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Microsoft Scraps 'Where's My Phone Update?' Site 162

An anonymous reader writes "Microsoft disappointed some Windows Phone users on Friday by saying it would stop providing specifics about who will get software updates and when, and announcing vaguely that a new update is 'available to all carriers that request it.' The update fixes a few issues, including one that caused the on-screen keyboard to disappear and another that caused problems with synching Gmail. Eric Hautala, general manager of customer experience engineering for Windows Phone, said Microsoft will no longer say when people will get updates based on their country, phone model and carrier."
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Microsoft Scraps 'Where's My Phone Update?' Site

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  • by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08, 2012 @02:16AM (#38627494)

    They took the phone manufacturers and carries out of the update process. When they release their updates, users of current and recently released devices get the update which they can apply. The other mobile OS makers need to make the same sort of change or they fear annoying what users they have left.

    • Re: (Score:3, Insightful)

      by Osgeld ( 1900440 )

      yea that is a lot easier when you only have one product to support (hint thats apple's magic, similar to how the Model T was really easy to find touch up paint for)

      • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

        Enough years have gone by they have a lot of different product lines, and different versions of the same product (different runs of the different parts, that sort of thing).

        Getting carriers to go along with that for anyone else is an uphill battle. The iPhone basically got one carrier to agree to this scheme, and everyone else has to go along with it because it's just that awesome (supposedly), and sells that much. But they aren't happy about it, and I'm sure they don't really want to let it happen again.

        • The iPhone basically got one carrier to agree to this scheme, and everyone else has to go along with it because it's just that awesome (supposedly), and sells that much. But they aren't happy about it, and I'm sure they don't really want to let it happen again.

          Why? One would think that the carriers would enthusiastically support an update that makes the phone easier to use (and thus run up a phone bill).

          • by Sir_Sri ( 199544 )

            No, carriers want you to buy a phone, and then never use it, but pay fees for services you don't use. They hate something like Siri, because it uses bandwidth you've paid for, which costs them money to reliably support. They're rather you paid them for doing nothing.

            They also, I think legitimately, got used to the idea that they all had their own networks, and anything on their network needed to be tested on their network. They are liable for support costs if something goes wrong with the phone, they ha

    • http://www.businessinsider.com/android-activations-2011-12 [businessinsider.com]

      "The other mobile OS makers need to make the same sort of change or they fear annoying what users they have left."


      • by sapphire wyvern ( 1153271 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @03:14AM (#38627660)

        Well, Android is selling like cocaine hotcakes.

        But I, for one, am sick of getting no support from the manufacturers of my last two Android phones. Next time I'm up for a new phone, I am going to give the iPhone very serious consideration.

        Maybe it's only nerds like me and other Slashdot posters who care about getting OS updates for their phones, rather than the general market... but it is a major shortcoming of the Android ecosystem when compared to Apple's offering.

        • by woodsbury ( 1581559 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @03:39AM (#38627702)

          Well, if you want Android but you want to get updates straight from the OS manufacturer like you do with the iPhone... then get a Nexus? That's what they're for.

          It's the same as the people who complain about the custom skin on their phone and say they just want plain, vanilla Android. Some people don't care about that, but if you're someone who does, then the Nexus range of phones is specifically designed for you.

          • Not always that easy to get a nexus on the carrier you want.

            • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

              Plus, they only come out about once a year and tend to be pricey or even unsubsidized (and you don't save money without the subsidy except in certain circumstances that I can't take advantage of - when T-Mobile did offer them the math didn't make sense for a family plan).

              I got my G2 for free (subsidized). The only Nexus option at the time that made sense was the Nexus S, which did not offer 4G, and which lacked a keyboard, and which cost $200. I just couldn't see spending $200 more for a phone I generally

              • by Rich0 ( 548339 )

                Sorry - self-correction. I'm actually not sure if the Nexus One met my critiera of support for the duration of a contract. First, it wasn't subsidized anyway, and second, it wasn't sold for that long. However, I don't think it got updates for two years from the date of last sale, unlike every iPhone sold to date.

