Tag Archives: Mango

Windows Phone Updates Are Now Completely Opaque

Windows Phone Opaque

Windows Phone behind a frosted glass

After the “NoDo” update mess, the Windows Phone engineering team took a major u-turn and did several things right. They became more transparent by having a blog and a site dedicated to providing the latest status of a certain update by carrier, by phone model, by country/geography. Secondly, they got together with the OEMs and the carriers to do a coordinated deployment of the first major update, Windows Phone 7.5 (codename Mango).

So, why do I say they have become opaque? This afternoon, over at the Windows Blog, Eric Hautala, General Manager of Customer Experience Engineering announced that going forward they are going to discontinue the constant, weekly updates they were putting out on the blog. Instead, they will provide news of updates on the main Windows Phone blog. Also, that this update (and presumably others, going forward) is going to be up to the carriers to request from Microsoft and provide to end users.

The update, available to all carriers that request it, is part of our ongoing maintenance of Windows Phone

What? The carriers have to request the update? Why would they? If they request the update, they’d have to run a long test cycle to validate the update. Then they’d have to roll it out to their users. It takes a lot of engineering effort on the part of the carriers to undertake these tests. Why would they, unless it is a huge issue like a major security vulnerability or if phones are becoming useless (“bricked”)? Absolutely no reason.

Microsoft has to push the carriers (and OEMs) to push the updates to the phones that are impacted. Sometimes not all phones on all carriers are impacted, but instead of relying on the carriers to request the update, Microsoft should be the one pushing the carriers to force the updates to the users. Unfortunately, unlike Apple, which treats you and I as their customers, Microsoft treats the carriers as their customers. That is not to say that the end customer is irrelevant to Microsoft, but clearly, the customers that pay Microsoft are the carriers and the OEMs.

I have mocked Android before, for being extremely slow in updating phones, but in that case at least, Google has admittedly washed their hands off the entire process by making Android free to use. Their argument could very well be that they have no control over the OEMs and therefore, it is futile to push the carriers who may have to do even longer testing because of the large variety of Android phones that are available. In Microsoft’s case though, all OEMs are known because it is a not a free license. The updates could be coordinated, as we saw in the case of “Mango”, among the various OEMs and carriers. That they have made a conscious decision not to mandate the carriers, shows that behind the scenes, something has changed politically which has led to this decision.

I am disappointed at these moves: first, the move to let the carriers request the update, but second and more importantly, the lack of the detailed communication regarding various updates, going forward. So, going forward, it will not only be unclear if you will receive the update, but also, you won’t know how far along your specific carrier is with the update deployment.

I can only imagine that the transparency did not go down well with Microsoft’s partners since it clearly exposed the OEMs (Samsung in particular) and carriers (Telefonica is an example) which were holding up the updates. However, the end user is the one who gets the short end of the stick here – not because they don’t receive the update, most normal customers don’t even care – mostly because their phone experience suffers. In the most recent update, there is an annoying, oft-occurring bug which has been fixed (“disappearing keyboard”). If AT&T does not pick it up and push the update out in the next few weeks, this Windows Phone user will definitely start watching the next iPhone rumors more closely.

My 2012 Wish List for Windows Phone

Windows Phone

I have been using Windows Phone virtually from launch day, and have been patient with the team about so many things that have been missing from the OS. Windows Phone 7.5, aka Mango, addressed a lot of my complaints, but now I have another, deeper set of functionality (and wishes!) I’d like to see implemented.

The following is my wish list for Windows Phone for the year 2012. Given that one of the wishes is for more frequent updates, I am hoping some of the functionality gaps are filled sooner than later.

