Windows Phone 7 Update Preinstalled on Phones, But No Sign of Push Yet

Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 "NoDo" update arrives baked into new HTC smartphones on AT&T and Sprint, but over-the-air push is yet to be seen.

Will Microsoft push through its long-awaited Windows Phone 7 "NoDo" update this week?

Microsoft has predicted that the update, which includes faster application loading and a cut-and-paste feature, will push into its smartphone ecosystem in the second half of March. In addition, new Windows Phone 7 smartphones from AT&T and Sprint are hitting the marketplace with the latest version preinstalled.

The HTC HD7S, available on AT&T within the next few weeks, features Windows Phone 7 on a 4.3-inch high-resolution screen. As with all Windows Phone 7 devices, HTC adhered to Microsoft's fairly strict minimum hardware requirements, including a 1GHz processor.

Sprint's HTC Arrive, meanwhile, also features the updated Windows Phone 7 software. "We've streamlined Marketplace search to make it easier to find specific apps, games or music," reads an official document forwarded to eWEEK by a Sprint spokesperson. "Press the Search button in the apps or games section of the Marketplace, and you'll see only apps or games in the results. Press Search in the music section of Marketplace to search just the music catalog."

The HTC Arrive is the first Windows Phone 7 smartphone to appear on a CDMA (Code Division Multiple Access) carrier. Previously, Windows Phone 7 devices had appeared only on GSM-based networks such as AT&T and T-Mobile.

Microsoft had previously shifted the delivery date for the NoDo update from the first half of March to the latter two weeks of the month. "After careful consultation with the team and our many partners, we've decided to briefly hold the March update in order to ensure the update process meets our standards and that of our customers," a Microsoft spokesperson wrote in a March 10 e-mail to eWEEK. "As a result, we will plan to begin delivering the update in the latter half of March."

In February, Microsoft introduced a Windows Phone 7 update designed to help with future updates. Within a day of that update's rollout, however, a small number of users began complaining it stalled their smartphones.

As those complaints found their way onto online forums, Microsoft shifted into full damage-control mode, claiming in a corporate blog posting that only 10 percent of users' smartphones had choked on the new software. Nonetheless, the company temporarily suspended the update for Samsung phones until it could puzzle out the underlying issues.

In the wake of that issue, Microsoft appears more cautious in how it handles subsequent updates. Despite the minor pushback on NoDo, though, the company claims no delay in later updates designed to bake multitasking, Twitter and a new HTML5-friendly version of Internet Explorer Mobile onto the platform. All those updates are scheduled for the second half of 2011.

In the meantime, current Windows Phone 7 owners await the latest update.