Windows Phone Update Failure: Tiny Tip of the Iceberg

Post date: 23-Feb-2011 12:50:20

ArsTechnica has an article about the first Windows Phone update going wrong. This should be highly embarrasing to Microsoft, they need to move fast with Windows Phone 7, with regular feature packed updates...not fluff up their first attempt with a boring innards fix. Without these they just wont grab the market or media attention that Google does so excellently.

But that wasn't the point of this post. The point was that the entire 'computing' industry needs to start addressing these fundamental failures. It cannot be acceptable for a user to type random codes into their devices to recieve another random code, just to check if the offical update is going to render their device useless.

These phones have been out less than a year. There just no reason for the update not to tested on all combinations of devices. Even that statement is missing the point, there shouldn't be 4+ versions of the same device in the first place.

What this shows is that the industry is still far too tolerant of unfinished and broken devices being sold to consumers...and unfortunatly consumers are accepting that fact. I do not think that we (My day job is a programmer) can keep going down this path. Consumers should expect their purchased devices to work and do all the things they are heavily advertised to do, and expect this on Day 1. Not 6 months later after they've installed numerous patches/updates/firmwares/roms.

The most common argument is that the industry moves fast, so companies have to release while the wave is at its peak. Although this is true, the computing industry moves extremely fast and at massive scales, the problem is that I don't think there is any indication that it will slow down, so the support and quailty needs to improve dramatically.

As to how, I think the first thing is standards, we have them, but they aren't good enough. Either they are too flexible, which leads to things like bluetooth where half its features aren't supported by the current most popular phone the iPhone. Or they are rushed, like HDMI and blu-ray which leads to multiple versions of basically bug fixes. There is no reason for blu-ray's to have a legal warning saying this video might not work, but tough if it doesn't.

If its a standard any choices or flexibility should be invisible to the end consumer, they should be able to say 'my device has X that means I need a cable X or support for X'. Not 'my device has X but which version of X is it? Where's the small print in the manual that tells me?'

If its a new standard then the regulators need to make sure that the marketting is clear, HDMI isn't a standard, HDMI v1.3 is. That's what needs to be on the shiny sticker.

Do we really think we can live in a world where your toaster needs a firmware update, because they forgot there's white and brown bread???