Microsoft lets customers track Windows Phone 7 update progress

Dell Venue Pro

Microsoft’s barely started down the path of issuing updates for Windows Phone 7—its second is currently underway—but the company is plainly learning from its recent mistakes and being more pro-active about communicating with its customers. Microsoft has launched a new “Where’s my phone update?” site for Windows Phone 7 owners that lets them get some idea when they can expect their software updates to be available. The site breaks down update availability by device in the U.S. market, and by operator in international markets.

Microsoft breaks update rollouts into three phases: “testing” means the update is being qualified by mobile network operators; “Scheduling” means that Microsoft and the operator are working out details of update delivery (Microsoft says this “typically” takes 10 days or less), and “Delivering update” which means the new software is currently being delivered to users.

Windows Phone 7 users in the U.S. will notice a couple of catches. First, no Windows Phone 7 handsets in the U.S. market are currently in the “delivering” phase, although the Dell Venue Pro and HTC HD7 are listed in the “Scheduling” phrase. However, here’s the real catch: even when an update is listed as in delivery, Microsoft warns customers “it might take several weeks before you receive notice that an update is available for you.”

International users have an easier time: a number of providers are already delivering the latest Windows Phone 7 update—in fact, Microsoft lists all its international partners as delivering the update or in the brief “scheduling” phase, with the exceptions of Spain’s Telefonica, Australia’s Telstra, and Deutsche Telekom’s global offering—those three are in “testing.”

The “NoDo” update to Windows Phone 7 brings much-ballyhooed copy-and-paste functionality to Windows Phone 7, along with performance enhancements, Marketplace improvements, and tweaks to how Windows Phone 7 devices manage Wi-Fi profiles, switch camera modes, Facebook and email enhancements, and a number of device-specific tweaks. So far, there are no substantiated reports of the update “bricking” Windows Phone devices: Microsoft’s first attempt to distribute a Windows Phone update didn’t go smoothly for some users.