In the lull before the iPhone media storm (Apple is expected to announce its new iPhone at an event this morning), a bit of news about its competitor, Windows Phone:
The Mango update to Windows Phone appears to be rolling out smoothly, prompting the Windows Phone team to make it available, ahead of schedule, to 50 percent of eligible customers starting now, according to the official Windows Phone blog. (“Why not 100 percent?” the blog post asks. “Because we’re still collecting and analyzing installation data from our smaller operators, and need to watch it little bit longer to make sure everything is OK.”)
The Mango rollout started last week, with updates typically being sent out gradually or in batches. “It might take several weeks before you receive notice that an update is available for your phone,” the “Where’s my phone update” status page says.
Eric Hautala, general manager of customer experience engineering, who wrote Monday’s blog post about Mango, said some people have asked about how Windows Phones are selected to receive the update and when. “Put simply, it’s done totally at random, with absolutely no preference for carrier, model, or country,” he wrote.
The apparently smooth rollout is a far cry from the experience some users had with an earlier Windows Phone update called NoDo. Some said the NoDo update was confusing and came later than promised.
Microsoft is placing a lot of expectations on Windows Phone 7.5, as the Mango update is formally called. With this big update, Microsoft needs to show that it can compete in the global smartphone market. It currently has less than 2 percent of that market, vastly dwarfed by Google’s Android and Apple’s iOS platforms.
Ahead of today’s expected new iPhone announcement, Andy Lees, president of Windows Phone Division, had this to say Monday: “Our approach is very different from iPhone. We put people first and design the software to bring forward the things people care about the most. With Windows Phone 7.5 our ecosystem provides a variety of choice across capability, style, and price points.”