Windows Phone 7 NoDo is a no go?

The Windows Phone logo

Comment: The on-dragging rollout of Windows Phone 7's NoDo' update is (and that I can still use the present tense in Q2 of 2011 says everything) really quite a howler on Microsoft's part in the race for market share in the ultra-competitive smartphone market. What's worse is that it could actually prove to be to its detriment, even at this relatively adolescent stage in the developing platform's lifespan.

The story of NoDo's naming due to a lack of doughnuts at a Microsoft meeting might have been humourous for a short while. However, the chortling has turned to bit-chomping from WP7 users, as we became really rather sick and tired of waiting for some palatable news on when our handsets might be graced with the version 7.0.7390.0.

What justification is there for such dissatisfaction? It's not that delays to software or new operating system updates are unheard of; we all know that. It's not that owners of WP7 phones aren't understanding either those who bought an iPhone before the release of iOS 3.0 will have either knowingly acquired or stuck with handsets lacking copy and paste. The growing sense of indignation isn't helped by the fact that the (relatively minor) update was originally pencilled in for January. The real justification then is that Microsoft is doing itself and its users no favours - and the users are more than aware of it.

Windows Phone 7 isn't a bad mobile platform. Those using it might not have access to the many, many apps of Android or iOS, the openness of the former or the effortlessly slick experience of the latter. I might even concede that Microsoft's graphically glitzy approach may quickly become tedious. But WP7 is different enough to be a decent option in the market, and for the most part it does its different enough' job pretty well.

Yet whether WP7's user experience is maintained or improved upon enough to claw Microsoft some serious market share, can only be judged not only upon updates, but timely and frequent updates providing necessary as well as requested tweaks and changes. Waiting for those is what we sometimes have to do as end-users, but to wait for so long, through delay after delay, and to then have NoDo arrive in such a scatter-gun fashion (or still not at all) smacks of a lack of priority at worst and a lack of organisation at best.

Whichever one is the reason behind NoDo's tardy release, neither are particularly endearing or reassuring to WP7 adopters. Some have gone so far as to debrand' their phones just to get the update done and dusted. Microsoft needs to improve its practices substantially if Windows Phone 7 is to have a serious chance of catching up with the clear front-runners.