This week, Microsoft released a "fixed" version of its first software update for Windows Phone 7 that was designed to alleviate problems reported by a number of Samsung users. However, the Samsung WP7 fix doesn't seem to install correctly for a number of them.
Update 1: Microsoft officials said at the very end of the day on March 4 that the company believes only about 100 Samsung WP7 users have reported problems installing the "fixed" update. The workaround that Microsoft is suggesting for "error 800705B4" is, basically, to delete and reinstall content. Not an optimal solution, by any stretch.
I contacted Microsoft on March 3 to see what the company planned to do now, and waited for an answer more than 24 hours since the first reports of problems began filtering in. On March 4, I was told by a spokesperson the company was looking into the situation, but had nothing further to say.
Makram Daou, who runs MobileTechWorld.com, and was the first to post about the problems with the Samsung WP7 fix, had some interesting observations about what seems to be going wrong.
"From what I'm seeing (the Samsung WP7 update problem) must be related to the phone's storage, probably the way apps and content are installed on the phone. Some are on the ROM and others on the NAND flash (both are formatted as one big partition and seen as such by the OS). I don't know why it's only an issue on Samsung devices, because LG's handsets essentially have the same setup (but not the same NAND type/manufacturer)" Daou told me.
He noted that some WP7 Samsung users were able to apply the first and revised updates after they erased most of the content on their phones. And he had an interesting suggestion for those WP7 users having problems. Instead of going the Microsoft-suggested route of applying the update, which is downloaded on the host PC before the phone is backed-up and then updated. Daou suggested that users do a hard reset of their phones before trying to update as this currently seems to be the safest way to do it. The resulting update process does take longer, but it seems to be a way to alleviate the update issue, he said.
Microsoft -- at least until this WP7 update fiasco began on February 23 -- was expected to begin rolling out the first "major" update for WP7 on or around March 8. That update, codenamed "NoDo," is slated to add copy-and-paste functionality, CDMA support, and improved performance and marketplace search, to WP7 devices. I'll be curious whether NoDo hits next week or not, given the ongoing update issues.
Meanwhile, Windows Phone Secrets author Paul Thurrott has said that he hears it will be next-to-impossible for Microsoft to roll out its second major WP7 update this year. That release, codenamed "Mango," includes IE 9 Mobile, among other new features.
Unlike Thurrott, I didn't write a book about Windows Phone 7. In fact, I'm still using a loaner device, since there is no WP7 on Verizon. But I will say I am hearing that Microsoft recently promised its OEMs and carriers that they will get the Mango bits by early fall at the latest, enabling them to ship WP7 phones running Mango in time for holiday 2011. So unless Microsoft has gone back very recently and told those partners "Just kidding!" -- I still am betting we'll see WP7s running Mango in 2011.