Now that we know Windows Phone 8 and Windows 8 share some of their code, I wonder. Will we finally see an update policy for Microsoft's mobile platform that reflects the one we are used to in our PCs?
For years Microsoft has released operating system updates every second Tuesday of the month (second Wednesday New Zealand time). Only in cases of a real treat such as a zero day exploit has Microsoft released an "out of band" update. This policy has been going on for years and still most people I talk to and remind "tomorrow is Windows Update day" say they never knew it.
On top of those monthly updates Microsoft releases Hotfixes, which are patches that fix small problems in specific areas. For example there's a patch that fixes a problem when plugging a USB hub in a specific type of computers with specific drivers and so on. These only need to be applied if you are experiencing a very specific problem.
Every few months or years Microsoft releases a Service Pack for its operating systems, which contains all the previous updates and hotfixes all in one. It's Microsoft's policy not to release new features in Service Packs.
Then there are other software updates targeting applications such as Messenger, Movie Maker, Skype, Security essentials and others which are not essential part of the operating system but offered by the company.
I wonder if Windows Phone 8 would follow the flawed model implemented with Windows Phone 7, or the more advanced and logical model adopted by the company by its PC operating systems and applications until now?
Perhaps Microsoft should separate the applets built-in inside Windows Phone 8 and consider those as applications instead of core, and release them independently of the operating system.
For example a new feature implemented in its mobile email client could be delivered to users around the world with more speed than before. Instead of waiting for the whole Windows Phone 7 process of sending an entire operating system to OEMs then waiting for those to customise each image to different devices, then waiting those to be sent to each mobile operator around the world for approval, then the slow staggered delivery perhaps Microsoft should consider making these updates to apps independent of the entire chain and deliver them directly to end users.
This would speed up adoption of new features, use existing Windows Update infrastructure and get slow OEMs and mobile operators who are not actively supporting the ecosystem completely out of the picture when it comes to happy users. The chain of approval would only ever exist for core operating system functions.
This is completely different from the strategy used by other smartphone platforms too, and could be a differentiating point.
Somehow I think Microsoft would never do that though.
Other related posts:
Windows Phone and Android apps screen comparison
Windows Phone 8 Portico update: at last here in New Zealand
Windows Phone updates, again
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