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Microsoft frustrates its base by breaking Calendar app for Windows Phone 8.1

In Windows Phone 8.1 certain core services have changed in that they can be updated dynamically, bypassing the requirement for a full-fledged OS update. In theory, that should allow Microsoft to respond to the rapidly changing market by delivering faster paced, piecemeal updates. In reality, it also increases the chances that something may go wrong, and that is exactly what has happened.

Last night Microsoft pushed out a rare update for the calendar app, which was disentangled from the OS in 8.1, much like Xbox Music. The update brought the version number to 1.0.14127.246 and there was no changelog. Although it is exasperating to users to have to update an app without knowing what changed – or improved, it is even more vexing when that update breaks something.

Immediately following the update, people in comments started to complain that the attempting to create or edit an appointment caused the calendar app to crash. We have tested the update on various devices, including the Lumia 630 with the Lumia Cyan firmware, and they all have the same problem, rendering the calendar app a view-only tool.

Currently, there are over 500 comments left in the original article, most of which vouch for the instability that the update has caused.

One temporary work-around is to use Cortana, who can add appointments directly to the OS, or to use one of the many third-party calendar apps found on the Store. However, Cortana is currently a US-based system, only accessible by changing regions on the device.

Combined with the ongoing disappointment with Xbox Music, Microsoft seems to be turning allies into enemies with these snafus. Although I expect Microsoft to put out a rapid fix for the calendar, it does not sit well with the base that something as obvious as this bug went unnoticed during testing. This crash is not some rare, hard to replicate issue and frankly they should be embarrassed. Windows Phone 8.1 is just starting to be pushed out for over-the-air updates or is already being sold on devices like the Lumia 635, just announced today for T-Mobile. This screw-up is a bad headline at the wrong time.

We've reached out Microsoft for comment on the situation. Since a few hours ago, the offending calendar app has been hidden in the Store to prevent others from updating.

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Reader comments

Microsoft frustrates its base by breaking Calendar app for Windows Phone 8.1

400 Comments

I've got that also. I think it's because your Mobile Company is a Virtual Mobile Operator (I think it's called that), and like the phone connects to the real network from the company your company is virtualized on, it thinks it's a romaing network.

Maybe if they don't have their own Network in your area.

My operator is ONO, from Spain, and it's got optical fiber almost everywhere, but lacks the mobile infraestructure, so they rent Movistar's.

I am from Austria too and use three/drei as well. And yes, it's virtualized for 2 ranges: It uses the T-Mobile Network for 2G (I guess) and A1 for 4G. Well, something like this, to be fair ;-)

Even when it is off, the triangle is there. Same with me on my Lumia 1020 with a foreign SIM, with roaming set to off.

The even when roaming is turned off, it only turns off data roaming. Your phone will still connect to the network, hence the white triangle.

What the hell was wrong with the native calendar, that prompted them to think they should change it? Damn Microsoft makes it really hard to stay loyal

Not that they were "changing" it. Lilley killing a few device or scenario specific bugs. Shit happens... I'm sure it week be fixed soon enough.

I don't see what's wrong with it being tied into the OS like before. Microsoft is the world's largest software company ya know. Apple rolls out mini iOS updates and bug fixes all the time, plus not to mention the problems with the previous Calendar & Music app was minuscule and trivial. Now not so much.

Your comment, not so much. WP has a small market share, MS were late to the game and can't just roll out updates over the heads of the carriers like Apple can. Plus they have a lot more devices to support - and will soon have way more with lots of new OEMs coming out with 8.1 devices. So it makes complete sense to decouple as much as possible.

The new calendar is much improved over the one in WP8; this is just an unfortunate bug which i'm sure will be fixed soon and on the whole is mostly affecting people beta testing (dev preview) so few customers under warranty will be affected by this. Storm in a teaspoon.

Apple had the ability to push updates directly since day 1, MS both with PDAs first and Smartphones after never flexed its muscle in favor of users of its mobile OS.
The bug is affecting WP 8.1 OS which is not in Beta, it is a RTMed OS installed on devices sold to the public.
In your opinion is a storm in a teapot, as a MS shareholder I strongly hope that the company high echelon do not float in the same state of denial.

Fritz. Apple had an advantage in that it was selling high volume, high margin devices at a time with 0 competition. Carriers would have tongued Steve Jobs dry to get the iPhone and signed up to whatever Apple wanted.

