Windows Phone 7 update rolls out, slowly

After a series of embarrassing update glitches in February, Microsoft is bringing out its latest phone software to a small group of customers before unleashing it on the masses.

Jay Greene Former Staff Writer
Jay Greene, a CNET senior writer, works from Seattle and focuses on investigations and analysis. He's a former Seattle bureau chief for BusinessWeek and author of the book "Design Is How It Works: How the Smartest Companies Turn Products into Icons" (Penguin/Portfolio).
Jay Greene
2 min read

Microsoft wanted to take some extra time to release the latest Windows Phone 7 update to iron out problems of a February update that rendered some Samsung phones temporarily unusable. Problems solved, mostly, Microsoft says. The update has begun to trickle out, first to phones in Europe that don't have mobile carrier brands.

Josh Lowensohn/CNET

The new update was supposed to be unleashed to the masses in the first two weeks of March. But a series of glitches with software updates in February led Microsoft to revise the schedule. Back then, Microsoft pushed software out to the phones to prepare them for updates that would add new features. That brought the first batch of problems, rendering some Samsung devices unable to update their system software, and some other Samsung devices unusable. Microsoft stopped the update to fix the bugs. But even the follow-up update caused some glitches.

Winrumors first reported the latest update, noting that Microsoft is gradually distributing this update. Phones that sport carriers' brands will likely receive the updates in coming weeks, presumably as those carriers test the software to avoid the February snafus.

With the problems apparently solved, the new update includes perhaps the most anticipated feature for Windows Phone 7, the ability to copy and paste text. Microsoft originally unveiled the feature in October. Of course, other phones, notably the rival iPhone, already has copy and paste.

The update also includes some performance improvements, notably the speed with which apps load. It's also streamlined searching its Marketplace, making it easier to hunt specifically for games, applications, or music in the store. And Microsoft still plans a larger update in the second half of the year that will include so-called third-party multitasking that lets users run applications in the background while working in another, and support for Internet Explorer 9.