the features included in the OTA update, but did acknowledge its existence.

"This build contains improvements throughout the product and we’ll continue to improve Windows Phone over time," a spokesperson said.  

I asked when U.S. users would receive the update and have yet to hear back.

Microsoft officials said in June of this year that Microsoft was committed to make Windows Phone updates available over the air, as of Windows Phone 8. At that time, they said Microsoft was taking steps to stop carriers from failing to deliver updates to users who want them. Starting with Windows Phone 8, every Windows Phone customer has access to every update for 18 months after the device launches, officials said.

In other Windows Phone update news, WPCentral is reporting that Nokia Windows Phone 7.x users are going to get a handful of updates simultaneous with Windows Phone 7.8 that will go beyond what Microsoft is providing to all Windows Phone 7.x users. Bluetooth Share (for DRM free media files); the Cinemagraph animation option; new camera lenses; updated contacts-transfer and contacts-share capabilities are all part of the coming refresh, WPCentral says.

Microsoft officials have said the 7.8 update already is on some new phones and will roll out to existing Windows Phone 7.x users by early next year . Resizable tiles, new accent colors, the ability to use Bing images on the lock screen and PIN reset protection are part of Windows Phone OS 7.8.

Update: Microsoft officials are not commenting on whether the OTA update that includes the fix for the rogue rebooting also will be coming to users with Windows Phone 8 devices beyond the HTC 8X. (Any Lumia users out there receiving the update, by chance?)

Microsoft officials also are not commenting on when HTC 8X users in the U.S. should see the update. A spokesperson sent the following statement: “We’re working closely with our hardware and carrier partners to get it tested, approved and rolled out. Some customers are starting to receive the update now.” (I think the reference to some getting the update now refers to Europe only at this point.)

Topics: Smartphones, HTC, Microsoft, Windows

About

Mary Jo Foley has covered the tech industry for 30 years for a variety of publications, including ZDNet, eWeek and Baseline. She is the author of Microsoft 2.0: How Microsoft plans to stay relevant in the post-Gates era (John Wiley & Sons, 2008). She also is the cohost of the "Windows Weekly" podcast on the TWiT network. Got a tip? Se... Full Bio

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