Ecosystem

  1. Market share: First and foremost, I’d like to see Windows Phone get to a decent market share. The stars have aligned nicely with RIM dying a slow death, and webOS being killed by HP for Windows Phone to be easily positioned as the #3 platform. However, it would be a pity if the 3rd-biggest  platform is at 5% with iOS and Android making up 95% of the market. It would be better if Windows Phone could get to 10-15% or above to really make it relevant. Education at carrier stores, more incentives for carrier salespeople, Nokia’s Rolling Thunder campaign, expansion to new markets, etc. should help.
  2. More Silicon Valley startup involvement: Most startups are not going to devote time to building Windows Phone apps with its market share around 1.5%. It simply does not make financial sense. I would like to see the Microsoft developer relations/evangelism folks to embed themselves in such startups and help them build the next cool appfor Windows Phone in addition to iOS/Android. For that, this evangelist team will have to work closely in Silicon Valley (and perhaps New York) to identify the companies which are doing great things in the mobile space and help them as early as possible in their lifecycle.
  3. Get existing marquee apps at par with iOS/Android counterparts: Microsoft would like us to believe that 90% of the top iOS/Android apps are available for Windows Phone. That may be arguable, but even existing apps like Facebook and Twitter have not seen updates to bring features at par with iOS/Android versions. For example, Facebook app does not support updating Groups or Twitter app (still) does not provide notifications. Also, given that some of these apps have been built by Microsoft, or even worse, by a third party, it is hard to understand who is to blame for the lack of functionality updates.
  4. Abandon the annual minor and major update cycle: Windows Phone has settled into a cycle where they have minor releases once a year and major updates once a year, each separated by about 6 months. While this is great for larger, non-mobile programs, it is absolutely slow in the mobile industry, especially for bug fixes and security updates. Until Windows Phone is  at  par with iOS and Android in terms of overall functionality, I don’t think they should settle down into a 6-month update cycle. Till then, the updates should be rapid, incremental and extremely frequent.

Acer Unveils Its First WP7 Phone – Allegro

Acer has quietly announced a new Windows Phone 7.5 Mango running handset, the Allegro. The Allegro is the first ever Windows Phone handset from the company.

This mid-range handset is powered by a 1GHz Qualcomm MSM8255T single-core processor, and packs 512MB of RAM along with 8GB of internal memory. The front of the handset is dominated by the 3.6-inch LCD with WVGA (480×800) resolution. At the back of the Allegro is a 5MP snapper aided by an LED flash. The phone lacks a front-facing camera though.

All the usual connectivity features like Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS with A-GPS and HSPA are also on-board. Sensors like Accelerometer, Gyroscope and Ambient Light sensor etc. are also present. The handset will be powered by a  measly  1300mAh battery.

The Allegro will hit the shelves in France in mid-November, and will be priced at around  â‚¬299. The handset will be available in black and white colors.At its current price point, the Allegro is a direct competitor to Nokia’s recently announced Lumia 710. The Lumia is slightly costlier than the Allegro, but offers a bigger screen, faster processor and comes with a microSD card slot as well.

Hopefully, unlike their Android handsets, Acer will meet with some success with their WP7 phones.

(Source)

 

Windows Phone 7.5 “Mango” Update Rolling Out Now

Microsoft has finally started rolling out its much-anticipated WP7.5 Mango update, for the first generation WP7 based phones.

WP

Majority of the WP7 (98%) will be getting the update in the next 4 weeks. Owners of HTC Surround, LG Quantum and Samsung Focus v1.3 will get the update within a month. However, owners of HD7S will need to wait a bit more since the WP7.5 Mango update for their handset is still under scheduling, while the update for the Focus (v1.4) is under testing.

Sadly, there is no confirmation whether the Dell Venue Pro will get the update or not. Microsoft also does not mention anything about the European version of the Focus, the Omnia 7.  Right now, the Mango update for the handset is still under planning. WP7 owners can check out the global Mango roll-out schedule from here.

The Wp7.5 Mango update brings many new and much-needed features to the Windows Phone Platform including Multi-tasking, front-facing camera support, Xbox Live Integration, better Social networking integration, Music search and much more. Overall, the Mango update brings more than 500 new features to existing WP7 handsets!

Once the Mango update hits a user’s phone, they need to connect their handset to a PC and fire up Zune Software for PC app, and head to the Update Central section to update the phone. Mac owners need to use Windows Phone 7 Connector for Mac for the same purpose.

Mango Update Coming to Every Windows Phone 7 Device Next Week

Though I like Android a lot, there is one thing about it which I absolutely hate — the frequency of official OS updates. While the situation has improved considerably in the past couple of months, initially, almost every Android phone except the latest flagships used to run on an older version of Android, with no update in sight.

The fact that manufacturers and carriers used to screw up and complicate the update process by releasing their own customized versions of Android didn’t help much.

