Microsoft Resumes Windows Phone Updates

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Microsoft has restarted its Windows Phone 7 update for Samsung Omnia 7 and Focus smartphones

Microsoft has resumed the updates for Samsung Omnia 7 and Focus smartphones that run Redmond’s Windows Phone 7 operating system.

“Today we restarted updating Omnia 7 phones,” Eric Hautala, general manager for Microsoft’s Customer Experience Engineering unit, wrote in a 17 May posting on The Windows Blog. “The restart is happening in phases. Go to the Zune software and manually check for an update.”

For those who didn’t receive an update 17 May, “look again next Tuesday when we plan to deliver updates to additional Omnia 7 customers.” Those owners of a particular Focus variant will not receive their update however, and Microsoft is offering no definitive arrival date.

Update Misery

Earlier this year, Microsoft experienced some turbulence in pushing its first updates to Windows Phone. A small February update, meant to pave the way for future updates, “bricked” or stalled a small subset of devices. The larger “NoDo” update, which introduced cut-and-paste functionality along with faster app loading and other features, also hit some delays.

Samsung smartphones in particular seemed to have trouble receiving and installing Microsoft’s updates, forcing the company to halt the push. Indeed, some of those troubles continue even as Microsoft resumes the updates.

“A small number of people who’ve already installed the March ‘copy and paste’ update on their Omnia 7 might have trouble installing 7392,” Hautala wrote, “but Samsung today published a new tool designed to fix this.” A link to that new Samsung tool is available via a support article posted on a Microsoft webpage.

Even as Microsoft cleans up issues related to its first two updates, news has started to percolate through the blogosphere about the next Windows Phone upgrade, codenamed “Mango,” due for release later in 2011.

Sales Question

Mango includes productivity enhancements such as the ability to pin email folders to the smartphone’s start screen, search a server for email items no longer stored on the device, force emails to obey IT administrators’ policies, and threading email replies into a “conversation view.” Users will also have the capability to save and share Office documents via Office 365 and Windows Live Skydrive.

In addition to those tweaks aimed at businesses, Mango will introduce more consumer-centric features such as multitasking, Internet Explorer 9, and a turn-by-turn navigation feature with voice guidance.

New data from The Nielsen Company had 6 percent of consumers indicating they wanted a Windows Mobile/Windows Phone smartphone as their next device, compared with 31 percent for Android, 30 percent for Apple’s iOS and 11 percent for Research In Motion’s BlackBerry.

Microsoft likely hopes that updates and new features to its mobile platform will draw in consumers and businesses who would otherwise go for those rival smartphones; but given the lack of definitive consumer-sales numbers, it remains to be seen how much of an impact Windows Phone is having in the marketplace.

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