Microsoft Releasing Second Windows Phone 7 Update in February

Windows Phone 7 logo with WP7 device screenshot

Two big updates are scheduled for Windows Phone 7 in early 2011.

Microsoft’s new Windows Phone 7 operating system is a solid improvement over the company’s past attempts to translate its overwhelming success in computer operating systems to smart phones. However, WP7 is not without its shortcomings. Most notably, the ‘copy & paste’ feature is absent in the first version. Microsoft will fix this glaring feature omission in a January update and add more features shortly afterwards in a February update. The inevitable WP8 update has received some hints already as well.

WP7 Update 1: January

Who ever thought copy & paste would be a feature that requires an OS update? Only from Microsoft.

 

Steve Balmer–CEO of Microsoft—will be on stage at the 2011 Consumer Electronics Show in Las Vegas to announce and demonstrate the first update to WP7. The update brings copy and paste to the phones, turn by turn GPS navigation and support for Microsoft’s SkyDrive (a cloud-based virtual hard drive). CES 2011 is being held from January 6-9th but no word yet on when the actual update will become available. Interestingly, this first update is expected to not be over-the-air like most smart phone software updates but instead require users to connect their WP7 devices to their PCs to start the process.

WP7 Update 2: February

Not that much is known about this update yet, but VoIP calling features (like are in Android OS 2.3 ‘Gingerbread’), improved multi-tasking and lot of new APIs for developers to use with their apps. In app content downloads will also be available and expect the feature to help create a strong app market for the platform. Visual voicemail of some type is also expected to make an appearance.

Balmer will be taking the stage again at the 2011 Mobile World Congress event in Barcelona in February. Expect him to announce this update then. If Brian Keller’s recent statement is any hint, expect an update to Silverlight in the mobile operating system as well. Keller works as a senior tech evangelist for Microsoft and his comments hint at the MWC event in a pretty obvious way:

I think we are saving [Silverlight] for say another event. If only there was a massive event in Barcelona on mobile phones and or other events in the future.

Nice.

WP7 Update 3: ?

This update to Windows Phone 7 is expected to actually be classified as Windows Phone 8. WP8 will include a number of improvements, including a completely overhauled Internet Explorer Mobile. From a job listing Microsoft posted back at the end of November, looking for an expert to join its Windows Phone browser team:

This [job] will include a major overhaul of standard support and new approaches to make significant advances in performance, power consumption and bandwidth utilization.

Now we just need a release date…

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