That’s why, when Microsoft launched Windows Phone 7, one of the things that attracted me to the platform was that every phone would run the same software with no modifications. This would ensure that each phone would get an update and that it would get it much faster than Android phones.

When it announced the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update, Microsoft said that it will be available for every Windows Phone 7 device. Today, they have confirmed their commitment to that statement.

At the Windows Phone blog, they announced that every WP7 device will be getting the Windows Phone 7.5 Mango update in the next week or two. Just make sure you update your version of Zune for Windows or Windows Phone 7 connector for Mac, you’ll need it soon.

Samsung Focus Flash Announced; Mango Update Coming To AT&T’s WP7 Handsets This Fall

Along with the Samsung Focus S, AT&T and Samsung also announced the Focus Flash. The Focus Flash is a smaller and cheaper sibling of the Focus S. The Focus Flash comes with a 3.7-inch Super-AMOLED screen with WVGA (480×800) resolution.

Samsung_Focus_Flash

Like the Focus S, the Focus Flash is also powered by a 1.4GHz Qualcomm Snapdragon (MSM8255T) processor, along with an Adreno 205 GPU and 512MB of RAM. The back of the phone sports a 5MP camera, with a VGA camera in the front accompanying it.

The Focus Flash will run on the latest version of Windows Phone a.k.a WP7.5, which is also known as Mango. The press release from AT&T does not mention anything whether the Focus Flash will support its upcoming 4G network or not. AT&T  did not mention anything about the internal memory capacity of the Flash as well.

Along with the Focus S and Focus Flash, AT&T also announced that it will be among the first operators to roll out the WP7.5 a.k.a Mango update for its current-gen WP7 based phones like HTC Surround, HD7S and the Samsung Focus. The Mango update will be hit these devices sometime in fall.

The Focus Flash will be available sometime in Q4 this year.

HTC Radar Announced; Runs on Windows Phone Mango

HTC have just announced a couple of Windows Phone Mango phones at their on-going event in London. Firstly, the company  announced the much more portable, Radar. The handset comes with a 3.8-inch S-LCD screen with WVGA (800×480) resolution.

The Radar is powered by a 1GHz Snapdragon processor, while an Adreno 205 GPU handles the GPU department. The handset has 512MB of RAM on-board, along with 8GB of internal storage, of which only 6.54GB is available to the end-user. Since, WP7.5 Mango does not support microSD card slots, the extremely low internal memory is going to be a concern for many future Radar owners.

Other than this, the Radar features the usual run-of-the-mill Wi-Fi b/g/n, Bluetooth 2.1, GPS with A-GPS, 3G/HSDPA support, and a bunch of sensors. Like the Titan, the Radar also comes with a decent camera, albeit with a lower resolution. At the back of the Radar is a 5MP camera with F2.2 lens, accompanied by an LED flash. There is also a VGA camera in the front. The phone is also capable of playing back and recording 720p HD videos.

Like the Titan, the Radar runs on the latest version of Windows Phone, Mango. Beside the improved SoC and cameras, the Radar is just another run-of-the-mill handset. Most of the caveats of the first generation WP7 phones like the lack of full HD video recording, no display resolution higher than WVGA, and no microSD card slot still remain.

HTC did not announce anything about the availability and pricing of the Radar.

HTC Titan Announced; Sports a 4.7-inch S-LCD Screen!

Along with the HTC Radar, the Taiwanese company also announced a giant Windows Phone Mango based phone, the Titan. The Titan sports a 4.7-inch screen, with a disappointing WVGA (480×800) resolution screen. Like all other recent HTC handsets, the Titan also has a unibody aluminium design.

The handset is powered by a 1.5GHz single core processor from Snapdragon, and comes with 512MB of RAM and 16GB of on-board memory. The usual Wi-Fi b/g/n, GPS with A-GPS, Bluetooth 2.1, and sensors like Gyroscope, Proximity sensor and Ambient light sensors are also present.

The back of the HTC Titan sports an 8MP camera with a t/2.2 aperture, accompanied by dual-LED flash. The Titan is among the first Windows Phone to sport a front-facing camera. The handset is also capable of recording and playing back 720p HD videos.

