Microsoft Windows Phone 7 Update for Samsung Smartphones Is Pulled

Microsoft is pulling its first Windows Phone 7 update for Samsung smartphones, in the wake of a technical issue that bricked some users' devices.

Microsoft is apparently pulling its first Windows Phone 7 update for Samsung smartphones, until it can solve a technical issue that stalled an unknown subset of users' devices.

"We have identified a technical issue with the Windows Phone update process that impacts a small number of phones," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in a Feb. 23 email to eWEEK. "In response to this emerging issue, we have temporarily taken down the latest software update for Samsung phones in order to correct the issue."

The update will apparently be redistributed "as soon as possible," the spokesperson added.

Microsoft originally described the update to media as a "smaller infrastructure update that will help future updates," including one scheduled for the first two weeks of March that will add cut-and-paste and faster mobile-application loading. "While it may not sound exciting, it's important because it's paving the way for all future goodie-filled updates to your phone," Michael Stroh, a writer for Microsoft's Windows team, posted Feb. 21 on the Windows Phone Blog.

Within a day of Microsoft beginning to roll out the update, however, users began reporting that it stalled their smartphones. The company's Windows Phone 7 help forum erupted with commenter threads about the issue, with titles like, "WP7 Stuck on Step 7 of 10, how long should this update take?" and "Update error with Optimus 7." A number of users reported that their Samsung smartphones were "bricked" by the update.

At the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, Microsoft announced further Windows Phone 7 updates for the second half of 2011, including multitasking, Twitter integration with the platform's "People" Hub, and Office document sharing and storage via Windows Live Skydrive. Internet Explorer 9 will also be added to the platform.

Microsoft claims that Windows Phone 7 has been selling at a rate comparable to other first-generation smartphone platforms, but the exact number of devices reaching consumers' hands remains unclear. At the end of January, the company confirmed that manufacturers have sold retailers some 2 million Windows Phone 7 units. Nokia recently agreed to make Windows Phone 7 the software platform for its phones, a move that could increase Microsoft's smartphone presence in international markets; given Nokia's relatively small smartphone footprint in the United States, however, the deal's effect here could be more negligible.

Microsoft hopes that Windows Phone 7 will reverse its declining market share in smartphones, where it faces intense rivalry from not only Google Android, but also the Apple iPhone and Research In Motion's BlackBerry franchise.