MS don't have that sway with carriers, the phones are lower value and the carriers couldn't care if MS never sell another phone. (Short sighted yes, stupid yes - as choice feeds the eco system and helps them obfuscate the tarrifs which they want [hint: they don't want you to make a simple A/B price comparison as the cheapest will win, see?]]

So don't blame MS for the stupidity of carriers. MS cmae last and faced an uphill stuggle, still do. Giving the OS away for free is a start, the OS is now fully feature rich and Apps are available. If they make the tools, the SDK* better more native apps will come.

As someone who just tried to move to a Universal app from an ol*d* 8.0 I can tell you its *not simple! But their motive is 1 codebase, multiple platform targets.

Yes Apple had Steve Jobs who, apparently, was someone able to obtain everything but.. when Apple launched the iPhone the device was a big if: the company had no previous experience with smartphones, it used a completely new way to interact with the device which, at the time, was untested and customer embracing was a big gamble. MS on the other hands has plenty of experience with smartphones: without going back even farther the first MS powered smartphone was the Motorola MPX 200, which I had, and the so much vituperated WM OS reached, before MS let it stagnate it and offered a window of opportunity to Apple and Android, almost 50% penetration of the smartphone market.

That triangle means you are on roaming. Even if you may not be experiencing any extra usage charges, mobile networks have agreements between them. Its usually, in my case, when my operator, Reliance 3G doesn't have a strong signal reception in any certain area, for the user's ease, it automatically switches to Aircel, which Reliance has partnered with (And it also sometimes switches to Vodafone IN or Tata Docomo). So there may be an agreement between your operators for provision of better service and they might be availing intra circle roaming to provide you services free of extra charges because the partnered network also does the same. And there is no need for a network to be MVNO to enter into roaming (or network sharing practically).

A friendly reminder:

WP 8.1 is in developer preview mode (aka BETA).   It could be that the Lumia 630's being shipped to TMobile and friends have newer 8.1 OS bits then the developer preview is at, and maybe this bug doesn't happen on those newer bits...  Either way, a comment from Microsoft on the matter would be appreciated.

Having been there in the past, a "Preview" is NOT "Gold Code", nor is it the final version, even when it's a "Developer" preview. To quote the documentation:

 

"Windows Phone Preview for Developers gives registered developers access to prerelease Windows Phone operating system updates for their development phone, directly from Microsoft."

"Non-Commercial Quality. The Deliverables may be prerelease and may not be compatible or work as well as a commercial, retail offering. The Deliverables may not work correctly and are not intended as a substitute for your primary means of telecommunications."

I see nowhere where this is listed as RTM code anywhere or stated that it is RTM quality as far as versions obrained through the Preview for Developers app.

 

With all that said though, the Calendar app never should have hit the store with this bug. This is BASIC functionality and should have been on a "pre flight check" as a required function multiple test engineers should have checked and flagged as a showstopper.

 

The DP is the RTM code (RTM means it's been sent to OEMs for firmware updating), this has been confirmed by many people with more knowledge of the inner workings of MS than you or I. It makes zero logistical sense for MS to maintain two branches of the OS code. Nothing you boldfaced disproves this, they're just caveats because the OS we're running excludes driver updates and the like from the OEMs that are needed to ensure proper functionality. The bottom line is it is NOT Beta. They would not send Beta code to OEMs or to the carriers for testing.

Anyway, it is pretty shocking that a bug like this would get out the door

Stop being a Microsoft apologist. It crashes on all devices with the preview and normal firmware, which I'm running.

Normally I'd agree with you, but they are actually rolling this software out to people now, several regions have received the Lumia Cyan update already. They'll fix this quickly, because they simply have to, but it should have easily been caught in testing, it's a core user story

I don't understand why they haven't rolled back the update for the app instantly, because that's easily possible and would have stopped these thousands of people complaining and prevent them tarnishing their brand image even more. I think Microsoft has a few Trojan horses in the company, I think someone pushed out this bad app on purpose.

That would be crazy, I don't think there's any need to look for conspiracy theories here. It's just disappointing that something as key in testing as "check all the appBar buttons work" was missed

You're correct that MS needs to comment. It would also be helpful for other people on these threads to post the work arounds instead of just complaining.

*** To add an event, use Cortana or manually enter it in the "day" view by tapping on a time slot.

For WPC to say "...rendering the calendar app a view-only tool." is also not going to help anyone find a temporary work around.  If people think of WPC as some sort of authority on the matter, they may give up looking for work arounds when they read that statement.

MS did mess up big time on this.

