Windows Phone update 8107 rolling out

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The roll out for a minor update for Windows Phone, version 7.10.8107.79, commenced last week. Microsoft has delivered the 8107 update to all manufacturers and operators, but it is optional, which means it may not be made available for all devices. The update fixes a number of bugs including the one that occasionally caused the keyboard to disappear when entering text. In addition Microsoft has made some changes to the way it will be communicating about the delivery of future minor updates.

Here are the details of the update from Microsoft:

On-screen keyboard. Fixes an issue to prevent the keyboard from disappearing during typing.

Email. Fixes a Google mail syncing issue.

Location. Fixes a location access issue. With this fix, the Me feature in the People Hub sends anonymous information about nearby Wi-Fi access points and cell towers to Microsoft only if you agree to allow the Check In function to access and use location information.

Security. Revokes digital certificates from DigiCert Sdn Bhd to address an encryption issue.

Email threads. Fixes an email issue related to Microsoft Exchange Server 2003. With this fix, when you reply to or forward a message, the original message is now included in your response.

Voicemail. Fixes a voicemail notification display issue that occurs on some European and Asian networks under certain conditions.

The email threads and voicemail issue were already included in the 7740 update. The on-screen keyboard bug fix is the most important part of the 8107 update. This is an issue that effects certain devices running under certain configurations. The relatively limited nature of this update and the fact it is not universally applicable means that some operators may not prioritise its delivery, especially as additional updates (e.g. to fix the SMS bug) are due to arrive shortly.

If the update is made available for your device you will receive notification through an on-screen pop up message. You can also perform a manual check for updates in the Zune Desktop client (phone > settings > update).

Communication of Updates

In a blog post related to the update Eric Hautala, General Manager, Customer Experience Engineering, noted that there would be a few changes to way Microsoft provided information about Windows Phone updates:

As we continue our growth, we won’t be individually detailing country, model, and carrier details on the Where’s My Phone Update? site any longer. And instead of my weekly blog posts, the official Windows Phone website will be the primary place for news and information about our updates, just as Microsoft Answers is there for your support questions

For consumers who like to have as much information as possible about the scheduling and arrival date of updates this is disappointing news. However, it is important to note that there have been no change to the way Microsoft develops and delivers updates to operators. This is purely about the information that is published about updates.

As before an operator or a manufacturer can choose not to deliver a given update (e.g. the earlier 7740 has been delivered by only a select number of operators). It is worth noting that, because all updates are sequential, the contents of such an update would be included in the next update (i.e. the contents of a skipped update are bundled into the next delivered update). The reason operators are given control over the delivery of minor update is because of the costs involved in testing, certifying and supporting updates.

So why have Microsoft chosen to stop updating the updates table? Mary Jo Foley points out that the original reason the "Where's My Windows Phone Update?" table was created was to repair customer trust after the poor roll out of the "NoDo" update. Given the successful roll out of Mango, it is not unreasonable to say that that trust has been largely restored.

Foley goes on to also explains that Microsoft points out that the table would become unwieldy if every update on every phone on every operator were included. That seems to be a lass valid reason; it would not be difficult to create a site that provided information on update status in response to the input of device and operator information.

I would also add that manufacturer specific updates were not included in the table at any time. Samsung, Nokia and HTC have all delivered such updates. There are also updates related to bundled applications (e.g. Nokia Drive, HTC Watch). Arguably all of these would need to be included to provide a truly comprehensive source of information about updates.  

Ultimately, to my mind, the loss of the update table, while frustrating for some, is far less important that an on-going policy of delivery updates in a timely and efficient fashion.