Recently Microsoft gave a preview of the next major release of Windows Phone, code-named “Mango.”
According to Microsoft, “Mango” will deliver more than 500 new features to push the boundaries of the smartphone experience around communications, apps and the Internet.
The “Mango” release will be available for free to Windows Phone 7 customers and is scheduled to ship on new phones beginning this fall.
“Seven months ago we started our mission to make smartphones smarter and easier for people to do more,” said Andy Lees, president of the Mobile Communications Business at Microsoft. “With ‘Mango,’ Windows Phone takes a major step forward in redefining how people communicate and use apps and the Internet, giving you better results with less effort.”
From what I understand, there are 3 benchmarks Microsoft is striving for with this release:
1 – Communications: Easier to Connect and Share
To help people stay on top of the growing complexity surrounding smartphone communications, the “Mango” release will strive to organize information around the person or group people want to interact with, not the app they have to use. For example:
- Threads. Switch between text, Facebook chat and Windows Live Messenger within the same conversation.
- Groups. Group contacts into personalized Live Tiles to see the latest status updates right from the Start Screen and quickly send a text, email or IM to the whole group.
- Deeper social network integration. Twitter and LinkedIn feeds are now integrated into contact cards, and “Mango” includes built-in Facebook check-ins and new face detection software that makes it easier to quickly tag photos and post to the Web.
- Linked inbox. See multiple email accounts in one linked inbox. Conversations are organized to make it easy to stay on top of the latest mail.
- Hands-free messaging. Built-in voice-to-text and text-to-voice support enables hands-free texting or chatting.
2 – A Smarter Approach to Apps
Microsoft sees the promise of apps in how they can be integrated directly into the core experiences of the phone. In addition to making it easy to get timely notifications and updates from apps right from the Start Screen, the “Mango” release also will surface apps as part of search results and within Windows Phone Hubs. As a result, a useful app is more likely to be right there when needed.
So how does Microsoft plan to accomplish this?
- App Connect. By connecting apps to search results and deepening their integration with Windows Phone Hubs, including Music and Video and Pictures, “Mango” allows apps to be surfaced when and where they make sense.
- Improved Live Tiles. Get real-time information from apps without having to open them. Live Tiles can be more dynamic and hold more information.
- Multitasking. Quickly switch between apps in use and allow apps to run in the background, helping to preserve battery life and performance.
3 – Taking the Internet Beyond the Browser
In addition to including Internet Explorer, the “Mango release will connect the power of the Web to the unique capabilities of Windows Phones, such as location awareness, camera and access to apps, to present a way of viewing the Web that is more localized, actionable and relevant.
- Internet Explorer 9. A browser based on the powerful Internet Explorer 9 and including support for HTML5 and full hardware acceleration.
- Local Scout. Provides hyper local search results and recommends nearby restaurants, shopping and activities in an easy-to-use guide.
- Bing on Windows Phone. More ways to search the Web, including Bing Vision, Music Search and Voice so it’s easy to discover and decide.
- Quick Cards. When searching for a product, movie, event or place, see a quick summary of relevant information, including related apps.
Interesting concepts Microsoft. More forward thinking and progressive than we’ve seen come out of Redmond, Washington recently.
Maybe I see if I can get my hands on one of these devices and do a real street test.