Windows Phone 7 Users Need to Update: Microsoft

Now's the time to upgrade your Windows Phone operating system to version 7.5 if you want to access Marketplace for applications.

If you€™re a Windows Phone 7 user and you haven€™t yet updated to 7.5, now is the time to do it, if you want to have access to the applications through the Marketplace portal. Most Windows Phone users are already running the updated software, released last fall, but anyone who uses Windows knows that Microsoft is ever keen on getting its customers to download the latest version of their software. The update is required for users not only to download or buy but also to update or review apps on Marketplace.

A blog post from Microsoft€™s Director of Program Management Mazhar Mohammed warned that if a user€™s phone has an earlier version of the Windows Phone software installed, they will soon start seeing an error message when they try to download a new app, or update one already owned. €œBy the way, even if you don€™t use Marketplace, there are still lots of great reasons to update. We made hundreds of improvements, big and small, in Windows Phone 7.5,€ he wrote. €œSo I€™d encourage you to set aside time to update your phone for that reason alone.€

In an earlier blog post, Mohammed explained the reason for the update is tied to overall improvements on the Marketplace portal. To get the update, Windows Phone users can connect the handset to a computer and use Zune software or Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac to see if a software update is available for download. Microsoft has already begun removing the Windows Phone apps option from the Zune software on its Windows PCs as part of the Marketplace improvement effort, as the company has realized most Windows Phone owners download apps directly from their handsets.

The latest release of Windows Phone contains hundreds of improvements and new features, including Internet connection sharing, which allows you to turn your phone into a mobile WiFi hotspot by sharing an Internet connection with a laptop and other devices, the ability to connect to hidden WiFi networks (networks that don't broadcast their network name) and a host of Office Mobile features.

Some of the more noteworthy Office Mobile connectivity features include the ability to sync your Office docs between SkyDrive and your phone, so you can edit them on your phone now and then continue editing on your computer later; an improved Office Hub with more ways to view, navigate and search for your docs; Excel mobile improvements and Office 365 integration.