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The Windows Phone 7 Upgrade Path Revealed

Paul Thurrott has spilled the beans on the Windows Phone 7 upgrade path. I wish it were quicker but he’s an insider and seems to have been permitted to reveal inside information (you know, facts and not just conjecture) so let’s take a deep breath and get ready for it. Here are his words and I agree with his conclusion:

I can finally reveal a number of details about the first Windows Phone 7 update, a future major update, and how Microsoft intends to roll out updates generally. It’s not necessarily great news. But here’s what’s happening.

The first update: “No Donuts”

The first Windows Phone 7 software update, codenamed “NoDo,” will RTM in January, possibly this very week and in time for the CES keynote. But it won’t ship to users until early February, once the carriers sign off on it. This update will include the famed copy and paste functional addition, support for the Qualcomm 7×30 smart phone chipset, a CDMA location stack, and a number of software fixes.

Fun fact: “NoDo” stands for “No Donuts” and could be so named because the a minor Android update was called “Donut.”

Major update: “Mango” … Sort of

While I’m not sure on the timing, the first major Windows Phone 7 update contains a piece called “Mango” internally; this will add Internet Explorer 9 with with the Trident 5 rendering engine, HTML 5 and Silverlight, and gesture support. This is the “75xx” code branch, which suggests that it could be called Windows Phone 7.5. (But probably won’t be … It actually calls itself Windows Phone 7.2 at this time.). Internally, this code branch is referred to as the “entertainment” branch, which suggests other, non-IE functionality as well.

Note that Mango isn’t the “next” Windows Phone update after NoDo. It’s part of a future major update, and there could be other updates between NoDo and Mango.

Updating paradigm

In case it’s not obvious, the first update above, combined with previous information about carriers’ abilities to stop updates for “one cycle” only, suggests very strongly that Microsoft will never (or at least not normally) ship fixes for individual issues. Instead, it appears to be handling WP updates as it does with services packs in the desktop Windows world. This is, in my opinion, a huge mistake. Microsoft has plenty to fix in Windows Phone, and it should be doing so as quickly as possible, one fix at a time if necessary.

Anyway. That’s what I got.