Getting updates on Windows Phone 7 so far has been a mixed bag for consumers. On the one end, they’re basically simple, universal OS patches in the form of CAB files, allowing even early prototype phones to keep upgrading, years after release.
On the other end, they’ve been just awful due to the lack of carrier support in actually rolling them out to end-users. The process is still much better than whatever Android has to offer but it still pales compared to the iPhone in many ways.
Regardless, Microsoft is well aware of the problem and during the June Summit, Corporate Vice President on the Windows Phone team briefly described the proposed method to “fix” this problem in the future. No, Microsoft is not forcing carriers to push out the updates—something that carriers would not stand for, nor does Microsoft have the clout—but rather he mentioned a system for “enthusiast” users to manually update their phones.
The program sounds a lot like the current so-called “CAB method” whereby you simply patch the OS with Microsoft’s own software. The program today though is a little “hacky” and not streamlined for normal consumers. The new program is presumably different.
Now at the site Windows Phone Italy, they claim to have some inside information on the coming process. Details are scarce but here is what they've learned:
- Only Windows Phone 8.x devices will be supported
- You will use Microsoft Account to login
- Users can get updates before their carrier has released them (or plans to in some case)
- It’s a “pull” method (as opposed to 'push')
The news is unverified by outside sources and Microsoft has not officially confirmed to us the above details, but none of that should be particularly surprising, especially the part about needing Windows Phone 8. That latter requirement is because the new OS will be better suited to engage with Microsoft’s infrastructure to gain access to these updates.
In some ways, this "news" is just recapitulating what we already know, as you can verify from Terry Myerson's speech below.
Questions remain of course on who gets access, how to apply, will all phones be supported (presumably they will) and all those other pesky specifics.
Our gut tells us right now Microsoft is focused on just getting Windows Phone 8 out the door and this “enthusiast update program” will get detailed later on as it the first update nears.
Source: Windows Phone Italy