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05. 25. 2011

Windows Phone 7 Mango Update


24 May 24, 2011 - Microsoft presented a preview of the Windows Phone 7 OS update that is due this Fall. Code-named "Mango," the new release will include over 500 new features, with a goal of making WP7 "smarter and easier."

Based on the concept that users want to connect and share, Microsoft has based its design on heavy-duty integration of functions. In today's smartphone world, we need to use different apps to communicate in different ways. WP7 has been designed from the start on the concept of hubs. Currently, each person in your directory has a one-stop-shop hub: contact info from multiple sources, Facebook updates, and photos are all brought together in one place. Mango takes the hub to the next level by adding in features such as Twitter and Linked-In, more picture options, communication history (phone calls, text messages, and e-mails). Not all of these are revolutionary concepts, but the brains behind WP7 have surely integrated them better than anyone else.

On the heels of the improved people hubs, come group hubs. These let you e-mail, send text messages, and share photos among a group, all from one place. Great for keeping track of work colleagues vs. friends.

Mango also applies the heavy-duty integration to apps. Today, apps don't currently integrate and must be launched separately for separate functions. Mango seeks to seamlessly integrate into one app what used to take two or three apps. Imaging searching for a nearby shopping mall in your maps app and being able to view a interior map of the mall and get a pop-up directory of stores all in one.

Internet Explorer 9 is included in the update and is exactly the same as the new desktop application. Integration is, once again, key here. Instead of providing a list of hyperlinks, content is integrated and presented in a more useful way. For example, a search for a local restaurant brings you into the Local Scout function, which pulls from many sources to give you a local, "insiders" guide to local restaurants, shopping, and things to do. The Visual Search function lets you do a search based on a photo of an object, barcode, and QR tags. Quick Cards gives you a one-stop look at search items - a search for a movie gives you movie poster, local showtimes, plot descriptions, cast info, and ratings all in one spot. It will even link you to IMDb for the finer details or to Fandango to buy your ticket.

App shortcutting is, perhaps, the most revolutionary feature. It allows you to shortcut to a specific function within an app. Take Virgin Atlantic's new app that allows you to book flights, check status, change reservations, etc. When you are ready to fly, you can tack a shortcut onto your home screen that will bring you directly to your paperless boarding pass, rather than having to start the app and navigate through several screens. Not only a time-saver, but it will certainly put you at the ready and cut down on the glares from those in line behind you (and hopefully create a bit of jealousy).

Additional features include improved predictive text, Facebook events now in calendar, improved voice commands and hands-free voice texting, MS Office 365 upgrades, all-in-one mail inbox, redesigned XBOX hub, and app hopping (running multiple apps at once).

Microsoft also announced there are over 18,000 apps available today and that Mango developer tools have been released to let everyone get a head start on ramping apps up to Mango speed. In addition, new operator partners will soon be announced and several new hardware manufacturers including Acer, Fujitsu, and ZTE will be featuring WP7 in the near future.

It looks like quite an impressive update is on its way. Mango is ready to tango and the competition better watch out!

Posted by Brian    Category: cell phones
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