Microsoft will no longer give Windows Phone customers detailed information on the progress of updates for their handsets.
Windows Phone customers will no longer be able to see whether their operators are working on giving them updates to the smartphone OS, Microsoft has said. Photo credit: Ben Woods
In a weekly Windows
Phone blog post on Friday, customer experience
engineering general manager Eric Hautala said Microsoft will no longer break down upcoming changes to the OS by country, model and operator on its 'Where's
My Phone Update?' page. He also noted that carriers can refuse to adopt updates for their Windows Phone customers.
Unless a customer has an unlocked smartphone that is not tied to
any particular operator, they have to wait for updates to pass through
their operator's testing and customisation process before it hits
The 'Where's My Phone Update?' page has provided a service to
customers by tracking the progress of each update through the process,
noting whether it is in the testing, scheduling or delivery phase.
However, according to Hautala, this will be stopped "as we [Windows
Phone] continue our growth".
"In the months ahead, we'll continue to send out firmware and
maintenance updates as needed. These will be available across the
globe — although not everybody will receive or require them. It
depends on your country, carrier and phone model. But remember that
you'll never have to guess when a Windows Phone update is waiting:
Just watch for the pop-up notification on your device," Hautala
The Windows Phone team will also stop blogging
about updates, he added, leaving the official Windows Phone site
as the only source of information about changes. At the moment, that
site provides information by linking to the 'Where's My Phone
The blog post swiftly attracted a negative response from commentators,
the very first of whom wrote that "the overall effort that you
mentioned seems to take a step back from clear and transparent
"I never fully understood how updates are deployed (how carriers
play a role in it, and whether critical updates are guaranteed for
every device), nor was it ever clearly explained," commentator Ousooner314 wrote. "This makes the whole process even more
convoluted, and may be off-putting for several users who have
championed the OS so far."
Commentator Darren Baker also protested, this time from the
perspective of a Windows Phone app developer and Microsoft partner. He
was particularly critical of Microsoft's decision to distribute
updates only through carriers that request them.
"This is a mistake of major proportions," Baker wrote. "You entered
your second year, customer satisfaction is at an all-time high and
increasing. Making a change to allow the carriers to [ignore] updates
hurts the end users, the hardware OEMs and ultimately the developers
(and partners) that build applications for your platform."
"We will be going to the way it was, wondering why certain devices
don't work the same or run the apps properly only to find out the
carrier didn't apply a specific update," Baker added.
In his post, Hautala mentioned the latest update to Windows Phone, which
started to roll out last week. Apart from fixing
a 'disappearing keyboard' bug, the 8107 update revokes
Digicert digital certificates "to address an encryption issue", and
fixes an Exchange Server 2003-related email problem to allow original
messages to be included in replies or forwards. A Google Mail syncing
bug is also fixed in the package.
The update also continues Microsoft's quest to tame
the collection by Windows Phones of location-based data. A fix in
the update ensures that the 'Me' feature in the People Hub only sends
anonymous information about nearby Wi-Fi access points and base
stations to Microsoft when the user has agreed to allow the Check In function to collect such data.
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