One of the most frustrating issues about Windows Phones is that once an operating system upgrade has been released, it could take months, or perhaps not at all, before it's released by mobile operators to your phone. Carriers like AT&T take their time in "testing" the updates against their cellular networks, and in the meantime users are frustrated that the latest and greatest bits they've been reading about on WinBeta aren't available.
That's all apparently about to change with Windows 10 Mobile. As noted by Ed Bott over at ZDNet, Microsoft slipped the news into a post on the Microsoft Ignite blog, entitled Introducing Windows Update for Business, where Terry Myerson not only drops the bombshell but gets in a dig at Google while he's at it:
We follow up on all reported security issues, continuously probe our software with leading edge techniques, and proactively update supported devices with necessary updates to address issues. And today, we’re announcing this continuous update process applies to all Windows 10 devices, including phones.
This level of commitment and support is far different than Android, for example, where Google refuses to take responsibility for updating their customers’ devices, leaving end-users and business increasingly exposed every day they use the device.
Ed went on to clarify with a Microsoft spokesperson that phones running Windows 10, including both personal and business SKUS, will indeed get all updates coming from Microsoft for the phones, including security and reliability fixes as well as new features. Microsoft will make the final call on "when to push the update button", according to Bott.
Previously, Microsoft introduced a "preview for developers" program that introduced a bit of a workaround for enthusiasts not wanting to wait for the latest bits for their Windows Phone 8.1 devices, but this new program is more than that. Microsoft will continue the Windows Insider program for phones as well as for PCs and other devices, and carriers will be included in that program, gaining access to new builds at the same time as Microsoft's internal Elite Dogfood program, with the ability to offer feedback on new fixes and features to Microsoft before the builds are released.
Of course carriers will presumably continue to offer firmware updates to phones in their networks, some of which may be required for new features to be fully functional, as we've seen in the past. Still, this new development is good news for Windows 10 Mobile (soon to be) users, and will allow Microsoft to continue to make advancements to Windows 10 without having to beg the carriers to come along for the ride.