Microsoft pushes back cut 'n' paste update
On its way, later this month
Microsoft is promising to get cut and paste into Windows Phones later this month, a delay brought on by the problems experienced by Samsung users with the last update.
The news comes in what is supposed to be an open and honest blog posting from Eric Hautala – Microsoft's general manager of customer experience engineering. The posting explains the development process, and passes the buck on operator delays to the operator while admitting that the latest delay is down to the problems Microsoft had pushing out the last update.
That update was a tweak to the update process itself, but forced some Samsung Omnia 7 users to roll back after failed upgrades, with a handful complaining of bricked handsets. A second attempt went better, but still caused problems for some, and that has triggered a delay to the latest update, which was expected any day now.
The blog reveals that Microsoft is still dependent on operators to certify software updates, and while Redmond is committed to delivering every update to every customer that process can be interrupted by operators' lackadaisical attitude to certification. Microsoft is keen to emphasise that Apple has to jump through the same hoops: "This carrier testing is a common industry practice that all of our competitors must also undergo. No exceptions" ... which is nearly true.
Handsets do have to be approved by operators, but in the GSM world customers can switch operators with a change of SIM, so operators often don't know what handsets their customers are using*, let alone if they're using the latest software. Changes to the radio stack will warrant additional testing, and operators won't want to sell anything untested in their own stores, but adding cut and paste doesn't warrant approval by 60 different network operators.
But when Windows Phone 7 was launched Microsoft made much play of the fact that it was aimed at the end user, that operators were merely a channel to the user, and that all updates would go out to all customers. The latter remains true, and is reiterated in the blog, but Microsoft is trying to play nice(r) with operators these days and so seems to be softening up users for phased updates.
Which probably doesn't matter – what customers (or El Reg readers at least) really hate is not knowing what's going on: seeing mates getting updates when they've not had them. The blog might be excruciatingly chummy, but it is a step towards opening the update process which will be welcomed by those with a Windows Phone 7 – though not quite as much as the update would have been.
* Operators do know, at some level, the make and model of every phone on their network, from the International Mobile Equipment Identity (IMEI) number, which is communicated during connection. But it is surprising how rarely that information gets out of the radio side of the business.
Why oh why oh why
Wasn't this sort of thing designed in from the start? This was an almost new OS, you would think they would learn. Oh, hold on, its MS. Sorry, don't know what came over me.
the real reason for the delay - MS fired all the Windows 3.0 programmers years ago, and is only now realizing that they have no one remaining at MS knows how to replicate that (apparently very tricky) functionality.
Old, grizzled hackers FTW!!!
Not at the moment they can't, it's a pretty surprising first release omission for a 2010/11 Smartphone. And don't give me that "in 2007 an iPhone couldn't" pony, Apple like them or not (and I'm exactly an Apple lover, more a sceptic who uses a Mac laptop, but a Windows desktop) changed the whole course of smartphones with the iPhone in 2007 so you can excuse them for this. Of course, I don't own an iPhone, I just can't get on with them for some reason.
That all said, there are few times where I have genuinely needed copy and paste, the most obvious one is when someone texts you an email address and you need to add it to a contact, that would be handy.
My previous Nokia 5800 could also do this; but given how much in my opinion MS has got right with WP7, I'm willing to give them a bit of slack but they need to get their act together. I think so long as MS are in for the long haul with this OS, and that they get their act together over updates, they'll have a good platform, maybe never the "number one" but who cares, it's an alternative and I am glad of choice.