Except for a faster processor and an improved GPU, the Titan is just another run-of-the-mill Windows Phone. The only major difference is that the handset runs on Mango right out of the box, while other WP7 handsets will get the update sometime this month.

Overall, the Titan lacks a lot of features, which is now a common place in the Android smartphone world, including HDMI out, microSD card slot, FM radio and 1080p video recording.

While the improved 8MP camera on the back and a front-facing camera in the front is a welcome addition, a dual-core processor and/or more internal memory would have been highly appreciated by Windows Phone users.

 

Windows Phone Mango RTM: What is still missing?

wp7

 

Today came the exciting and unexpected news of Windows Phone Mango’s Release To Manufacturing (RTM). The Windows Phone team has completed the release and handed it to mobile operators and handset makers to start testing the latest update to Microsoft’s mobile operating system reboot.

Windows Phone Mango has several hundred new features which have been covered at various places across the web, including some of the v1 annoyances it has resolved for me personally. Here I want to make a few comments on what still remains to be added. Granted, these are smaller in some ways than the gap that Mango closed, it is still worth talking about what Windows Phone lacks in terms of features and functionality already available in (or announced for) iOS and/or Android.

  1. VPN functionality: Windows Phone still does not support connecting to a Virtual Private Network (VPN), typically used to connect devices to corporate networks from outside the company. iOS offers native VPN support as well as support for VPN client apps.
  2. At-rest encryption: Encryption of the storage on the device is a huge issue for corporate IT departments in being able to support a mobile device. As smartphones get more and more capable of performing computer-like tasks, and as they start storing more and more company data, they also become a huge liability in case the phones get lost or stolen. At-rest encryption protects the data on the device in such cases. Microsoft has said that the isolated storage on the device is only available to the specific app and that is how they quasi-protect the data, but I don’t think IT departments think that is enough. iOS for example, has encryption built into newer devices since iOS4.
  3. Complete backup/restore: As part of the recent NoDo update, Windows Phone introduced phone backup, but it is crippled in that only Zune desktop can execute it, and it cannot really be triggered manually (on demand). iOS (iTunes) on the other hand, does provide a way to backup and restore on demand.
  4. Multiple Windows Live ID’s per phone: Windows Phone links the device to a Windows Live ID which you enter during setup. This is the ID used to connect to the Marketplace for purchasing apps and other content, but more importantly, it is also the ID used to access other in-built platform services like Zune Pass music subscription and Windows Live-connected services like Facebook, LinkedIn, Twitter and obviously, Windows Live Messenger and Facebook chat. What if I want to share my purchased apps with my wife but we want to have our own Windows Live-connected services on our phones? It is impossible today without sharing a Live ID, but SkyDrive, IM, Facebook, Twitter, etc. are services which don’t translate well with a shared Live ID. On the other hand, iOS/iTunes allows you to use a different ID to purchase apps/content from the store, than from the one you associate with the device. So I envision that in Windows Phone you still enter a Windows Live ID at setup, which will tie the ID to all your platform services like SkyDrive, IM, Facebook, Twitter, etc., but when it comes time to purchase apps or content, you can choose which ID to use. 
  5. DLNA, Play To: When Windows Phone launched, DLNA capability was used by LG as a differentiator for their phones. Now that the initial launch dust has settled, it is about time Windows Phone included DLNA/Play To feature across the OS. This will be a good response to AirPlay which is one of the few really magical technologies that have come out of Apple. If I could beam my recently captured photos/videos from my Windows Phone to the TV via the XBOX or a TV-connected Windows 7 PC, it would be awesome. 
  6. [Updated 7/29/2011] Voice commands for Music/Zune: How could I miss this one? One feature that seems to be missing from Mango is the ability to use the excellent voice commands for Music playback (including of course podcasts), including controls like pause, play, stop and skip. I hope at least this one is a surprise feature in RTM which we have not seen in the beta builds.

Do you have anything else you would add to this list? Let me know!

Nokia’s Windows Phone 7 ‘Sea Ray’ Taken Out Of Testing Shell

It would seem that Nokia is having a hard time keeping things under wraps when it comes to their recently leaked Windows Phone 7 device, the ‘Sea Ray’. First unveiled by CEO, Stephen Elop in a “super confidential” showing, the Sea Ray carries the same design cues at the Nokia N9, save for a few external changes such as camera component arrangement as well as the addition of camera key.

