Mobile IE is upgradeable, independent of Windows Phone 7

One area that is crucial for Microsoft's success with Windows Phone 7 is in the browser. As the iPhone has demonstrated and Opera fans know, if you have a good browsing experience, you'll have a dedicated following.

Mobile IE has never really been great and while it's better on WP7 e.g. containing

...four-point multitouch fully enabled, zooming in and out by a pinching finger gesture on the screen, so-called "deep zoom" for extreme, high fidelity closeups, a remarkably clear typography, and very smooth, fast operation

...well, it doesn't inspire that much confidence. In fact, with greater enthusiasm for the desktop IE9, the mobile version (based on IE7, little bit of 8) seems like last-year's technology (and that's being generous).

Luckily, Microsoft may have a trick up their sleeves. It was revealed in the comments on the Mobile IE Team blog that the browser can be independently updated of the whole OS i.e.firmware.

Q:Will the browser in Windows 7 get more updates more frequently than only with full firmware updates?

Hi Tom,

Yes, we are building in the ability to update the browser independently of firmware.


While we knew OTA updates for the OS were a big deal, selectively upgrading just the browser can give Microsoft more flexibility in getting Mobile IE current. Of course that doesn't guarantee that those updates will give us a killer browser, but hey...options are good.

[via MobileTechWorld]



Reader comments

Mobile IE is upgradeable, independent of Windows Phone 7


I think that WP7 just like Windows on the desktop itself, is more moduler by design, thus the need for a clear restart and other things. This should let them upgrade basically any app or user-level API/Services without the need for a whole OS firmware flash.

I'm sure a good number of kernel-level updates will probably need a whole firmware type update (maybe).

IN the end this is good news.

i've always thought that the IE in 6.5 and the final build of 6.1 was pretty good, even better than opera at times.

Looks like the WP7 team is taking ques from Android which with 2.2 will offer the OS as a smaller core module paired with Google Apps that had normally come as part of the OS. Not only does this allow the apps to be independently upgraded, it allows more flexibility for retrofitting the core and some apps to legacy hardware since the core is smaller that it would otherwise be.

A good strategy for both Android and WP7.

Mobile IE ?I don't think this would be good as other mobile browsers because every time IE fails to convince us.Hope this will be good enough to keep Microsoft in competition.

They never really moved fast with Mobile IE before, it was tied to full OS updates much like IE on the desktop was. Now that's not the case anymore. I think MIE on WP7 will see quite a few updates to bring it closer to Opera etc. It's just a matter of how quick updates come to it and other parts of the platform in general.

mobile IE is also partially based off of IE9. I saw a microsoft rep clarify this.

The ability to update Mobile IE on its own has been around for many years, and was even done once....many years ago. I believe the bigger question is: Will Microsoft put forth the effort to do it? Has Microsoft turned over a new leaf?


Not in the context of OTA updates, which is the main focus here (perhaps I should have made that more clear).

If MS can deliver an OTA update to all WP7 phones that only updates the browser, yeah, that's pretty huge.

And I do think in general OTA updates ans the Mobile IE team are serious about doing these updates, but we'll have to see.

Well, it does not inspire much confidence. In fact, with more enthusiasm for IE9 office, the mobile version (based on Internet Explorer 7, 8 bits) appears as the technology last year (and is being generous).