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By Chris De Herrera 
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Managing Bugs - Supporting and Developing for Pocket PC 2002
By Chris De Herrera, Copyright 2002

 Version 1.00  Revised 4/25/2002

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Previously, in Defining the Bug Reporting Process, I explained how bugs are handled by the OEMs and Microsoft.  One critical issue that I have been pondering is how to support the menagerie of devices and the different levels of patches.

A Circling of the Wagons around StrongARM

As part of the release of the Pocket PC 2002, Microsoft chose to only support the Intel StrongARM CPU.  This is a major reduction in the number of supported CPU types from StrongARM,  SH3 and MIPS down to StrongARM only.  Developers now only need to create one version of their application for the StrongARM CPU and it will run on all devices.  So now it's easier for users to select an application that is compatible with the Pocket PC 2002 since they are all using the same StrongARM CPU.

Bugs Muddy the Waters

During the past few months, Microsoft has released to the OEMs Service Pack 1 for the Pocket PC 2002.   Also many of the OEMs have had their own patches for their systems as well.  This means that developers that only create one version of their application may need to test their product on each device, especially if these patches affected their applications operation  So from the developer's point of view, they still have to coordinate testing on all devices and versions of the Pocket PC OS to ensure compatibility of their applications. Neither Microsoft or the OEMs are making this easy for the developers. There is no software to remove patches that are applied to the flash ROM so this means that developers may have a difficult time testing all permutations of  the Pocket PC 2002 software for a specific device. Further the users have no easy way to know that there are patches for their device except to visit their OEM's website. 

Voting on your OEM's Support

Since Microsoft is not coordinating the release of patches as they have in the past, so consumers and developers need to be aware of how fast their OEM releases patches since this may negatively impact their ability to use their Pocket PC if the OEM is late in releasing a patch.   Without this support, Pocket PC 2002 users will suffer needlessly with bugs that have known fixes which could be avoided by quick action by the OEMs or a coordinated release of an update by Microsoft.  Since Microsoft has referred all support to the OEMs, I doubt we will see a release of an update from Microsoft.  So you will have to rely on your OEM's ability to deliver updates in a timely fashion.  So as consumers and corporations decide what devices to purchase, they should be aware of their OEM's ability to fix bugs in a timely fashion before purchasing a device..

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