Nokia Lumia update news causes anger

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Here we go again. Now, I’ll be honest and admit that Android is a bit of a mess when it comes to OS updates. With Android, some handsets get updated, others don’t and there’s stacks of ROM’s floating around to help get around or confuse the situation. With the iPhone it’s a lot clearer – an update arrives and it rolls out to your iPhone and, unlike other manufacturers, it really doesn’t matter where you got the phone or what network it’s on.

When Windows Phone 7 first appeared, we were told that Microsoft would be controlling the updates more tightly. However, back at the very start of 2012 there was uproar after this post seemed to suggest that mobile networks would have influence in the update schedule.

Fast-forward almost a year and we’re getting the same reaction to this news item which details a new update for the Lumia 920 and 820…

Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 have been out for almost a month and have been turning heads ever since.

Because we’re committed to providing a fantastic experience to our Lumia 920 and 820 customers, we are releasing a software update that brings a number of enhancements initially to the Nokia Lumia 920 and Lumia 820 at AT&T in the United States and to the Lumia 920 at Rogers in Canada.

Yes, the first people to get this update won’t be those who bought unlocked, SIM-free handsets. Instead it’ll be those using the Rogers and AT&T networks in the USA. Just a few days ago Nokia promised an update to address problems “before the end of the year”. Many presumed this to be a globally available update.

This is a lot better than the Android update model where we see some updates arriving on some phones but not on others. Jelly Bean seems like a pipe-dream for many. Here, at least, there is a plan to get all Lumia 920 and 820 handsets updated however, the sting in the tail and the news that has annoyed many is the fact that other owners will have to wait until February for this update. Worse still, the Windows Phone 8 update includes a number of badly-needed features and extras…

Enhancements in Messaging
More efficient and reliable
Bluetooth connectivity
More efficient and reliable start-up sequence
Enhancements in imaging performance and battery management
Additional platform updates and enhancements

If you’re concerned about the wait then Nokia say that..

Rest assured, we are working with Microsoft and our operator partners around the globe to ensure the highest quality software updates for our family of Lumia smartphones. Together with Microsoft, we aim at beginning to deliver these updates to other markets in early February 2013.

Those who bought unlocked “network clean” phones will have to wait. I don’t think I’ve ever seen SIM-free phones at the back of the queue before, and you can see the frustration in the comments. Early adopters who have stumped up for unbranded handsets seem to be a lower priority. I’ve seen a lot of the tech websites covering this but, because the majority are based in the USA, the news has been given a positive spin. Personally I don’t feel that this is right.

Update – Nokia Director Doug Dawson has chipped in to the comments and tried to defend the move, but seems to have made things worse…

The reality is, high quality software updates require a level of operator-specific customizaion.

This comment is followed by a string of people asking why SIM-free vanilla handsets with “standard firmware” are so difficult to update. It’s true. Those “operator specific” tweaks should take longer to complete.

Microsoft, Nokia, listen to me. Your market share is small. Time and time again I see early adopters to your platform cast aside. You need to stop doing this, especially to the core group of people shelling out for an unsubsidised phone.

Personally, I’m of the opinion that AT&T and Rogers have probably threatened to pull these handsets off the shelves, so Microsoft has pushed this update out to them first. Call me bitter, call me biased, but there’s simply no reason for making those wait who’ve paid for an unbranded phone. It’s smells of politics.

Those people who paid extra for the unbranded version are your fans. These are probably the same people who bought the earlier Lumia 800’s only to find, months later, that Windows Phone 7 was effectively a dead OS. Your loyal fans who paid that money so that updates wouldn’t get slowed down by network approvals and tweaks. Camera issues, random reboots and other issues continue to plague those customers and you’re now telling them to wait longer while some get the fix.

Nokia, Microsoft, you need to treat your most loyal followers properly.

Links – Nokia ConversationsNokia, Iceberg Right Ahead

  • bugs

    The point being ” this is Microsoft” ;)

    • PT

      I got my update for my HTC 8X (no carrier) about a week ago.

  • Moo Moo Head

    HAHAHAHA, what a stupid comment to make from the Nokia Director…. completely and untterly pointless comment.
    Is the update coming to the HTC handsets as well or is it Nokia specific?
    I can only hope for the WP8 users that the operator specific issues are because they had to bow to the operators to get them to take the handsets, if it takes off, maybe the next versions will be less specific. Like Samsung with the different versions of the SII to same SIII in the US.

  • http://www.facebook.com/Bomuld Tommy Lindegaard Nielsen

    compared to iphone, this blows, compared to android this is epic win! I just saw that SG2 (from AT&T as far as I recall) will get 4.04 now. Seriously! WTF?

    Anyway, back on topic. It is weird that those with unbranded phone will get the update later, but i’m guessing there’s a perfect “good” reason for this. Maybe it was a contract paragraph to make the AT&T exclusive, even more exclusive that they get the updates first. Network operators badly need better image (just as the SG2 example above shows), AT&T and other operators are always late to the party… If AT&T with WP8 can be positioned as “first movers” this may attract new customers and be a USP compared to V, sprint, t-mo etc…
    This is pure speculation, but could be a reason for the delay for unbranded models.

  • Eleanor Roberts

    Is there any way to determine which phone company provides the most timely and consistent updates? AT&T seems to do a lot of updates, which keeps them relevant while building its 4G LTE network. I’ve got the service here in New York and it helps my graphics design work tremendously when it comes to sending large files quickly.