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So what are the Carriers actually testing?

Earlier this week I was relieved to hear that update 8107 for Windows Phone was beginning to rollout to fix the “disappearing keyboard” bug, that I suppose was one of the 500 new features we got with the Mango update. That disappearing keyboard thing is one of those dark WP secrets that we fanboys (and girls, or maybe fanpeople) don’t talk about when touting how amazing our phones are. But it has honestly been a super PITA since it first appeared. Especially when the keyboard would vanish, after spending 5 minutes to write a thorough and concise response to an article on MD or other sites, while you were working on the final, “making my point”, sentence.

So I was a little more than dismayed when I read a couple days later that Microsoft is rolling the update out, “to those carriers who request it”. WTH! Anyone who has waited for a Carrier update knows what that means. I wonder what the current line in Las Vegas is for AT&T (and other US carriers) making this update available for any WP, and especially discontinued Gen1 devices. Of course there are reasons for not making the update available, first and foremost because they need to dedicate resources for “TESTING”. But we all know in mobile speak that means, “we want you to buy a new phone from us, preferably on contract so we can lock you in for another two years”.

Let me try to understand this. Microsoft released the highly touted, and long anticipated Mango update that every WP handset was eligible to receive. AT&T, along with every other Carrier, had many weeks, probably months to TEST this update before it was released to their customers. But yet they overlooked; the disappearing keyboard bug, the GMail syncing bug, the Exchange missing forwarded message bug, the voicemail notification bug, and the location allowed access bug. Ok, these are OS issues and I guess AT&T was not looking of them, but then what do they need to TEST in order to “allow” an update to be pushed through on their network. Why do these updates, which include bug fixes and features, need to be bundled? Why can’t Microsoft push bug fixes, that have absolutely nothing to do with the OEM or Carrier, stand alone and over the air. Why does AT&T have to test a bug fix, essentially a defect. Does your local car dealer TEST every manufacturer recall, and decide which one to make available. Help me to understand, please!

I have PCs, a laptop and a notebook, at home and at the office all running version of Windows, built by different manufacturers and using Bright House and AT&T as service providers for Internet/Data access. And I get updates from Microsoft every few days for each of them. Plus, if I check Windows Update, I often get updates for peripheral devices attached to these machines. Do Bright House or AT&T check these updates to make sure I still have an Internet connection after they are installed? No, why not?

Sure, I know that I can get this update manually by following Ramon’s well written directions here, but I have always been a stay between the lines kind of guy. I don’t install custom ROMs because every one I have read about fixes one thing and breaks or leaves off another. Basically, the only ROM I would be happy with would be one that I brewed myself. The Farmer Ted way of thinking. Now, I will be at my nearby AT&T store on March 18th looking closely at the Nokia 900/Ace and will most likely leave with one in hand, making my current Surround fair game for whatever I choose to do with it. But it does cause me to stop and think, do I really want to be at the mercy of my Carrier for another two years, “hoping” they “request” updates from Microsoft. I really can’t afford it, but an unbranded phone sounds better to me every day. Something to think about.