Microsoft’s Mango update for Windows Phone, also known as Windows Phone 7.1, has been mooted for months. But the Big M has finally handed over full details of what we can expect from the next-gen version of the ace mobile operating system. Dive in now and read our Top 10 things you need to know about Windows Phone 7.1 Mango.
1 It’ll be available for all current Windows Phones
Perhaps the best news of all. Microsoft isn’t cutting off any older Windows Phones, meaning the likes of the HTC Mozart and Samsung Omnia 7 will be getting the update. This should give it good ammunition to fling at Apple and Google, both of whom have copped flack for not upgrading legacy devices.
2 Bing search has been given an overhaul
This is a seriously impressive update, with visual, audio and voice search. Visual search lets you snap pics of products and barcodes, before delivering local pricing and availability. A new Local Scout feature will track your location and give you results fine tuned to where you are.
3 Twitter and LinkedIn are coming
One of the big misses with Windows Phone 7’s contacts app was the lack of Twitter integration. Happily, this is being added, along with LinkedIn, so you’ll be able to see the latest updates from contacts on these social networks in one place.
4 New partners are on board for 7.1
Nokia is obviously the big new addition to the Windows Phone family. But Microsoft has confirmed that Acer, ZTE and Fujtisu are also joining the party. That means it should be able to expand hugely in Asia, as well as offer more choice on top of phones from the likes of HTC, LG and Samsung.
5 It won’t be out until autumn
The bad news: Mango is being held back for a few months. That could work in Microsoft’s favour in terms of getting apps ready for it, but may also hamstring it what with the expected September release of iOS 5 and the Q4 release of Android Ice Cream Sandwich.
6 Conversation threads integrate IM, text and Facebook chats
Cross platform integration has been one of Windows Phone’s strong points. Mango adds a new conversations feature so you can natter with any given friend no matter what service they’re using. That means if they stop using text and switch to IM, you’ll still be able to see your previous conversation.
7 Multitasking is here at last
This has been known for months, but one of Windows Phone 7’s biggest misses is finally on its way. Multitasking should hopefully mean more devs are willing to bring their apps to WP 7.1.
8 Live Tiles have been bolstered with more live app info
Arguably the best feature of WP7 was its Live Tiles’ ability to show real time information without having to dive into apps. The National Rail app was a great example. Microsoft says it’s bolstering this, with the chance to get more essential news delivered to the homescreen.
9 Contact group tiles promised
With Mango, you’ll be able to pull together groups of contacts, pin them to the homescreen and then email, SMS or call them at the press of a button. This will help push WP 7.1 is a decent workplace solution, as well as a winning consumer OS.
10 Devs can get working on it straight away
Devs have been told they can get going on updating their current apps and working on new ones straight away. Microsoft has already released the software development kit, so app fanatics can bring new Live Tile layers and improved features to their add-ons from the get go.