Windows Mobile Updating – Broken, difficult, confusing

Windows Mobile Updating   Broken, difficult, confusing OK, I’ve had several emails following our HTC Touch Diamond ROM update story yesterday. I wanted to post a reply to this here, because I and other websites have raised recently with Microsoft – let’s just say that it’s a very sore point.

The iPhone recently got updated. The update got rolled out through iTunes and every customer had their phone improved. Job done. The HTC Touch Diamond, which many feel is the Microsoft competitor, also had a fantastic update with many improvements. However, a huge proportion of Diamond owners will never see this. Why? Well, there isn’t just one Diamond version. They all look fairly similar and work the same but they’re not identical. Some of you may be getting the o2 XDA Ignito, some of you may have the Orange version, the Vodafone version or perhaps the T-Mobile MDA Compact IV, which is still a HTC Touch Diamond at heart.

The major issue here is that the networks become responsible for updating “their” phones. If you go to the HTC eClub and try to update your Orange HTC Touch Diamond you will simply fail. Why? Because it wasn’t purchased directly from HTC. Confused? Well yes, and you’re not the only one. HTC is no longer a company who “just make phones for other people”, they are a brand in their own right with the “HTC” logo plastered all over the phone. It’s logical for people to think that HTC or Microsoft should provide the updates directly, no matter what network they bought the phone from.

So what about you, dear HTC Touch Diamond owner? How do you update and enhance the phone you bought from a network ? You have two choices. The first involves waiting for a hard-to-find link to appear somewhere on your operator’s website. We’ll probably post it here because the network won’t push it down to you automatically or text you to let you know it exists. The benefits, when / if you do get the update, are that it’ll keep your network settings (MMS / data etc) and you stay within the terms and conditions of your contract or network agreement. The second option is to get the updated ROM from The benefits here are that you’ll get the update, plus the clever HTC network app should install the appropriate MMS and data settings itself. The downside is that you’ll lose the network “modifications” (colour themes etc) and your network may not want to talk to you any more.

You won’t get many websites telling you all this, but unfortunately this is where we are. If you are in the huge majority of Windows Mobile owners – those who got their phones through a network – then this is your choice. You can either look on in envy as other network-free owners upgrade their phone without a problem whilst you wait for your network to come out with their flavoured version, or go do it yourself and deal with the consequences.

Update – HTC have now made it easier to grab software updates, without having to login to anything – grab the update for your handset at and click “Support”, or read more here. Unfortunately this still doesn’t mean that carrier-branded handsets from HTC will be getting the same update treatment.