A minor Windows Phone 7 update released by Microsoft earlier this week is causing major problems for owners of Samsung's Omnia 7 and Focus smartphones, but Microsoft says the issue only affects a "small number" of devices and is easy to avoid.
"We’ve identified a technical issue with the Windows Phone update process that impacts a small number of Samsung phones," said Mike Stroh, a technology writer in Microsoft's Windows Phone 7 team, in a Wednesday blog post.
Microsoft says the update is designed to improve the software update process and lay the foundation for future Windows Phone 7 updates, which will add features like copy and paste and Marketplace search. But after reports surfaced Tuesday of some users' smartphones being rendered inoperable, or "bricked" after installing the update, Microsoft decided to suspend the update for some users.
Microsoft says it's working on fixing the issue and will offer it to owners of Samsung Windows Phone 7 devices "as soon as possible". Microsoft is also advising the "small number" of customers whose smartphones have been bricked to contact their carrier, or Samsung, for options on repairing their devices.
Meanwhile, Microsoft believes that the ensuing wave of paranoia that has arisen from the faulty Windows Phone update has been blown out of proportion.
"Ninety percent of people who’ve received an update notification have installed the new software patch successfully," Stroh said in the blog post. "So when your turn to download it arrives, chances are good this will be a non-event."
Of the 10 percent of Windows Phone 7 users that did encounter a problem with the update, nearly half had "a bad Internet connection or insufficient computer storage space," Stroh added. Microsoft is advising customers to check their Internet connection and available disk space before installing the update.
It remains to be seen whether this issue will hamper Windows Phone 7 sales, but no matter how Microsoft spins it, this is a black eye for a company that's teetering on the edge of mobile irrelevancy.