Monday, May 5, 2008
Homebrew ROM Updates Over The Air via AppToDate?
Posted by Rocco Augusto in "Smartphone Talk" @ 01:00 PM
I was incredibly excited when Windows Update was announced for the Windows Mobile platform. Logic fooled me into thinking that if Windows Update was being included with our new devices then Microsoft most have cooked up a plan to issue us system updates without the need to flash our devices - and risk something going wrong and bricking our handsets - or even distribute updates to software packages like Office Mobile or Live Search Mobile. Unfortunately at this moment in time I cannot think of anything that was distributed via Windows Update at all. This is why I love the idea behind AppToDate. The whole concept behind this application is so simplistic and beautiful that I am completely baffled as to why a system such as this is not included with our handsets!
As the video above shows it is perfectly within our grasps to issue complete system upgrades over the air without the need to connect our devices to our computers. Personally I would never feel comfortable upgrading a device in such a way, but it can be done!
For years we have been spoon-fed excuses as to why it takes so long for updates, if they are even released for our devices, to actually make it into our handsets. When I worked for AT&T my favorite excuse was that "it takes a really long time and a lot of effort to develop a ROM that works with our network." With the recent boom of cooked ROMs becoming more popular with Windows Mobile users the community as a whole is realizing that it doesn't really take as much time and resources as we have all been led to believe. If a small group of volunteer developers can cranks out a somewhat stable upgraded OS for our devices in less than a few months time, can someone please explain to me why it is so difficult for a company like Microsoft, AT&T, Samsung or any of carrier or device manufacture with actual financial resources to do the same thing?
Now at Smartphone Thoughts we in no way shape or form encourage the installation of cooked ROMS, but they do exist and we do receive news on them often. More and more users are starting to turn to these ROMs because they know it is most likely the only way they will ever get a software update for their handsets. Now I can sort of understand from a business standpoint why some of the older devices do not receive new OS updates. I respect the fact that carriers need to push out new handsets and by limiting the number of devices that receive updates they in turn force users to upgrade their phones for the better mobile experience. However somewhere along the line someone forgot to mention to the carriers that while a lot of users would love to upgrade their devices, they cannot do so until they are eligible for an upgrade. In turn the customer end up being punished for being... well... the customer.
Maybe it is time that Microsoft and the carriers got together and took a long hard looks at programs like AppToDate as well as the all of the recent chatter about cooked ROMs and realized that it is time to do something about this clunky situation. Isolation has always played an important role in evolution and Windows Mobile users for years have been extremely isolated as far as software updates are concerned. Microsoft has taken the first steps by including the Windows Update software into its newest editions of the Windows Mobile software and now it is time to take that next big leap and actually use it. If AppToDate and the slew of recently released cooked ROMs have shown us anything it is that the technology is well within our grasps and there is no reasons that things have to be as difficult and frustrating as they are now.
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