Since I posted my original article on the subject of AT&T's unwillingness to approve updates to current-generation Windows Phones, I have read some promising news on the subject.
According to this wpcentral article, AT&T is planning to approve a post-8107 update to be pushed to current-generation WP7 devices, though they aren't willing to provide a timeframe for the release. Assuming that ATT&T is being truthful, and that they don't change their corporate minds, this means that those of us who bought Samsung Focus S or Focus Flash, or HTC Titan devices when they first came out won't be left out in the cold. That's good news for us, but the news could still be better. If you bought one of the first generation devices from AT&T -- the original Samsung Focus, LG Quantum, HTC Surround, or Dell Venue Pro -- you may not get the update, though that's not a sure thing. Since those phones are still less than two years old, I believe they should still get it.
I also disagree with the idea of holding off on bugfix updates because a feature update that they want to give us is coming up. The 8107 update has been available since January, and Tango is just making its way out the door now or very soon (assuming that Tango is the update they want us to have). Because 8107 was strictly an update to fix problems in the OS and nothing that would affect the OS feature set or the way the device interacts with the cellular network, it absolutely should have been released immediately. I'm cautiously optimistic that we will get the update, and get it reasonably soon, but I am still upset at AT&T both for their stance on pushing this update and for the lack of clear communication about it. They could have prevented a lot of the wailing and gnashing of teeth by their customer base simply by saying up front that they were holding the update until Tango came along.
Thanks to wpcentral and the AT&T community forums for the heads-up.