In what appears to be an assembly factory, the ‘Sea Ray’ is removed from a bulky disguise case, taken for a quick hardware tour and is turned on. A new “7” boot animation as well as many other subtle UI changes indicate the device is running the ‘Mango’ build of Windows Phone 7. The usual front facing capacitive buttons, Back, Home and  Search are present along with a covered microUSB port on the top, a domed power button and 3.5mm headphone jack. Presumably the third side button below the volume keys is for locking and unlocking the device.

Although this won’t be the first device to have Mango on it, the Sea Ray is rumored to be Nokia’s first Windows Phone 7 device to launch and is said to be available in the coming 2012 year. A step off of the proverbial ‘burning platform‘ and into cold waters. A ray  of light in a cold and dark sea. Hopefully it can keep the company afloat.

Via WPCentral

How Mango Has Fixed Some of the Annoyances of Windows Phone 7

I have been excited about Windows Phone ever since it was unveiled at MIX last year. I bought it almost as soon as it was launched (I had to wait to get out of my corporate contract) and there were a lot of things that delighted me like Metro UI, Live Tiles and hubs, despite coming to this platform from iPhone 3GS. But at the same time, as a user, there were many things that annoyed me, some of which were bugs, and some were just the incompleteness of the platform. After all, Windows Phone was in fact a complete reboot for Microsoft in mobile.

Over the July 4th weekend, which was long weekend here in the US, I was able to successfully put the beta 2 of the next version of Windows Phone OS, codenamed Windows Phone Mango (Mango). I am now using it as my primary phone, and already noticing that some of those annoyances (most of them, in fact!) go away!

Video timestamp

Videos taken on the phone would end up getting the download/sync timestamp rather than capture date and timestamp. This was highly annoying, because for a trip, I would end up having all the pictures in the correct order, but the videos would get lumped together at the end. I had to then manually fix the date and time by looking at the still pictures taken before and after the videos (thankfully, the filenames are in sequence, so I was able to get approximations ok).

With Mango, the videos still get the timestamp of the download/sync but instead of a generic sequential filename, the videos get named with the capture date and time (up to the second!) in UTC time. So instead of WP_000001.mp4, I now would have something like WP_20110705_134523Z.mp4. Way better!

Windows Phone NoDovideo filename

Image 1: Windows Phone NoDovideo filename

Windows Phone Mangovideo filename showing video capture date and time

Image 2: Windows Phone Mangovideo filename showing video capture date and time

Video sharing

There was absolutely no way to do anything with videos on the phone; no email, no sharing via MMS, no upload to Skydrive, no upload to Facebook. The only contextual menu option on videos was delete.

With Mango, videos get the same treatment as still pictures. They can be emailed. They can be shared. The only thing Mango does not do is auto-upload in the background to Skydrive. I could choose videos to upload to Skydrive, but it just does not happen automatically. I am ok with that. [Note: It seems like upload to Skydrive is not working in the current build, but I am certain that it’s a problem due to it being a beta. The feature, to upload videos to Skydrive, is here to stay. So yay!]

Windows Phone Mangocontextual menu on videos taken on the phone

Image 3: Windows Phone Mangocontextual menu on videos taken on the phone

Windows Phone Mangovideo sharing options including Facebook and Skydrive

Image 4: Windows Phone Mangovideo sharing options including Facebook and Skydrive

Jumplist on applications list and Search

After I got my Windows Phone, I had the urge to install new and cool apps as soon as they were released. I did not delete most of these apps, because I wanted to get notifications when they get updated, that way I can keep up with what’s new and when there are updates. The problem for me was that the list of applications became extremely long, and I had to keep scrolling up and down that list to launch an app which I had not pinned. I can use voice to launch an app, and it is quite cool, but I am just not used to launching apps with voice.

With Mango, there is now the familiar alphabetical jump-list like the one which is available in the People Hub, now for applications. This way I can quickly jump to a letter and get all the apps starting with that letter. Better yet, there is also a search button now which allows me to just search (very quickly too) for the app. As Windows Team Blog states, the jump-list is smart, since it shows the alphabets for jumping only when the number of installed apps exceeds 45.

