Unlike desktop OS updates, software updates for mobile devices can be a bit tricky, even convoluted, depending on how many cooks are in the kitchen. If you add platform maker, device maker, and carrier together, you could be looking at updates that take months to land on users’ devices. While not a problem for small feature updates, it could be a death sentence as far as critical security fixes are concerned. Fortunately for Windows 10 phone users,Microsoft might be putting its foot down and will push updates directly.
In the mobile world, firmware updates take two different almost opposite strategies represented by two rivaling giants. iOS updates are directly pushed by Apple, which is easy to pull off considering the company controls all aspects of an iPhone or iPad, from software to hardware. In contrast, Android updates have to go through varying different phases, depending on where you get your device from, passing from Google to OEM to carrier. Windows Phones were almost similar to the Android way except for the fact that majority of devices are made by Microsoft anyway.
Nothing’s set in stone yet, especially considering Windows 10 Mobile isn’t even out yet, but things might be looking hopeful based on WMPoweruser’s analysis. Asking Microsoft for clarification on its update policy for future devices, Redmond responded in somewhat ambiguous statements about how it will decide when to push updates, based on input from mobile operators. This has been taken to mean that Microsoft will push Windows 10 Mobile updates directly, only keeping carriers and testers informed but not depending on their different timetables.
If true, this could have very important implications for Windows 10 Mobile beyond simply having the latest and greatest features all the time. It means that users will be able to get the most up to date security fixes. The recent Stagefright issue on Android once again highlighted how the platform’s diversity and fragmentation prevented critical updates from being pushed in a timely manner, leaving devices vulnerable for months. This new process also plays into Microsoft’s spiel of Windows as a service, with the very same rolling updates it implements on Windows 10 on desktops.
Windows 10 Mobile technically launches when the Lumia 950 and 950 XL hit markets next month, but it won’t be until December when it rolls out to existing Windows Phone 8.1 devices.