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First Windows Phone 7 Update Starting To Roll

Microsoft indicated today that the first update to Windows Phone 7 devices is being pushed out to smartphone users, starting this week, but there's a catch.

The catch is that Microsoft's hardware partners have to test it first, and Microsoft's carrier partners have to check how the update works across their mobile networks, according to a Microsoft blog. Microsoft's hardware and carrier partners currently appear to be either testing or scheduling the new update. This Microsoft blog provides a handy reference on the overall progress, but it appears that releases are still pending.

This update, expected in late March, is for devices with operating system version 7.0.7390.0. It will add copy-and-paste functionality to Windows Phone 7 devices. It will also improve startup times for games and improve the Marketplace user experience. A list of the improvements is located here.

The March update shouldn't be confused with the February Windows Phone 7 update, which was intended to assist with the update process itself, adding no new features. That February update caused problems for two Samsung phone models and was suspended for about a week's time. However, Microsoft now claims that the issues with that update were largely resolved.

"Of the customers who've so far tried to install it, the overwhelming majority have been successful," a Microsoft blog states. "If you've been following along, you know that we did encounter a few issues, which we quickly identified and fixed or provided workarounds for."

According to a Microsoft forum post, delivery of the February update was resumed to Samsung phones on March 2. The update was successful for 90 percent of customers worldwide, according to the post.

Microsoft is planning a second update (code-named "Mango") for Windows Phone 7 phones in the second half of this year. That update will add Internet Explorer 9, access to Windows Live SkyDrive and integration with Twitter.

On Wednesday, Microsoft released the Windows Azure Toolkit for Windows Phone 7. It proves library files and templates for Visual Studio that Windows Phone 7 application developers can use to tap services delivered via Microsoft's cloud computing platform.

For IT pros considering using the next version of System Center Configuration Manager to manage Windows Phone 7 devices, that functionality isn't supported yet. Beta 2 of System Center Configuration Manager 2012, released yesterday, currently supports "Windows Phone 6.5" (or Windows Mobile 6.5)-based devices, but not Windows Phone 7 devices, according to a Microsoft support description (PDF download).

About the Author

Kurt Mackie is senior news producer for 1105 Media's Converge360 group.

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