Doesn't really bother me. All of my calendar items come from Facebook for scheduled gaming events that I participate in and through Exchange because of my job. I rarely ever add something manually, so luckily I haven't had to deal with this.

Well done you then.  Here have a prize for using your calendar in a way which most people DON'T and then claiming this means there isn't a problem.

Stupid tool.

Pretty sure I never said there wasn't a problem with the app. Just saying it doesn't affect me because all of my scheduling is, for all intents and purposes, automated.

You're not really good at reading and comprehension are you?

I don't use the calendar either, but this QA issue is making me wary of my recent 2-year commitment to my Icon. Like Daniel said, this isn't exactly an obscure bug that requires specific steps to replicate it.

I basically live one day to the next and hate the idea of having my life planned out for me on a calendar. Similarly, I can't fathom why some people keep diaries to record what they have been up to that day for future reference.

Me too. I put the World Cup dates in it from Sky and the odd dentist and that's it. All my appointments/scheduling is for work and I can't sync with my laptop.

You're weird in the sense that you can't perceive how people are different.....
........
Well, looks like I am too if I think you're weird... Oh well, you still are... Lol❕

I'm sure if they are aware of this they are already working on a fix. I remember once when the music app was broken and brought to their notice they fixed it in less than 24 hrs. Lets hope the Calender app gets the same kind of treatment. ;)

Are there any insights to the MS app updates coming up? Xbox music was brought up for updates every two weeks, but haven't heard boo about giving the features folks really need (side from performance) including the calendar app.

Dan, If Joe Belfiore happens to read your article I'm sure he's going to yell at the testing team who tested the app and released it. ;)

Daniel is there any type of petition we all could sign and send to Microsoft about this? This unraveling of the OS's features into apps is ruining the whole platform, Xbox music being another example.

I don't understand why they can't have the apps separate/updateable, but still using the fast internal APIs that the built in apps used too. Apple has used private APIs in their first party app store apps...

Start menu anyone? If issues like this and the monumental fuckup that is xbox music are anything to go by then we can and will get these core apps back where they belong.

No.. Not the same thing.... XBM was obviously developed by a toddler, but that has nothing to do with the decision to remove the start screen, and just because a very, very small amount of WP users with the official WP8.1 have a broken Calendar app doesn't mean that MS is going to give up on separate apps that easy,, especially when they can just patch the app, and be done with it... The decision to bring back the start menu is a whole other story, and that was influenced by Millions... Not even relevant in this case... That's a feature, this is not..

The Music App works, but is not,fixed, things like duplicates and laggy as well as other issues mentioned by many.

Why update something if the update is broken??

I'm keeping hold of my Zune HD and WP7 devices for media, simply because the wp8/8.1 units with the new media app are hopeless for media consumption.

I'm sure Microsoft will roll out a fix soon enough, this issue along with other issues aren't the end of the world but we all have to grin and bare it until a fix is released.

I don't understand why MS developers seem unable to keep any of their apps or services good. First Xbox Music, now this. They better fix this.

The interesting thing is they've moved to having to use the same tools the rest of us have to use with these apps, and now they're seeing a few of the gaps and oddities that exist. The one positive is that this will lead to them finding these issues and improving the developer tools for everyone

I don't understand why they keep pushing out the update, just pull it back from the store and fix it. Unfortunately a lot of user are already affected but why spread the problem to everyone?

For a company that is trying to sell devs on how easy it is to program for the platform, how can they not get it right themselves? Get your sh*t together msft!

Serious question - Are these types of issues common with Android or iOS? I came to WP directly from webOS so I have nothing to compare to. And yes, I still miss webOS.

I don't but all android devices have scroll lag. Even including their nexsus device. Touch scrolling is awful,on all devices specially samsung

Yes, this is a common problems on ALL OSs.  Apple had their share of mishaps and so did Android.  As someone stated above, it's not bad coding, its bad testing.  These guys should have caught this before the update was released.  Someone wasn't doing their job and it presented as a bad face for Microsoft.  Someone will lose their job over this one, I'm sure.

yes it does happen. when my G2 was upgraded it broke email for me for months until kitkat came to it. that was just one more reason that i left for my icon. 

I am an android user, and yes, they have the same types of issues. Currently, if I accept a calendar invite, my calendar crashes. Google maps crashes about every 30 minutes when using turn-by-turn navigation. There are others, but these are the two most frustrating for me each day.

