I get this question a couple times a day - How or when will I be able to get a ROM image to upgrade my phone to WIndows Mobile 6? I'll try to answer as clarly as I can:

  • Carriers will provide the Upgrades- after all, they own the customer interaction int he US and every phone must go through a certification process to get on their network. Elsewhere int he world it is easier to buy an unlocked phone at retail, from Expansys or from iMate and pop in your SIM card. In this case the device manufactuers could provide upgrades. If you use a beta or unsupported upgrade you could experience quality issues like the ones Mike is having.

  • Not all phones will have upgrades - Creating a ROM image requires a significant investment from the device manufacturer (OEM) and the Carrier (or Mobile Operator as they are called everywhere else). Carrier's certification process, known as Technical Acceptance (TA) takes at least six weeks, and requires an investment that easily gets to a million dollrs. There is also an opportunity cost, both on the certification resources that must be prioritized over other phones, and in engineering resources: do we invest in upgrades for existing phones or do we accelerate launch of new phones. It is not easy to justify this investment when there is not a clear indication of how many more phones they could sell with an upgrade. We do what we can to show them the opportunity and get as many phones in the upgrade path.

  • The only phone for which an uypgrade has been announced in the US is T-Mobile Dash - When we announced Windows Mobile 6 at 3GSM T-Mobile announced they will make available a free software upgrade for T-Mobile Dash users. This is coming really soon. I will post the link to the upgrade as soon as it is available.

  • CTIA is next week. It's the biggest industry event for the cellular industry in the US, and a great opportunity for other operators to  announce upgrades ;-)  I promise to post them on my blog as soon as they are announced....er, if anyone were to annoucne anything :-)