WP7 Pre-updates, Rumours and Rants
March 9, 2011 9 Comments
I usually don’t bother writing posts on rumours that spread round (mostly link-baits), or people spreading misinformation, but I’ve decided to wade in on this WP7 updates (or lack thereof) discussion. The main reason is because people like Paul Thurrott, who is relatively well connected in regards to Microsoft, have posted information which doesn’t really help WP7 in any way, despite possibly good intentions. Firstly, to clarify, this isn’t a post to undermine Paul in any way (in fact, most of his posts are accurate and interesting. He has also authored a book on Windows Phone 7), but I’d like to bring some perspective into a couple of claims made.
A few days ago, Paul wrote a post that claimed that the larger ‘Mango’ update won’t be shipped until 2012 (according to his sources). Of course, this is just a rumour, but an unnecessary one. I fail to see what good bringing this up has done. Naturally, other media outlets jumped onto this quote and spread the news that the Mango update won’t be ready this year. Call me cynical, but you could argue that it was a good way to get views to his page (with the many adverts providing revenue *ahem*). Now, had this news been substantiated beyond ‘claimed sources’, or even closer to the Mango release time, maybe there would be some valid context. As it stands, I can’t help but feel that it does more damage to WP7 as non-techies may read about supposed delayed updates and switch to another device. Furthermore, another prominent figure in the MS world is Mary Jo Foley, also wrote a post regarding the Mango update and says that she believes that the Mango update will be available at the end of this year. Naturally, they can’t both be right, so how about we wait and see instead of spreading unconfirmed rumours?
Today I read a post by Paul which persuaded me to write this post (you can read it here). He’s disappointed that he still hasn’t received the ‘pre-update’ which some people have received. Many people, including myself, are in the same boat and have yet to receive the ‘pre-update’ and a lot of those people are angry that they haven’t got it yet. However, lets clarify what’s missing and put all this ranting into perspective. The ‘pre-update’ provides nothing to the end user. It prepares the update mechanism for the ‘NoDo’ and, presumably, future updates. That’s it. The ‘NoDo’ update is expected around the second half of March, so if that gets delayed, then frustration is understandable because the ‘NoDo’ update actually does provide some end-user features. Until then, stoking the ‘no pre-update’ fire is a futile gesture that does more harm than good. Another thing to think about. Carriers are allowed to block up to one update according to their agreement with Microsoft. By releasing a ‘pre-update’, Microsoft have filtered the carriers that will block any updates. Now, when NoDo is released, the carriers that blocked the ‘pre-update’ should have to release the real ‘NoDo’ update to everyone. Lets not forget, the NoDo update includes the current ‘pre-update’. Where’s the problem?
Paul goes on to explain how iOS has released multiple updates within short time frames and it is a good point. However, it’s important to remember that Apple don’t have to worry about multiple OEM’s and that they’ve had three and a bit years to perfect their mass updating technique for iPhone devices. If Microsoft keep delaying updates throughout WP7’s lifespan, then that’s when ranting about it is valid. At the moment, I think it’s fair to give MS some leeway seeing as it’s their first mass update for WP7 and, technically, not a ‘real’ update (since NoDo is promised for second half of March). Also, as mentioned earlier, it helps filter carriers that may block updates.
Now, I’m not saying I don’t mind the lack of updates, but this ‘pre-update’ is being made out as if it’s some holy grail. Save that test for when ‘NoDo’ comes out and then discuss it. I do agree with Paul on certain points regarding transparency. As a user and developer, I’d prefer it if MS showed more of the roadmap rather than releasing small bits of information, which are often ambiguous at times. I think transparency, to a degree which doesn’t compromise competitive advantage of course, should be increased. Now I’ve seen people claim that all this complaining is to get Microsoft to pay attention, but it I think it’s being done in the wrong way. There’s a difference between complaining on specific points and just outright ranting. The latter just gives readers a one-sided view and ultimately that does not help the cause. The more solid devices there are in the marketplace, the more competition. The more competition, the more manufacturers have to do to improve their devices and give a better experience for the end user. By unnecessarily hacking away at the infantile legs of WP7 with rants that have no real basis, and no positive upshots (e.g. MS taking heed and doing what they can to hurry up with the release cycles), ultimately affects everyone from users to developers.
Well, I could go on about other things, but I think you’ve probably read enough. (Well done if you got all the way through :D). As I say, this isn’t a snipe at Paul, but there are times when someone with such a voice should be a bit more balanced when it comes to writing each post IMO. Criticism should be brought forward, by all means, but at least have a logical standpoint on why you’re complaining. There’s a difference between kicking someone up the butt to get them to work harder and kicking them out the window.
I’m reserving judgement for when ‘NoDo’ does come out and then raising the expectation bar for future updates since MS would have the experience by then and can no longer use the “it’s our first update” excuse. If they start failing on that, then questions should be asked as it would start resembling the fragmentation seen on Android devices, but without the openness of the Android platform.
All comments welcome 🙂