Posted via Windows Phone Central App

Simply crazy, wtf. I'm really thinking of leaving MS on the phone side... But they make more money off Android, and iPhones are too simple and small... Ugh.

Really? Breaks on many users devices, on two of mine. No overreaction, a calendar is hugely important to many many people.

Think i'm going to get an iPhone 6 if there is one over 5 inches.

I will still hang on to my Windows Phone... but I would like a phone that works now, with fully functional apps :(

How do you know he's not running a Lumia 630?  Europe is buzzing with angry people waving their shiny new L630s and demanding to know why the calendar is broken.

Fair point.  I'm sure it sucks for them.  However lets keep this in context.  The new calendar app is way better than the calendar app on the iPhone. This update was a step backwards for sure.  But I'd guess that it will be fixed in a day or two.  Is that worth jumping to another platform over? Don't see it.

The amount of "woe, the sky is falling" in this article / comments is staggering. Cuz an app update has never gone awry before right?

I give a lot of slack to Microsoft, but this was a stupid thing to pass over. You tap the '+' sign and the app exits. That's like the core function of the calendar app, which is not some frivolous addon. It's not just this, but a run up of similar issues with their software (and don't get me started on the 'resume' screens).

You only get one chance to impress too.

My wife is giving WP8.1 on her 920 a shot but if it doesn't impress her she's dropping it for Android.  Which makes sense since the transition from Windows 7.5 (Zune based) to WP8 left her music collection in horrible disarry due to the shitty syncing options.

I won several converts to Windows Phone, they've all pretty much left in the last few months or are getting reading to leave as soon as an upgrade becomes available on their wireless contract.

This type of thing only futhers that problem.

I must admit, that with the os issues, poor quality apps (compared with the other OSs) and Google finally updating and standardizing their UI, I may be getting the next Nexus device in November when my contract is up. 3 years with Windows Phone, but I don't feel we've progressed very far in that time.

Exactly. It looks horrendous for the platform as a whole. Music, Calendar, Video, etc., those sorts of apps should be virtually flawless. There are things that your platform should be expected to perform without any hiccups (and loading screens). Music, Calendar, and Video are 3 of them.

 

I've moved beyond apologizing for MSFT's serious lack of polish and finesse and have begun my decent into tacit abandonment.

Could you elaborate what you have to say about the resuming? Nice to see you criticize MS for a change :) :)

Resuming on apps for 2 seconds or so is tolerable. But why the heck should it resume on start screen? Can't it be open always?

Yea it seems like there is no progress in speed. Even the calendar app has a loading screen now, ridiculous.

Totally agree. I'm not sure if its an issue for 512mb devices but if I play a game for around 20 mins, pause it and tap the start screen button, it shows "resuming..." This is frustrating and intolerable.

They have increased the cap how much memory apps can use, thus if you play a game, it might run a little better, but stop the starts screen which also uses quite some memory with all those live tiles.

Have to say, most times I don't agree with you especially with the defending of Microsoft everytime but you on the money here. This is not just bizarre, but also revealing. The team at Windows Phone is incompetent. Yes. I said it. Incompetent. Why can't they get simple things right? Basics even. The system is one I'm totally unwilling to leave but it's architects are totally off the mark. The calendar app is still rubbish and I updated with anticipation only to be typically let down. It's worrisome because it's happening all the time. Music app is the worst so they now trying to get other apps to take the prize

Yea you should think, that over years you could build monster music apps, I mean Jesus christ, they are invented and worked out in every detail in all corners of all music applications in the last 10 years. But they can't get past a crappy app that can do maybe 6 things. Instead of adding things, they remove.

Do the higher end win-phones also have these resume screens? I have a 620 , I thought it was a symptom of the low ram and if I upgraded it would be okay.

Skype is the worst. It tells the first line of the message in the notifications tray and then takes like 20 seconds before I can actually see the message in the app. (And then the text disapears behing the keyboard as I type *off-topic-sigh*)

 

Yes, this should have been caught before release.  However I don't think the sky is falling. There are two easy to use work-arounds. I'm sure this will be fixed before 8.1 comes out of Dev Preview.

Honestly it's not that bad. I'm not going to jump OSs because of it. Most of uus sit on a computer all day, add it to your Outlook or Outlook.com calendar. I might never have notices it if weren't for the article.

Also back button doesnt close or exit the app. It runs in the background untill u manually do iy

Something important like a calender app should come first in Beta ( like Facebook) before mass rollout. I hope they learn this for next time. 

