Microsoft has announced that the imminent ‘Mango’ update to its Windows Phone 7 (WP7) operating system will add a drool-worthy 500 new features to the platform.
Mango - which was already looking to be an substantial upgrade for the OS with confirmed features such as Office 365 with SkyDrive support, Internet Explorer 9 with hardware acceleration and full HTML5 compatibility, Twitter integration and multitasking of third-party apps onboard - now looks set to get even better after Redmond head honcho Steve Baller revealed that more than 500 features will be introduced in the update, which is due to be officially showcased in a ‘VIP Preview’ later today.
Late to the party
Speaking at Microsoft’s Developer Forum in Japan, Ballmer said: “We came to market about a year later than I wish we had with Windows Phone 7. Shame on us, but we’re moving forward very actively.
“We’re pushing for a different approach to user interface design, an approach which — literally right on the homescreen of the Windows Phone — you, our developers, can provide integrated experiences across your own and third-party applications that are alive and vibrant and real time for our joint customers.”
Mango is also expected to offer deeper integration with Xbox Live as Microsoft steps up its efforts to appeal to a booming mobile gaming market. Although it’s unlikely there’ll be any major title, if any, announced at the event.
The £5.2 billion elephant
Surprisingly, Ballmer had nothing to say on Skype, following the Redmond’s recent £5.2 billion acquisition of the VoIP outfit, which baffled many to say the least. It might be too early (or rather too late) to expect a system-wide integration of Skype in Mango, but we can definitely look forward to hearing what Big M plans to do with the software in the future.
We can however, rule out any hardware announcements. Microsoft has clarified that the event will focus on software only, but it will reveal “details of the OEMs and carriers” it is partnering with to offer devices powered by WP7 moving forward.
Microsoft’s VIP Preview event will take place later today at 3pm London time.