I've had a Nokia Lumia 710 for a few months now. I like the Windows Phone running Nokia a lot, and even my Android fanboy feelings don't stop me from telling people that the device is excellent value for money, and an easy to use device for non smartphone geeks. Sadly Nokia have dangled the Windows Phone 7.5 Tango update at me for months now, and I'm still waiting for the update to be available for my Lumia 710.
All is well with the device, I have had no hardware problems with it at all. I purchased non-original spare batteries for the Lumia 710 at a very reasonable price, and with my Galaxy Nexus it is currently always with me. I actually use the Lumia 710 as my main mp3 player. Zune, the desktop sync software for Windows Phone, allows me to manage my podcast subscriptions easily and quickly, as long as I remember to boot into Windows.
A few months ago I was excited by Nokia's announcement that the Windows Phone 7.5 Tango update would be soon available for the Lumia 710 and Lumia 800. Since then there was a long period of silence on the matter and then at the beginning of July Nokia started the update the rollout. The update was available on certain carriers in the UK, and marked as "Waiting for approval" on other ones. H3G (Three UK) were one of the carriers "Waiting for approval" and when I checked back this morning it was marked as
On both Zune and the handset itself no update is available for my Lumia 710. I'm still waiting.
This makes me think that the one of the most important "features" of Windows Phone is a bit shaky. Android Fragmentation is often used as an argument against using Android. The lack of update support and the delay of updates caused by device manufacturers, network providers and regional settings may not actually be a problem solely existing on the Android platform. I have a friend with a Dell Venue Pro, a discontinued Windows Phone made by a company who has given up on the smartphone market for now. He already has the Windows Phone 7.5 Tango update, while my shiny and relatively new Lumia doesn't. I'm peeved to say the least. Windows Phone updates are supposed to be rolled out almost all at the same time to everyone with a Windows Phone, avoiding a fragmentation of the market.
Not only the Windows Phone 7.5 Tango update is a fragmentation issue. Windows Phone 8 has already been announced by Microsoft. Existing Windows Phone devices will not be able to support the new smartphone OS. Instead, Windows Phone 7.8 will be rolled out to existing devices with a few cosmetic changes and not much else. I wonder how long it will take my Nokia Lumia 710 to get the update to 7.8. Probably ages.
Please Nokia, if you want to survive as a business and win back customers, if you want to shine again rather than just be another Windows Phone OEM get the updates rolling out quickly and smoothly. Windows Phone Fragmentation is the last thing you need.
So my suggestion is that bloggers, tech journalists, and smartphone geeks start speaking of the teacup elephant in the corner: Windows Phone Fragmentation. Seriously, it is unlikely it will ever happen. At the moment and for the foreseeable future the Windows Phone market share is tiny and hiccups like these will only hamper its growth.
[Update] Less than a week after this blog post I got the Tango update. You can read my impressions here
Right, I'm getting back to playing with my shiny new Nexus 7. As usual, feel free to leave comments and/or questions below. I'll update this post as soon as I get the Windows Phone 7.5 Tango update on my Nokia Lumia 710.