AT&T’s recent PR blunders just seem to pile on top of each other, as the latest one centers around its Windows Phone lineup and a longstanding bug present in all AT&T models that makes the virtual keyboard disappear without warning and with no discernible pattern based on specific model, as it varies between manufacturer. The long-available Windows Phone Build 8107 update is designed to fix the disappearing keyboard bug as well as other issues related to email sync via Gmail, GPS issues with location lock, and security certificate issues.
Windows Phone owners on AT&T have taken to the carrier’s own support forums to find out more information about a possible fix for the issue and were met with silence before an AT&T employee filed a terse statement that was clearly meant to deflect customer complaints rather than actively resolve the issue as seen below, since the carrier has now taken to deleting any posts relating to the update instead of coming clean on the issue. While AT&T will be rolling out Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh, the official name for the Tango update next month with the launch of the LTE enabled Nokia Lumia 900, forcing owners to wait for the Tango update will only engender more frustration and ill will towards AT&T, especially as the update has been available since January.
While Tango does fix all of the aforementioned issues encountered, refusing to address them in a timely manner only makes Windows Phone look worse as a platform while it continues to struggle for relevance and Microsoft continually stumbles over itself in order to promote its advantages over iPhone and Android. In short, both Microsoft and AT&T aren’t doing themselves any favors by refusing to address this issue directly instead of doing the right thing and releasing a proper statement as to why they aren’t rolling out the much needed Build Update and are instead making customers wait for 7.5 Refresh.
What makes this situation all the more absurd is that AT&T is actively antagonizing its own customers that bought into Windows Phone expecting timely updates, as it was one of the main tenets of the platform after the appalling track record for updates found on the previous Windows Mobile platform, which forced users to continually purchase new hardware if they wanted the latest updates and drove many to the mod/hacker scene to receive the updates that were routinely ignored by both carriers and manufacturers.
By carrying on deleting posts related to the update and refusing to provide a solid answer, AT&T is only adding to its perception as a customer hostile carrier that cares very little about its Windows Phone products outside of continually selling new devices instead of provided sometimes necessary updates to owners of current hardware and that simply should not be tolerated anymore, especially when Android and the iPhone set standards for handset updates. Microsoft is also at fault, for allowing the carriers to walk all over its plan to provide updates for all handsets regardless of importance in order to maintain a consistent user experience across all carriers and instead pulling its update roadmap due to carrier pressure.
What AT&T should do is simple: Open up to those Windows Phone customers asking about the update on its forum with a clear statement on why the Build 8107 update will not be rolled out and offer a clear timeline on when customers can instead expect Windows Phone 7.5 Refresh for each respective phone in the lineup. Only then will they be able to make amends for this latest activity.