          • I seriously looked at getting a Nexus S, actually. IIRC its radio was not compatible with the frequency spectrum used by the best network around here in Australia (Telstra's NextG network).

            The new Nexus Galaxy, happily, does support the UMTS/HSPA bands that are used by Telstra. (The Nexus Galaxy's LTE radio, on the other hand, is completely useless here. The Telstra NextG network LTE rollout has actually started with equipment in city centres and airports, but again, it's on a different frequency spectrum t

      • McDonalds sell a million hamburgers a day, so does that mean every hamburger seller must do what McDonalds do?

        Android phones range from tacky cheap to quality expensive, so do all it's mainstream competitors need to cover the same range? Of course not. So as usual, pure sales figures are meaningless.

    • For every handset vendor to do this you would need to break the control carriers have over the handset market.

    • by uhmmmm ( 512629 )
      How have they taken the phone manufacturer out of the equation? They _are_ the phone manufacturer.
  • MS isn't the problem (Score:4, Informative)

    by Anonymous Coward on Sunday January 08, 2012 @02:23AM (#38627530)

    Just speaking from my experiences with Blackberries, the slowdown always seems to be on the Telco's end. There had been many important updates which were put out by Blackberry... but ATT wouldn't release them for a month, or sometimes a few months, after Blackberry released it.

    This is, once again, another example of why these companies need to be "dumb pipes" through which we access the internet. There's no practial reason we can't have a phone which simply connects to the internet for all it's needs, aside from the Telco's blocking it from happening.

  • by flyingfsck ( 986395 ) on Sunday January 08, 2012 @02:31AM (#38627552)
    What happened to phones that Just Work? I don't want to update my phone. It must be reliable, just like an analogue wire line phone used to be.
    • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

      by Anonymous Coward

      They got 'smart'

    • What happened to phones that Just Work? I don't want to update my phone. It must be reliable, just like an analogue wire line phone used to be.

      "used to be"? (checks dial tone and breathes sigh of relief).

    • by Anonymous Coward

      Get a Nokia 3310 and be happy.

      It Just Works (Even If You Throw It at the Wall). Dare to try that with your sissy smartphones, eh?

    • by Kufat ( 563166 )

      Here you go. [greatcall.com]

      Seriously, if people want computer functionality on phones, they're going to have to deal with the associated tradeoffs. A lot of people stick with feature phones for just this reason; I did too until recently. Nothing wrong with either choice as long as it comes from an informed decision.

    • by dingen ( 958134 )
      What makes you think a phone with the occasional software update isn't reliable?
  • the first update affected by this policy change benefits a competitor. what severity is the gmail bug which this patch claims to address?
    • by cdrnet ( 1582149 )

      Can't be very serious. I have multiple gmail accounts configured on my WP7.5 and never even heard there is supposed to be an issue with gmail, even though I do follow WP7 news actively enough.

      A quick google search does indeed reveal some people having issues around the end of 2010, or something related to syncing with google accounts without gmail (i.e. bound to some other email address).

  • What would be most useful is an independent site listing which phones (on which networks) are missing updates, also listing the phones' state when not in a network subsidised form (often the lack of updates is down to the manufacturer, not the network provider).

    That would allow buyers to see which manufacturer is most likely to leave them in the dust six months after they buy a given phone, and which network is more secure with regard to releasing updates (when available from the manufacturers) compared
  • ...it starts. Welcome to the world of cell phone carriers.

    I'm not a Windows 7 user, but I wonder; can you buy Windows 7 phones unlocked and download updates directly from Microsoft? That might provide some relief.

    • You can buy some WP7 phones unlocked, yes. However, the updates still come from manufacturers that way, not from MS, so you can still end up waiting more or less than someone else.

      • The updates always come from Microsoft - they are actually downloaded (transparently, by the Zune software) from the Windows Update site.

        However, Microsoft doesn't actually build the full updates themselves. They provide a basic kit that the OEM then customizes for their model - things like adding the required drivers for the hardware and system utiltiies, adding the built-in application packages for those utilities, and adding branding customizations and so forth. They then test those updates, a process w

Take your work seriously but never take yourself seriously; and do not take what happens either to yourself or your work seriously. -- Booth Tarkington