Windows Phone and AT&T [UPDATED]
...wherein I express my continuing love for Windows Phone and my disgust with AT&T...
It's no secret that I love Windows Phone. When AT&T got their first Windows Phone devices, I was right there, snapping up a Samsung Focus. When the Samsung Focus S came out a year later, I was there again. My experience with my first Focus convinced my sister-in-law to get one. One of my sons got the Focus Flash when it came out and my daughter and son-in-law each use a first generation Focus. All of this based on my experience and recommendation.
I still highly recommend the platform. I think it's a simple yet elegant UI, blazing fast, and at least as easy to use as any smartphone platform out there. It's also, at least in my experience, extremely stable with very few noticeable bugs. There are tons of apps (yes, I know, 70,000 isn't half a million or however many Apple has now, but still...), and the availability of Zune Music Pass for use with Windows Phone makes for an awesome music experience.
Now, you'll notice that I mentioned bugs in the previous paragraph. I said there were few noticeable bugs. That doesn't mean the platform is bug-free, but then there is no such thing as a bug-free piece of software. One bug that's particularly annoying is the infamous "disappearing keyboard" bug. I get bitten by this one occasionally and it's quite irritating, especially when it disappears several times in rapid succession or when I'm trying to fill in a web form and the keyboard won't come back as long as I'm on that page. Well, Microsoft has fixed that bug with their most recently released update to the platform, the "8107" update. Sadly, however, AT&T has decided not to allow this update, as well as the previous bugfix update (the "7740" update) to be released to "their" phones.
So let's see, I purchased a carrier-locked phone with the understanding that I would be receiving security and bug fixes and now, less than six months later, the carrier who sold me the phone is saying that I can't have those security and bug fixes? Who, besides AT&T, thinks this is right? AT&T is Microsoft's "premier" partner for Windows Phone in the US and they can't be bothered to allow these important updates out the door? As I said in a tweet on the subject earlier in the day, what a crock. Microsoft has done their job, but AT&T is slapping their customers in the face. I guess their "Death Star" logo is apt. Perhaps it's time for a second break-up of this "evil empire"?
Do I still love Windows Phone? Heck yeah! Do I still recommend it? Yes! But AT&T? Not so much. I understand why they always get such poor ratings from their customers. I am no longer a happy customer of theirs. I'm not going to froth at the mouth and claim that I'm leaving them when the family contract is up -- their coverage map matches my travel habits too well for me to do that, unfortunately. but I don't see myself being a happy customer of theirs again any time soon. This situation is just too ridiculous.
Since publishing this post, I have seen this post from wpcentral. This indicates that we will eventually get a later update than the ones mentioned above which means that the older updates will also get installed. I'm certainly not going to take it for granted -- I could see AT&T end-of-life-ing the current phones once the Nokia Lumia 900 hits their stores. But at least I have hope that we're going to get updates. And hopefully the update they're talking about will be the Tango update.