Windows Phone 7 Updates Progress, Slowly
AT&T customers who purchased a Windows Phone 7 smartphone: expect your long-awaited software updates to arrive in April. Maybe.
According to Microsoft's handy chart of Windows Phone 7 updates, three AT&T smartphones-the HTC surround, LG Quantum and Samsung Focus-have entered a "Testing" phase for both their February and March updates, with completion estimated for early April. After that, the devices will enter the "Scheduling" phase, which, according to Microsoft, "typically lasts 10 business days or less."
After that, the updates will be delivered to the smartphones-a process the company admits "might take several weeks." But in theory, if everything proceeds rapidly, those devices could see their new software tweaks delivered before May.
The February update is supposed to clear the way for future software updates, while the March "NoDo" update includes, in addition to some feature tweaks, the long-awaited cut-and-paste functionality.
Ahead of its MIX11 conference, due to kick off April 12 in Las Vegas, Microsoft has taken to its public channels to tout Windows Phone as a viable platform for developers and consumers. A March 30 posting on The Windows Phone Developer Blog reads like a preview of the arguments Microsoft executives will likely make to developers at the conference, to convince them that Windows Phone will remain a suitable landing spot for their applications and services.
Among them: that Windows Phone Developer Tools have proven enormously popular over the past year, having been downloaded some 1.5 million times. That the Windows Phone developer community boasts 36,000 members, and that the Windows Phone 7 ecosystem contains around 11,500 applications.
Based on those numbers, a back-of-the-envelope calculation suggests one application published for approximately every 3.13 developers who signed onto AppHub. It also suggests that, out of the total Windows Phone Developer Tools downloads, less than 1 percent translated into a published application.
"The numbers are not bad, actually," Al Hilwa, an analyst with IDC, wrote in a March 31 email to eWEEK. "I think developers gravitate towards offerings inside their ecosystems first, but if they feel that such ecosystems are dysfunctional, they might jump ship."
Microsoft already maintains a robust .NET/Windows and Microsoft tools ecosystem, he added, "So they are leveraging it well but have also created incentives to bring others from the outside, primarily ISVs who have developed Web, Apple or Android apps or games."
Hilwa's March 30 research note to media, sent a few hours before the email conversation with eWEEK, suggested that Microsoft has surpassed certain application milestones "faster than Android did in its day, albeit it is easier to bring apps to a second- or third-mobile platform than the first time around." Android apparently took 11 months to reach the 10,000-application milestone, something that took Windows Phone 7 around six months.
On the consumer side of the equation, Microsoft has encountered speed bumps related to software updates for Windows Phone 7, which, in turn, has sparked some anger among early adopters. In the United States, two Windows Phone 7 devices-the Dell Venue Pro and HTC HD7-are currently in the delivery stage for the "NoDo" update.