A number of news sites have been reporting about Microsoft releasing a patch that fixes an issue with sending email on your Windows Mobile 6.1 device. The patch is available from the Outlook Mobile team web site and claims to fix the problem. I’m sure it might do that, but there are a number of things that they fail to mention. So before you go and install this patch, read the issues below and weigh the decision to install or not.
#1 The patch will restart your device without warning. If you’re in the middle of typing an email, have some applications open with data not saved, or perhaps you are trying to avoid rebooting the device – period, then you’re in for a nice little surprise. There’s no mention of a reboot on the Outlook Mobile site or during the install.
#2 The device restarts in Flight Mode. I’m not sure why it was necessary to put my device into Flight mode (turning the cellular radio off) in order to fix this bug. There are some people that might be using the device in a locked down or kiosk state and they might not have access to re-enable the cellular radio. There are others who might not even know how to toggle Flight mode. If you put my device into Flight mode, you should be taking it out as well.
#3 And biggest issue that I came across – All of your IMAP or POP accounts could be deleted or inaccessible. I had 4 different email accounts on my device, but only 1 of these accounts had this SMTP problem. In that problem account I had 2 emails saved as draft because I wasn’t able to send them. The first was a short one-liner and no big deal. The other email was a proposal that I had spent the better part of an hour working on while my kids flipped and tumbled through their gymnastics class. After installing this patch my phone no longer shows these email accounts when I go into Outlook Mobile. They are not listed in the Switch Accounts window and they are not present when I push left or right from the inbox. The only accounts I have left are the default Outlook account and my SMS messages.
All of these issues are unacceptable and 100% avoidable through proper testing and communication. It’s nice to finally see Microsoft issuing patch’s to the consumer directly. However, without the proper testing you’re just wasting everyone’s time. It’s not like I have a weird or hacked phone. I’m using a BlackJack II from Samsung and AT&T – one of the most popular phones on the market today.
This gets back to the point I made in an earlier post about Microsoft employee’s actually using the device without Exchange Direct Push as so many of us do. I would love to see how many MCB team members are actually connecting their device to IMAP or POP email servers. Just like desktop ActiveSync, I think I can count the number on one hand. Microsoft, if you want to be in this game and compete against the likes of Google and Apple, you need to be more ontop of things and bring your A game to the table.
I’m off to re-create all my email accounts on the device and then retype my lost proposal.