Tuesday Microsoft held a VIP press conference in New York City for around 40 to 50 people to showcase the upcoming features planned for Window Phone 7's "Mango" update. According to Microsoft president of mobile communications Andy Lees, the company set out to make the smarphone "smarter and easier" with the new update, to provide innovation and choice "without fragmentation and frustration," taking an obvious jab at Google's Android OS.
Mango will focus on three specific categories: communicating with friends and family, apps, and accessing the internet. Rather than dump a number of extra apps into the OS to get the job done, Mango instead will take the people-centric approach. "We wanted to set people at the center of our focus by bringing people forward," said senior project manager Derek Snyders.
Numerous features that will be included in Mango have already been covered in prior reports: multitasking for allowing several apps to run simultaneously without reduction in performance or battery life, the integration of Internet Explorer 9 and its support for HTML5 and hardware acceleration, and Threading which allows the user to toggle between messages received via texting, Windows Live Messenger, Facebook chat and more.
Live tiles have improved, providing updated information without having related apps running in the background. They're also more dynamic, lighting up and flipping around, capable of storing more information than before. Notifications will now be pushed into these new Tiles, and friend profiles will be updated on the phone in real-time. Related people can even be bunched together into "Groups."
As for other Mango features, they're broken down as follows:
- Microsoft Exchange, Facebook and LinkedIn integration
- A smarter keyboard for a "much more intuitive typing experience"
- A linked inbox for adding multiple email accounts into one client
- Built-in speech-to-text and text-to-speech software for hands-free messaging
- Local search results and recommendations thanks to Local Scout
- Quick cards for providing a summary and relevant application(s) for search results on products, movies, places and more
- More Bing features like Bing Vision, Voice and Music Search
- Apps will be integrated into the hubs
- Like the Xbox 360, gaming will be a social experience
- App Connect will connect and integrate applications on their search results in Windows Phone Hubs
- Visual Search that requires no speaking, no typing, just the built-in camera
Obviously Microsoft didn't go into the full list of 500+ features – that would likely require an all-day event. But the company did reveal that Mango will be unleashed to Windows Phone 7 devices this fall – developers can access the SDK starting Tuesday. Mango will also bring greater international support, addressing a market that's four times larger than the original Windows Phone 7 launch. Nokia, Samsung, LG and HTC will be releasing new phones based on the Mango build, and new partners like Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE have already signed on.
To check out Mango in action, WinRumors has thrown up a few videos on YouTube showcasing Windows Live Messenger, Groups, Outlook and Linked Inboxes, and a few others:
- Windows Phone Mango Demo – Windows Live Messenger
- Windows Phone Mango Demo – Check In
- Windows Phone Mango Demo – Groups
- Windows Phone Mango Demo – Outlook & Linked Inboxes
- Windows Phone Mango Demo – Xbox Hub
- Windows Phone Mango Demo – Multitasking
- Windows Phone Mango Demo – Office and SkyDrive
- Windows Phone Mango Demo – Bing Local Scout
- Windows Phone Mango Demo – Zune SmartDJ
- Windows Phone Mango Demo – Pictures Pin & Tag