Massive Windows Phone 7 update rumored for January

The new features could include cut and paste and turn-by-turn directions from Bing

Windows Phone 7 early adopters won't have to wait long to get some major missing features, according to the latest murmurs.

Chris Walshie, who is part of the team that created Windows Phone 7's first jailbreaking tool, has tweeted about a "massive" update for Microsoft's newborn mobile OS. He said Microsoft was working on the update long before the phone launched, and that the company "could have called it Windows Phone 8."

Walshie added that "MS took 3 months to do what Apple did in 3 years." It's unclear how he got this information.

What's on the table if this rumor pans out? Copy and paste is an obvious candidate, given that Andy Lees, Microsoft's senior vice president of mobile communications, said the feature will arrive early next year.

We could also see some sort of multitasking for third-party apps, turn-by-turn directions from Bing and custom ringer support, according to an earlier rumor from WPCentral. However, this report is pretty shaky, originating from a forum post by someone who reportedly talked to an unnamed Microsoft employee.

Of course, if Microsoft adds all of those features in January, it would go a long way toward closing up all the major holes people have complained about with Windows Phone 7. Meanwhile, the platform's app marketplace is filling up nicely, and Verizon Wireless is supposedly "excited" to offer Windows Phones when they're ready for CDMA networks.

I often hear Apple-bashers complain when Microsoft is criticized for Windows Phone 7's missing features, because the iPhone didn't add the same features until two or three years after launch. That's irrelevant. What's important is the current state of all smartphone platforms, and Microsoft has some catching up to do. If these rumors pan out, it's not too late.

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Jared Newman

PC World (US online)
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