After months of delays, silence, and shattered customer relations, Microsoft on Tuesday began rolling out its first software update for Windows Phone 7. However, it's releasing the update over time, in batches, and most users still haven't been offered the chance to upgrade. Many will need to wait for weeks.

Adding to the confusion, Microsoft has yet to formally confirm the rollout or explain which users will get it when. Instead, the company quietly updated its documentation about Windows Phone updates in the hours before the rollout began. So Windows Phone users, as always, are simply left to wait and wonder.

Here's what we do know: Microsoft has started referring to this first update (code-named No Donuts—or NoDo) as the March 2011 update, and it claims this is the second update to Windows Phone, as it follows the pre-update, or what is now called the February 2011 update. Many Windows Phone users have yet to receive the pre-update, however, and at this point, many will apparently receive it as part of the March update since updates are cumulative.

The March update includes the previously announced copy-and-paste, app-performance, and marketplace-search improvements. But according to the quietly changed release documentation, it will also include other improvements—to marketplace, Wi-Fi, Outlook, Messaging, Facebook sync, camera (but not the desperately needed ability to save customized configuration changes), Bluetooth, and other areas related to performance. Unfortunately, most of these changes are very minor and don't address the most pressing needs of this new platform.

Based on numerous email messages and comments on my Windows Phone Secrets blog, users with unlocked phones are among the first to get the update. This makes sense, because Microsoft previously explained that such users would essentially get updates straight from Microsoft, bypassing wireless-carrier restrictions. Here in the United States, it appears that AT&T users, and perhaps all users of Samsung-branded Windows Phones, will be among the last to get the update.

If you're waiting for this first update, Microsoft advises patience.

"Don't be surprised if it takes a few weeks for us to notify you that an update is available for your phone," the release documentation warns. "To ensure quality, we release updates on a staggered schedule throughout the world. Many factors influence when you'll receive an update, including which phone model you have and which company provides your mobile service."