Some Android phone owners (cough - Sony Ericsson - cough) will read with envy the news that Microsoft will be controlling OTA (over the air) updates to its Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system itself.
Tech blog ZDNet forwarded a question from one of its US readers asking what the official position of Microsoft is on WP7 updates. The response was short and to the point: "Microsoft will push Windows Phone 7 software updates to end users and all Windows Phone 7 devices will be eligible for updates."
The situation with Android updates is wildly variable. The Nexus One gets them as soon as they're ready, but for all other Android phones it's the OEM that determines when they're sent out. With Froyo (2.2) HTC seems to have been the quickest, with Samsung a few months after and Motorola still stuck on 2.1. Sony Ericsson has only just got round to 2.1, while Google looks set to ping out 2.3 anytime soon.
Microsoft made the strategic decision when developing WP7 to define quite strict hardware criteria for any phone running the OS. The thinking behind it was to optimise the end-user experience and to simplify the process of developing new versions. No doubt it's trying experiences with Windows on the PC contributed to this decision.
Apple is a law unto itself, so we think WP7's biggest competitor is Android. Notwithstanding the relative merits of each platform, the reassurance of not having to wait for months, or even years, to get the latest version may persuade some people to choose WP7 over Android.