push out its newest update to its "Mango" Windows Phone, to users today. Microsoft has been working on Mango for most of the summer and we finally get to see some of the updates that were only theoretical during the development process. The biggest push though is the brand new Web Marketplace, which will be the Windows Phone app store that will be the de facto repository of Windows Phone native apps.Microsoft has begun to
Microsoft has also teamed up with the original equipment manufacturers and carriers to push out a tethering option to all Windows Phones. Called "Internet Sharing" (yes, Microsoft can be quite dull). Mango beats both Apple's iOS 5 and Android's Ice Cream Sandwich to the market, but can it turn the early lead into holiday sales?
Wireless Sync From Web Marketplace
Microsoft has taken a note from Android with the Web Marketplace and the ability to load applications straight from a Web browser to the smartphone. That is something that the Android Market has been able to do since earlier this year. It is great for consumers that buy a new phone and are not able to transfer all their apps automatically from one device to another in the retail store.
Microsoft's Ben Rudolph put together a video to show off the Web Marketplace. Take a look and let us know what you think of it in the comments.
Anatomy Of A Clean Mobile Update
Google should take note of how Microsoft is handling the rollout of Windows Phone 7.5. Every single Windows Phone will get the update, across both OEMs and carriers. It will be a mass but graduated rollout that started at 10 a.m. PT. It will eventually go out to 98% of all WP7. Microsoft and partners are going to start with 10% of users this week and ramp up to 25% next week. The whole process will be completed within a month.
By the end of the update, there will be relatively little fragmentation in the Windows Phone 7 pool. Every phone (if the user has chosen to download the update) will have the same version of WP7. That makes it infinitely easier on developers trying to create apps for the platform. The update contains some "firmware" updates outside of the actual Mango packet that will optimize devices for Mango as well. Microsoft will be managing quality the entire way.
Updating the Android ecosystem has become an extreme mess. Part of that is because Google is not often involved. For the most part, OEMs work with their carrier partners to roll out updates to singular devices. Google said earlier this year that it would take a more active roll in getting updates to users and there has been some improvement to the system but the fact of the matter is that more than half of Android is still running Frozen Yogurt (2.2), not Ginger Bread (2.3.4).
Now, it is much easier for Microsoft to install and monitor Windows Phone 7.5 updates than it is for Google. Frankly, Windows Phone does not have many users or the depth of device parity that Android does. That makes it much easier for Microsoft to monitor quality. Android has hundreds of devices spread across more than a hundred million users. Windows Phone has several million users, most of them in the United States.