The first expected Windows Phone 7 firmware update is due to be released next Monday, if you believe some English language tech Web sites, which are reporting on rumors from French tech Web sites, which appear to be based on even earlier rumors from English language Web sites.
It's typical of the "hall of mirrors effect" on Internet news that's interlaced by feeds, tweets, and Google search. None of the new rash of speculation goes much beyond what Microsoft has publicly announced about the pending firmware revision, or what other sites have been reporting -- and guessing -- since mid-December.
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At some point, someone is bound to guess right about when the update will be available on Windows Phone 7 handsets. The expectation is that the code changes, reportedly finalized by Microsoft in January, have or shortly will have passed testing by the mobile carriers, clearing the way for them to be downloaded to activated handsets.
Essentially, you can still expect copy/paste, software fixes and support for a new Qualcomm chipset, according to some sources, and possibly some improvements in memory to make applications load faster.
Some sites are also saying the February code release will offer some level of multitasking support and key changes to the Windows Phone browser, adding Internet Explorer 9's Trident 5 rendering engine, HTML 5, Silverlight and gesture support. But some, like WindowsPhoneSecrets.com blogger Paul Thurrott, have said for several weeks that these elements will be part of a major new version of the Windows Phone OS, due out later in 2011.
Electronista reports the rumor about the OS update being released on Monday, Feb. 7, apparently because it's a week before Microsoft CEO Steve Balmer gives a keynote address at Mobile World Congress, where Windows Phone 7 was first unveiled a year ago. It links to LiveSide.net, which goes into more details and speculation, based on a very brief post it found at WindowsPhoneFR.com, which essentially does nothing except link to another French site, Megados. According to Google Translate, the Megados post simply asserts that the WP7 update "is finally revealed and is available to the general public."
WindowsPhoneFR also links to its own previous posts about the planned update, including those that speculate it would be released in February, and that it bears the code-name "NoDo," a contraction of "No Donuts," a name apparently first mentioned by Thurrott in a Jan. 5 blogpost about the pending update.
In a Jan. 11 post, WindowsPhoneFR clearly seems confused, if Thurrott is correct in the timing of the update. WPFR seems to have mistaken the January code approval to be one software release and "NoDo" to be a second due in February.
Sometimes where there's smoke, there's just ... smoke.
John Cox covers wireless networking and mobile computing for "Network World."
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