Windows Phone 7 mobiles from Dell, HTC suffer Wi-Fi glitch

Dell blames firmware issue, but it doesn't help that Windows Phone 7 is picky about connecting to hidden networks

If you're the owner of a shiny new Dell Venue Pro and can't seem to connect to a secure wireless network, you're not alone. The company has acknowledged that a firmware glitch -- certainly not a hardware problem nor a bug in Windows Phone 7 -- is the culprit.

Curiously, however, users of HTC phones have reported similar problems, three of which have been reported by HTC hasn't issued a statement on the problem, however.

"We have confirmed that the Wi-Fi connectivity issue that was reported ... resulted from a software glitch during Dell's manufacturing process. The issue affected some of our initial phone shipments and was not a hardware issue or a Windows Phone 7 one," wrote Dell blogger Lionel Menchacha.

Whereas Menchacha stressed the issue was with firmware and not Windows Phone 7, he cautioned users not to confuse secure wireless networks with hidden networks. According to the Microsoft Knowledge Base, Windows Phone 7 "does not support connections to hidden Wi-Fi networks. To connect to a Wi-Fi network from Windows Phone 7, you'll have to first ensure that the network is not hidden."

Menchacha wrote that customers who acquired a Venue Pro on Nov. 8 or 9 at a Microsoft Store and who are experiencing the protected Wi-Fi network issue will be able to swap their phones free of charge at the end of next week.

Unfortunately for Dell, this firmware issue isn't the only problem causing a bit of consternation among owners of the Venue Pro. Some users have been alarmed to discover that the batteries in their devices are labeled as "engineering samples." According to Menchacha, "[T]hese are production quality batteries but were simply mislabeled. Those seeking exchanges may return to Microsoft retail stores and swap out their phones for new ones beginning at the end of next week."

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