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We know that Microsoft has every intention of releasing the next big update to Windows Phone, titled Mango, before the end of the year, but rumors are starting to get out of control as to when exactly the update will land on handsets. That’s to be expected, considering that Microsoft is keeping quiet on the final release date. The latest rumor to be added to the mill suggests that Mango could land on handsets as early as September 1st, which is basically right around the corner from now. While that would be fantastic for those who already own Windows Phone, that date doesn’t seem all that likely.

The first words around the block suggested that Microsoft would be releasing Mango sometime in the Fall. That seemed to make the most sense, considering that Microsoft said before the end of the year, and several months down the line from the initial unveiling of Mango. And the Fall time period would work for phone manufacturers who want to release devices for the holiday shopping season, or at least get customers ready to buy phones around that time. But, Steve Ballmer has said in the past that Mango would land in time for Christmas, which would suggest that a release date later in the month of December.

But we can’t forget that Nokia has plans to release their own branded devices running Mango later this year, too. But, we can probably guess that Nokia will unveil (officially, officially) their first Windows Phone-powered handsets at the Nokia World Conference, which is scheduled to kick off in October. This may not seem like much of a point, but considering the heavy presence that Nokia has now with Windows Phone, and the way that Microsoft is betting on Nokia to bring Mango (and Windows Phone) to the forefront of customer awareness, it would seem odd that Mango would land on devices before Nokia has a chance to unveil their own wares.

The question, whether or not Microsoft should launch Mango for devices as an upgrade in Christmas, is an important one for Microsoft to consider. Why? Because Microsoft has been able to stay away from the mangled update process that has plagued some companies out there, at least for the most part. It hasn’t been perfect, no, but it went better than a lot of people thought it would. They need to make sure that this stays intact. They can’t have jumbled upgrade processes bringing Windows Phone down, just as they’re trying to push it into the limelight.

They can avoid this by first making sure that the update lands before the end of 2011, just as they said it would. And that doesn’t just mean that the update is made ready for devices, but that devices have the update before 2011 wraps up. Yes, that means all of them. And while hiccups are bound to occur, and so it should be expected that some complications will rise up during the process, Microsoft has to make an effort to get the update out there, and available for current handsets, before Christmas wraps up and we’re ringing in the New Year.

The only way that Microsoft can really do this in a comfortable fashion, and to make sure that they give themselves enough breathing room for the update process, is to start releasing the upgrade well before Christmas time; if they wait too long into the final months of the year, they’re just asking for disaster. That’s why the most recent rumor regarding September 1st may actually have some weight to it. With all of the red tape and obstacles that Microsoft has to go through to make sure that their devices get updated, especially when it comes to specific carriers across the globe, the sooner they start the process the better. So they start the process in September, and tell consumers that the roll-out will occur over a couple of months. That gives the carriers plenty of time to test the update, make sure it works and doesn’t ruin anything, and then push the update out to phones.

I don’t think Microsoft should wait until Christmas to push out the Mango update. I think that’s just asking for trouble and at the worst time to be asking for trouble. You get Mango out there before Christmas, so that it isn’t just the new handsets that have the latest software. Sure, that will sell phones, but you don’t want to bite those who have already bought your phones, either.

When do you think Microsoft will release Mango out into the wild? Do you think Ballmer’s Christmas prediction will come to fruition? Or do you think the company will try to get the update out sooner? Let me know in the comments below.


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