With all the angst and concern customers have over software updates (not just a WP7 issue - also Android, MeeGo etc - just not iOS), why not look at a simple and effective way to communicate the status and keep your customers happy. You don't need to make wild promises, break NDA's or worry about being held to ransom...just deliver some better customer engagement:
All you need to do is put up a SINGLE page for your Smartphone devices (WP7 included) and maintain a quick and easy 1-stop location for all the Software Updates being managed by Verizon.
Example from Aus Carrier:
So create the Update Table....listing Device / OS / Update version no. then...(examples based on WP7)
1. When an update is announced by an OEM or (more likely) Microsoft - please add it straight to the page!
2. Even just showing you are aware of it helps us (eg there are 2 updates post mango min.)
3. Use the version numbers that line up with the MS Update history - eg 7740 or 8107.
4. Then add a status for them, suggestions being:
- Update XXXX - Not yet received from MS/OEM
- Update XXXX - Received from MS/OEM - not yet in test.
- Update XXXX - In Network testing.
- Update XXXX - Not Approved - awaiting MS/OEM amendment.
- Update XXXX - Approved, Scheduling Deployment
- Update XXXX - Deployed (this should be staged over X period to all users, check via Zune PC client).
Bam! There you go - not to hard to manage, and deploy this for heaps of kudos and improved customer satisfaction!
Motorola tried to do it that way themselves and was burned by it. More information is good, but sometimes customers(which act differently than where you are) are partly to blame for companies to keep their mouth shut.
Yeah, people almost go insane, stay up all night waiting for updates and then threaten class action if it is delayed.
Not to mention how they freak out when a phone isn't released on the (rumored) release date.
No way companies will give concrete dates and that is understandable to anyone that has spent any time in this forum.
Some will tell you that Verizon is the worst when it comes to phone updates. Others will tell you that they are conservative and cautious - and that this is the best policy.
Frequently, Verizon likes to have "OEM" hardware made "not so original". This was a problem with Motorola in the past and a few other OEM manufacturers sold by Verizon. Online manufacturer updates would brick a Verizon phone, because there were some minor differences from phone to phone.
I just went through this exercise with Verizon and BlackBerry for several years. In 4 out of 5 RIM updates - it would take Verizon close to 6 months to release the update that was advertised on the RIM Website 6 months prior. This led to many visits to the CrackBerry Website where you could either download the update, remove a file, and load it to your phone at any time - regardless of whether it was a Verizon phone, or Sprint, or AT&T. There were also many times you could pick up a version update prior to even RIM hosting them! That was until RIM decided to make their tablet and stopped updating their phones! THAT was a good idea?
One of the things that allowed a BlackBerry User to load these upgrades with confidence was the simple fact that every upgrade - regardless of where you got it from, would call for a backup prior to switching phone versions. WP7 kinda does this now, but WP7 really needs backup on demand in a big way.
One of the BlackBerry drawbacks was that Verizon Technical Support would not support a phone if the OS version was higher than the one they were offering customers.. I had to call BS on that because any time you called Verizon BlackBerry Support, they would always tell you to reload the original OS anyway when they could not figure out how to fix a problem. The version you were running at the time really had nothing to do with getting your phone fixed. I also found that after a few months of use - it was pretty easy to troubleshoot problems. And for those problems that were unique - you could always hit a BlackBerry forum for advice.
Updates, upgrades, who delivers them, who supports them, etc. is always very sticky. It's even more sticky with a new OS as everyone wants feature improvements ASAP. Microsoft typically delivers some pretty clean updates to things like Windows, Office, hardware drivers, etc.. It may be easier to bark at MS about OTA or Website updates - rather than Verizon. Verizon has always been slow to release updates, regardless of phone and/or OS platform. I don't see that changing anytime soon and I REALLY don't see them changing their policies for just 1 model or type of phone either.
I totally agree, Sheeds. It's not that hard and I wholeheartedly believe that the sole reason for MS taking down the update page was pressure from carriers because it was making some carriers look good to customers, and others looking like headaches.
The truth hurts. I don't care what MS says about why they took the page down. As Sheeds pointed out, it's not. that. hard. Even if MS doesn't want to do it, the carriers don't simply because it shows how much they lack in their emphasis on the customer experience. Look at the international carriers that are pushing 8107 out already, I haven't heard a single bad thing about it. Unlocked devices are getting it w/o issue. People are going thru backdoor methods and ending up just fine.
Point is, they're using FUD to slack off and in some instances sell new(er) phones.
Some carriers, I agree, may have some more extensive testing to do because - jackpot - they carry more windows phones. We all know where VZW sits there.