updated 11:40 am EDT, Tue April 14, 2009
Win Mo Device Update Job
A Microsoft job listing for a Lead Software Development Engineer hint that the company is planning to greatly simplify updates for Windows Mobile devices. Proposing a new service known as Device Update, Microsoft envisions owners receiving patches and feature updates through a single, simple utility, as with Windows Update. It would also have rare remote features, such as pushing updates to family members' phones.
No mention is made of how soon the software will be available, though Windows Mobile 6.5 is due to be finalized this month, making Windows Mobile 7 the most likely candidate for the Device Update feature.
Microsoft calls the development of the service a response to "several competitors playing in the field" and is now often thought to be lagging behind Android, OS X iPhone, Symbian and others due in no small part to the static nature of Windows Mobile. At present, nearly all Windows Mobile updates have to be installed as part of large firmware upgrades that have to receive approval from carriers before they can appear on devices. The delay often results in just one or two updates appearing for a given phone, and in some cases prevents any updates at all despite the handset being compatible.
Systems like the iPhone's link with iTunes allow Apple to regularly issue patches or add new features independently of carriers and have been used to add components like the iTunes Music Store and Google Street View outside of major release cycles. [via Ars Technica]