WP7 Update Process Officially Explained

In light of all the update news flying around, (my view on it), Microsoft’s Eric Hautala has written a blog post that outlines what the update process is like. An excerpt from the post:

Many customers have already received our February update. Others, I know, are still waiting for the message saying it’s available. This has made some of you understandably anxious, wondering: Will I ever get it? Why does it take so long?

The best way for me to answer is to briefly summarize the journey update software takes from our computers here in Redmond to Windows Phones like yours around the world. With 9 handsets on 60 mobile operators in 30 countries around the world, things can get a little complicated!

Here’s what happens:

First, the engineering team here makes and thoroughly tests changes to our Windows Phone operating system software, adding new and improved features or making fixes.

But that’s typically just part of what we send you. The companies that make your Windows Phone handset—or even the chips inside them—also frequently provide us updated firmware that they’ve written, tested, and want us to include.

This combination makes up our update, which we dispatch to the cellular carriers around the world that sell Windows Phones. The carriers then conduct their own tests to help ensure that the new software works correctly both on their networks and the Windows Phone models they sell.

We work closely with our carrier partners, and encourage them to test our software as swiftly as possible. But it’s still their network, and the reality is that some carriers require more time than others. By the way, this carrier testing is a common industry practice that all of our competitors must also undergo. No exceptions.

After a carrier has had an opportunity to test, we schedule an update delivery to its customers through Windows Update, the same system that Microsoft uses to update your desktop PC. You see a message on your phone saying an update is available, plug your phone into your computer and—voila—a few clicks later you have the latest and greatest version of Windows Phone.

One important point worth highlighting: Our update technology allows us to precisely target which phones receive an update. Since some updates are hardware-specific, we don’t send every update to every device. We also don’t send new software updates to everyone at once. This staggered approach is deliberate, and helps us pinpoint and fix any problems quickly.

You can read the whole blog post at the official Windows Phone Blog.




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