Microsoft will roll out a highly anticipated update to its Windows Phone 7 operating system in stages to ensure there’s no repeat of the chaos that surrounded a previous update, the company’s mobile chief said.
“We’re going to throttle it so it goes to a limited number of phones first so we can make sure the update is working really well and people have a smooth experience” said Joe Belfiore, vice president for Microsoft’s Windows Phone program, in a video posted over the weekend to the company’s MSDN developers site.
“The phase we’re in right now is the early part of that throttling,” said Belfiore.
Belfiore was referring to the so-called NoDo update, which adds copy & paste and a number of other new features to Windows Phone 7-based devices. The previous update, which, ironically, was designed to make future upgrades go smoothly, proved finicky for many users—and was particularly troublesome on Windows Phone 7 smartphones made by original equipment manufacturer Samsung.
“We hadn’t anticipated the way the OEMs would be configured,” Belfiore conceded.
That’s why Microsoft is taking care to ensure NoDo is fully tested on all devices and carrier networks before it is released broadly—and why many Windows Phone 7 users could be in for an indeterminate wait for the update.
“You’ll see the update depending on whether you’re one of the randomly throttled people and depending on your mobile operator and where they are at in their testing phase,” said Belfiore.
Microsoft recently posted a table that roughly shows which phase the update process is in for various Windows Phone 7 models on the different carrier networks. According to the table, NoDo has completed testing on phones that run on the T-Mobile network—the Dell Venue Pro and the HTC HD7—and delivery is now being scheduled.
Testing is ongoing for AT&T’s Windows Phone 7 devices—the HTC Surround, LG Quantum, and Samsung Focus. Sprint’s entry in the Windows Phone 7 market, the HTC Arrive, went on sale last week and comes with NoDo preinstalled.
The most notable improvement that NoDo will bring to Windows Phone 7 is copy & paste. With the update installed, users will be able to copy and paste text between Office documents, e-mails, text messages, and other sources. Users can copy text from one document and paste it to another by tapping words and dragging an arrow icon to the desired destination.
NoDo, according to Microsoft, also makes apps and games start up and resume faster, improves Marketplace search, and cleans up the Wi-Fi connection interface. The software maker also said NoDo delivers enhanced Facebook integration, more stable camera and video settings, and a better Bluetooth experience when playing music or videos.
Microsoft introduced Windows Phone 7 late last year with an eye to delivering a touch-based smartphone platform that could compete with Apple’s iPhone and devices powered by Google Android.
The OS features Microsoft’s Live Tiles interface, which pushes real-time updates from e-mails, social networks, and other communications tools to the forefront of the home screen. It also boasts direct integration with Microsoft products such as Office, Zune, and Xbox Live.
Earlier this year, Microsoft announced a deal with Nokia, under which the Finnish phone maker will use Windows Phone 7 as the default OS for its smartphone lineup, starting next year.