Windows Phone 7 Update Hits Microsoft Hardware, Carrier Partners

The first update to Windows Phone 7 devices is being rolled out to Microsoft's hardware and carrier partners this week, according to Microsoft. However, the question of when users will actually see the update on their own smartphones depends on two factors.

According to the DaveDev MSDN blog, Microsoft's hardware partners must first test the update, while Microsoft's carrier partners must assess how the update works in their mobile networks. Currently, Microsoft's hardware and carrier partners appear to be in the update testing or scheduling phase. This site provides a timetable on the update's progress by phone model; so far, the update's actual delivery to smartphone users appears to be pending.

This March update is for devices with operating system version 7.0.7390.0. It adds copy-and-paste functionality to Windows Phone 7 devices, improves startup times for games, and enhances the Marketplace user experience. A list of the improvements is located here.

This update should not be confused with the February Windows Phone 7 update, which was intended to assist with the update process itself and added no new features. That February update caused problems for two Samsung phone models and was suspended for about a week. However, Microsoft now claims that the issues with that update were largely resolved.

"Of the customers who've so far tried to install it, the overwhelming majority have been successful," a Microsoft blog states. "If you've been following along, you know that we did encounter a few issues, which we quickly identified and fixed or provided workarounds for."

According to a Microsoft forum post, delivery of the February update was resumed to Samsung phones on March 2. The update was successful for 90 percent of customers worldwide, according to the post.

Microsoft is planning a second update (code-named "Mango") for Windows Phone 7 phones in the second half of this year. That update will add Internet Explorer 9, access to Windows Live SkyDrive and integration with Twitter.

On Wednesday, Microsoft released the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7. It proves library files and templates for Visual Studio that Windows Phone 7 application developers can use to tap services delivered via Microsoft's cloud computing platform.

For IT pros considering using the next version of System Center Configuration Manager (SCCM) to manage Windows Phone 7 devices, that functionality is not supported yet. Beta 2 of SCCM 2012, released on Wednesday, currently supports "Windows Phone 6.5" (or Windows Mobile 6.5)-based devices, but not Windows Phone 7 devices, according to a Microsoft support description (PDF download).

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.