Windows 10 Mobile: Microsoft is taking control of OS updates from the carriers

 In Canada Web Developer, News

The issue of having to face lengthy waits between the announcement of an OS update and its actual release is one that Windows Phone users know only too well. Indeed, the recent Windows Phone 8.1 Update 1/Lumia Denim update didn’t even begin until months after it was first announced.

Carriers, in particular, are notorious for dragging their feet when it comes to testing and releasing updates for handsets that they’ve sold to their customers. But that’s all going to change with Microsoft’s new smartphone OS, which the company confirmed this week will be called Windows 10 Mobile.

Over on ZDNet, Ed Bott spotted a detail in a blog post from May 4, in which Microsoft’s Terry Myerson announced the Windows Update for Business service:

Here at Microsoft, we take our responsibility to keep Windows secure seriously. We … proactively update supported devices with necessary updates to address issues. And today, we’re announcing this continuous update process applies to all Windows 10 devices, including phones. [emphasis added]

He contacted Microsoft for further clarification, and a spokesperson for the company confirmed that this applies to all mobile devices – consumer/personal and business – and that these devices will be updated in the same way that Windows 10 PCs are.

And we’re not just talking about bug fixes and security patches – new features will also be included in the OS updates. This is in line with what we know about Microsoft’s new model for Windows 10, ditching major OS versions every few years, and moving to continuous improvement and regular updates.

Mobile carriers won’t be kept entirely out of the process, though. They’ll still need to test updates and give feedback to Microsoft, perhaps to make changes to ensure the phones run properly on each network. It simply isn’t practical to exclude carriers from the process completely before updates are delivered to end-users.

But Microsoft will have the final say over when an update goes out, and will deliver these updates directly to all devices at the same time, like Apple. However, it’s not exactly clear what steps the company might take to ensure that carriers test each update in a reasonable amount of time, to avoid delaying an update’s simultaneous national – or perhaps global – rollout for everyone else.

However, there is some bad news in all of this: the upgrade from Windows Phone 8.1 to Windows 10 Mobile will still be in the carriers’ hands, so if you bought your device from your mobile operator, you’ll still have to wait for them to roll that update out.

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