Microsoft is investigating reports of Windows Phone 7 owners experiencing unexplained data usage on their devices. The number of affected users remains unclear.
Microsoft is investigating claims of a Windows Phone 7 bug
that devours users' data, even when they're not running apps or cruising the
reported via news channels like the BBC, some Windows Phone 7 users have
reported their phones sending relatively significant amounts of data per day-at
rates ranging from 2 to 5MB per hour to
between 30 and 50MB of data within a 24-hour
"This is a curiously common problem, and I'm sort of shocked
Microsoft hasn't addressed this publicly yet, either to confirm it or offer a
fix," Paul Thurrott, curator of the Supersite for Windows, wrote
in a Jan. 2 response to one user allegedly experiencing unexplained data
drain. "Basically what's happening is that the phone is utilizing the 3G data
connection even when Wi-Fi is available. It's not clear what app(s) or part(s)
of the OS is causing this, but it's definitely widely reported."
Microsoft reports it's looking into the issue. The number of
users potentially affected remains unclear.
"We are investigating this issue to determine the root cause
and will update with information and guidance as it becomes available," a
Microsoft spokesperson wrote in a Jan. 11 email to eWEEK.
Windows Phone 7 consolidates Web content and applications
into a set of six subject-specific Hubs, including "People" and "Office."
Microsoft hopes that the platform, originally released on the U.S. market in
November, will allow it to reverse several quarters' worth of declining
market-share in the mobile space, where it faces fierce competition from Google
Android devices and Apple's iPhone.
Microsoft is planning a series of Windows
Phone 7 updates in order to introduce new features to the platform and
tweak it for better performance. During his Jan. 5 keynote at the Consumer
Electronics Show in Las Vegas, Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer suggested those
updates would result in "significant performance improvements when loading and
switching between applications."
During a meeting with eWEEK at CES, a Microsoft executive
placed two Windows Phone 7 smartphones on a table-one with the upcoming
software update, one without-and activated the same game on each. The smartphone
with the software updated booted twice as fast, although the executive warned
that performance improvement would vary depending on the game or app in
Meanwhile, the increased prevalence of productivity apps on
smartphone platforms, including Windows Phone 7's Office hub, has boosted the
need for cut-and-paste, at least among a subset of power users. Perhaps more
importantly for Microsoft, at least from a stature perspective, the addition of
cut-and-paste would bring Windows Phone 7 closer to feature parity with the
iPhone and other rival smartphone platforms.
Currently available on GSM-based networks such as AT&T,
Windows Phone 7 will appear on CDMA networks such as Sprint and Verizon
sometime in the first half of 2011. However, Microsoft executives have declined
to discuss details of those potential CDMA devices.
Microsoft claims some 1.5 million Windows Phone 7 units have
been sold by manufacturers to retailers, although it remains reluctant to share
how many of those devices have ultimately found their way into consumers'
Nicholas Kolakowski is a staff editor at eWEEK, covering Microsoft and other companies in the enterprise space, as well as evolving technology such as tablet PCs. His work has appeared in The Washington Post, Playboy, WebMD, AARP the Magazine, AutoWeek, Washington City Paper, Trader Monthly, and Private Air. He lives in Brooklyn, New York.