The least they should do is get a backup of the previous version, up the version number and pump that out to us because this is a very bad move for people who organise their lives using their phones like this.

This is absolutely ridiculous and shouldn't be happening from Microsoft. People will accept these sort of problems from Google or Apple but there isn't enough good will for MSFT to get away with it.

Surely they are working on a fix, but is really incredible that they don't test the app before publish the update

Soft reset worked.
Another issue, I just entered a new appointment using Cortana, but now trying to edit it from calendar causes the app to crash, so can't edit it.

Try going into daily view and tapping on a time to add an appointment. This worked for me, even though using the plus button or edit crashes the app.

Remember that we are using a Dev Build. I agree, its something that should have been spotted right away but the best thing to do is use the diagnostic app to send the debug information to Microsoft. The issue almost feels like the add calendar item button is being used as a software home key. Wasn't Microsoft making devices with no physical keys and onscreen keys only.

Yep, thankfully I was one of those that didn't update. I do think people are overreacting though, I remember all the complaints about Xbox Music, Games and Videos being removed from the core OS but look at it this way it means the issue with the Calendar can be fixed without a whole new OS update.

Shouldn't erode confidence either.  With the app being broken out from the OS it probably didn't go through the same scrutiny.  I'm sure this will be a learning experience for MS.  They will put the processes and procedures in place going forward.

Why is it taking them so long to put the old version back in the store?! Great that WPcentral sends out a clear signal!!

Very well said, Daniel. It's inexcusable to make these kinds of errors, not in a so aggressive market as this is. Microsoft should be very ashamed of this and the ever growing Xbox Music fiasco.

The update has also broken simple calendar and I would suspect all third party calendars in the US a fix is very much needed although Cortana does work and supposedly outlook.com.

My phone crashes at time when I download a new app from store. It hangs for morethen 5mins and ask me for sd card error fixing message.
Secondly, whenever I have received mubtiple notifications from various apps, at that time, the notification drop down crashes to the half screen. I don't know weather its my phone having such problem or its because preview, that's why!
Dose anybody have such issues?

Apart from this there are various problems where this microsoft has to spread out. And they are lethargic in such cases, where they are not taking it seriously.

This is terrible and embarrassing, how can this have escaped testing. It would have been understandable if this a mistake by an indie developer but this is a core app from MS....

When they were announcing W8.0 to develorers, they were bragging that all core metro apps (Music, Mail, People, etc) were written by students, telling them that to develop an app for metro is VERY easy.

I did'n liked it back then as a W8 preview user.

It looks like it became a tradition for W8+ development.

The Calendar app team screwed up. Reading more than that into this is unwarranted. It may be that MS is stretched a bit for app developers, but inferences beyond that are just wild speculation.

Applications are made by humans. Humans make mistakes. Shit happens, end of story. Too much fuzz about nothing really.

Humans make mistakes and that's why testing processes are devised - to compensate for the fact that mistakes are inevitable.  To have an update go out that breaks an app's primary function indicates that proper testing procedures are not correctly in place.  And the length of time its taking them to release a fix is just demonstrative of why younger, more agile companies ice these dinosaurs.

Length of time? Like 20 hours by now. Wow, get real man. oO I agree that their quality/testing or whatever department made an epic fail here, but like I said, humans make mistakes. And it's just a darn app, no deal breaker ay all as there are tons of alternatives available.

Yes exactly, and because of this we have something called testing teams. To check for human errors.

And even they make mistakes. I tend to believe that what got published is not what got tested. My take on this is that accidentally the wrong branch was deployed.

About time they sorted out the cyan update for the uk and it gets to me why they dont give us a date its not like we dont know that it is due out 

 

Crashes whenever I hit "+" in calendar app. 920/wp8.1 dev preview. Better fix this quick or this can turn out to be a huge embarrassment if it's not already one.

Lol and I can't even get Cortana here (Argentina) or my friends since we can't set English US as language xD. How fun is that.

I used to love windows phone, but instead of changing for good exponentially just grew baby steps and still does things like this.

din't they test it before releasing it ?  even if they were rushing this is a core feature of the calendar

 

major fail

Please, have patience. Shit happens. MS has been nothing but awesome in listening to us. Give a break. Usually issues like these are easy to fix and probably getting tested right now.... Chill

To support the guy that said it was a beta. Yes, it's actually a preview, but this isn't rolled out to all phones officially. We should let MS know it's broken so that the bigger rollout has these problems fixed. However, release notes would be nice.

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