Editorial: The continuing diminishing return from updates

diminishing rtrnsI have been mulling some thoughts around updates in my head, as one is wont to do when writing about Windows Phone 7 and smartphones in general.

Much of the conversation around updates and the lack of them on Windows Phone 7 has concentrated on the disparity between the pace on Windows phone 7 and iOS and Android. I think it misses out the relative importance of the updates which are delivered.

If anyone is prioritizing properly, the earlier updates are the ones which are most important, and which will affect the larger number of people, and the later ones will be the ones just be fritting around the edges addressing corner case usage scenarios.

This often means, no matter how dazzling the feature, often very few people will use it.  For the iPhone seminal updates would of course have been copy and paste and the iPhone App store, which came one and two years after launch.  The OS has had hundreds of other updates, but these of course pale in significance.  Recent ones like Airplay, Face Time and even multi-tasking will likely see very limited use by most consumers. Ones like CDMA support, which came only months ago, are actually much more significant.

While we all have our major features we miss (I would kill for a screen shot button combination) the truth is that with with an app and music store, cut and paste, Facebook integration and CDMA support, not only is Windows Phone 7 far ahead of where the iPhone was at the same stage, but most importantly, the OS has covered 80% of the needs of the average user.  Sure, the next 20% will take longer, as it always does in any project, but that does not mean Windows Phone 7 is years behind in user experience or features.

In terms of features which will have a real impact on usage, the main ones missing would be better a more comprehensive GPS navigation solution, to make the OS more competitive with Android, but remember that operating system does not even come with a comprehensive gaming and music solution yet.

In short, my satisfaction with the OS is still high, despite the lack of an avalanche of updates, and that is because the features I use most work well, and the most of the features I need are already present.

How is your Windows Phone 7 satisfaction rate? Let us know below.

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