Joe Belfiore addresses lack of major Windows Phone updates

update gears

There are a lot of users getting restless about the lack of major updates for Windows Phone 8. We’ve had Portico, which brought some messaging features and WiFi settings, but nothing major. Now GDR2 is bringing FM Radio, CalDAV/CardDAV, and the promise of Data Sense on more devices. Again, nothing major. When can we expect an update along the lines of Windows 8.1?

Joe Belfiore, head of the Windows Phone team, has heard these complaints loud and clear. He responded to a users question about the lack of major updates over in the Microsoft UserVoice forums. This is what Joe had to say:

We’re definitely here and paying attention to what you folks are asking for… keep in mind the trick for us is balancing things that make EXISTING devices better for you, our enthusiast users, versus things that create new devices to sell to a broader audience. A lot of the work in GDR2 was around enabling new devices– like the Lumia 1020, devices on Sprint, etc. so that we could keep growing the size of the WP ecosystem. We need to grow the number of people using WP so we get ISVs writing the apps, we get better/more accessories built, etc.

Of course this takes time and energy, but we still do intend to improve the user experience for you via new features. There’s some in GDR 2 (eg. DataSense broadly available, FM Radio) there’s more coming later this year, and still more after that.

Don’t worry – we are listening to you folks!

The problem I have with Joe’s response is that he separates “things that make existing devices better” and “things that create new devices for a broader audience.” To me those things should go hand-in-hand. Things that make the experience better for current users will also help entice new users. A major update could do just that. I do believe there are major updates coming, but they just aren’t coming fast enough. What do you think?

Thanks Wink!

  • CX1

    Updates will dribble out or never come if left to the carries, period.

  • yanivc

    Joe (the author not Belfiore), the 2 could not possible go hand in hand. One concept is to allow “current” handsets to capitalize on feature sets and the other is introducing new feature sets to the market. The problem is that new feature sets may not be able to run on older phones, so in essence you’ve just alienated the loyalty base you had. Why would you buy a phone that will be outdated in a year? This is the EXACT problem Android faces and is one of the biggest problems with it (fragmentation anyone?) and which is a specific reason as to why, at least in the users opinion, Android is total cr@p!
    As much as I love innovation, you have to satisfy you current user base just as much as strive to grow it.

  • yanivc

    CX1 thats a whole other topic too. You are 100% correct, the carriers also have a total choke hold on innovation.

  • JSYOUNG571

    I have given up on Windows Phone. Microsoft is still having the same issues it had when Windows Phone 7 first came out. It is still the same problems over and over again, and people keep making the same damn excuses over and over that it is a new platform and it is still learning how to walk. So as Microsoft fans we have continued to understand this for years as we purchase new phones every year because Microsoft does not have smart enough techs that know how to update OS systems on their current phones without dumping an entire platform while making excuses about a kernel. With this process, Microsoft has done nothing but alienated customers. We are still faced with the same issues a few years later. Lack of apps, promises of features with no delivery, long periods of time before an update and taking a gamble on the update bricking your phone. There is a rumor going around now that OS 9 is going to be a whole new OS that may leave current Windows Phone 8 owners in the same boat that Windows Phone 7.5 owners were left in. Of course Microsoft will tell the usual lie of promising to continue support of services to your phone. Meanwhile your phone becomes a solid brick because they are spending all their time with the new OS and nothing gets updated for your device anymore. It’s the same song every year. You can talk about Android all you want, but I have never know Google or Apple to create two marketplace stores for apps. I have also never known them to have updates to their main apps, that exclude past OS that are even or barely a year old. I still have an HTC Titan that never saw an update since I brought it. At&t never released an update for the phone. It is still stuck on 7.5. Yet, fan boys of Windows Phone will be quick to say it is my fault, because I should have learned how to rig and update by messing up my computer by plugging and unplugging my phone at the same time while I am clicking on update with Zune software within 2 seconds. I thought to myself, what kind of process is this? I have never had to do any updates on Apple or Google this way. Till this day, I have just wrote my HTC Titan off as a loss and I refuse to buy anymore Windows Phones. Apparently, I am not alone when I see the rage from current Windows Phone 8 customers who are waking up and realizing that Microsoft is just playing the dozens with them. So I don’t blame them for being very vocal in threatening to leave the platform. They have reached their limit in waiting. If or when Windows Phone platform crash and burn, Microsoft can only point the gun at themselves, for they are the reason Windows Phone has failed.

  • CX1

    Impenetrable wall of text

  • Howard Abraham

    The Lumia 925 has GDR 2.

  • Says he has given up on Windows Phone.

    Writes 500 words about it.

  • oMg

    … very rightly put !

    all the research & development efforts that should go before placing the product to end users is the missing link these days.
    meaning to say ; all the rugged testing & configuration compatibility synchronisation that should’ve been done prior to launch, is left for guess -n- trials towards users.
    when they report the bug, the innovation team listens only when there’s a lot of screams & water eventually crossing above the head !!

    the simple & easy environment of windows 95 / windows 98 was quickly adoptable & may be this was the first & foremost reason for quick afoptability of android.
    however, the usual editing functionality of windows is still better than android but all the un-stable-ness spoils the sport !!!

    hope; microsoft & google ; both are listening >> :-)