News by Dan Seifert on Saturday January 07, 2012.
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Microsoft has announced that it will no longer maintain or update the "Where's My Phone Update?" website that informed Windows Phone users as to when the latest version of the operating system would be available for their devices. The website was particularly useful during the rollout of the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update this past fall.
Microsoft did not specifically say why it was shutting down the informative website, but reading into the verbiage surrounding the latest update for the platform, it seems that carriers will now have the option as to whether or not to deliver updates to their users. The 8107 build, which is the newest version of the operating system, is available to "all carriers that request it," implying that not all carriers will offer it to their users.
That is a shame too, because the 8107 update offers a number of fixes for nagging issues with the platform. The changelog says that the "disappearing keyboard" bug that affects all Windows Phone 7.5 devices has been addressed, and there is improved email syncing with a Gmail account. Microsoft has also patched a location services bug, fixed a voicemail notification problem, fixed email threads for Microsoft Exchange users, and fixed some security certificates.
If Microsoft's policy on software updates for Windows Phone is indeed changing to give more control to carriers, then it is shifting its position away from the style of platform updates that Apple uses and towards the haphazard update path that many Android devices see. Microsoft did an admiral job of delivering the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango upgrade to all of the devices on the market across the world in a matter of weeks, so for the company to flip-flop on this position is a bit disheartening. Hopefully, it will continue to keep the pressure on carriers and manufacturers to make sure that the latest features and security patches for the Windows Phone platform make it to users, even if it is not as transparent about the update schedule as it was in the past.
Dan is MobileBurn.com's Editor-in-Chief. Based in Poughkeepsie in New York, Dan can be found on Twitter as @DCSeifert.