Jump-list and Search in Windows Phone Mangoapplication list

Image 5: Jump-list and Search in Windows Phone Mangoapplication list

Contact history

In Windows Phone NoDo, the history of a contact was limited to only the call history, and that it wasn’t really a contact history, but more of a call log.

With Mango, we have an extremely rich contact history, which you can get to via the contact card’s history. It groups not only calls in and out, but also all messages (SMS/MMS) and email to and from the contact, neatly split by weeks.

Over-The-Air (OTA) Podcast subscription

Podcasts were only possible to be loaded on the phone via Zune desktop (or the Connector software if you were on a Mac) and nothing on the phone. This was a pain because some of the podcasts that I listen to are daily, and I knew that there was a new episode but I had to wait till I got home and sync-ed with my home PC.

With Mango, I can not only subscribe to and manage my podcasts on the phone, but I can now listen to a one-off episode of a podcast, streaming directly from the Marketplace. Simply superb.

Windows Phone Mangopodcast listing and subscription screen, with option to play (stream) an episode

Image 6: Windows Phone Mangopodcast listing and subscription screen, with option to play (stream) an episode

Windows Phone Mangopodcast subscription settings details

Image 7: Windows Phone Mangopodcast subscription settings details

In addition to these annoyances there are many bugs which have been fixed in Mango, like Marketplace search, Live Tiles notifications (cannot open notification channelissue), bluetooth bugs, etc.

Manan Kakkar has already written about some of the cool new things he has noticed in Mango, and I concur, Mango is in fact a juicy and sweet as a release. There are also some of the new features which are well-written about, and I am genuinely excited about, like Internet Explorer 9 with HTML5, in-built IM, OS-based Facebook chat and OS-based Facebook check-ins, among others.

With new hardware, especially from Nokia, to support this Mango release, we can only get more excited about Fall! I am looking forward to it.

iOS 5′s Safari Faster Than IE On Windows Phone 7 And Android’s Browser

 

A few months ago, Microsoft demoed  Mango for Windows Phone 7 and during the demo they compared their browser vs. others. Microsoft did a test between a device running Mango, an iPhone 4 (running iOS 4), and an Android device. During the HTML5 performance demo,  iOS’s Safari did poorly against Mango′s Internet Explorer and Android’s browser. Safari registered 2 frames per second while Microsoft’s Mobile IE scored a 26.

Since then, it hasn’t taken long for Apple to respond. WinRumors reports that in the iOS 5 beta, Safari now outperforms Mango by scoring a 31 when the same test is performed.

iOS 5 Safari HTML5 Test

In Mango, the browser uses hardware acceleration for HTML5 but Apple hasn’t shared plans to do the same. iOS 5 and Mango will ship in fall this year.

 

Windows Phone ‘Mango’ Update Announced; Coming This Fall

The Microsoft Windows Phone Mango’ event has just come to an end, and here is the change-log of Windows Phone Mango update. The next version of Windows Phone Mango’ is a People centricrelease, with the main focus on communication, applications and Internet.

First and foremost, Microsoft has gone ahead and integrated Twitter, Facebook Chat, Windows Live Messenger and other popular social networking sites right into the OS. The new Threads’ feature will bring in all your messages from IMs, Facebook, SMS’s right in one Inbox. Microsoft has also introduced Unified Inbox’, which will allow users to read emails from multiple email ids right in one place.

image

The Live Tiles in WP7 have also been livelier. Individual contacts can be pinned to the home screen, and they will provide the user with real time updates from all the social networks for that particular contact. Multi-tasking on WP7 has also been improved, and now allows users to switch between multiple apps now.

image

All popular Hubs in WP7 have also been enhanced as well. The Pictures Hub automatically tags people to their Facebook profile, when a user uploads a picture on a social networking site. The Xbox hub has been completely redesigned and has been tightly integrated with the Xbox Live service from Microsoft. It now even features your own 3D Avatar. The Office Hub has also been update and now features the SkyDrive and Office 365 features.

image

The browser in Windows Phone has also been updated to IE9. The browser is hardware accelerated, and supports HTML5 as well. The browser also features Quick Card’, which will automatically show movie data without opening a new application or a new webpage. Microsoft also demoed a comparison of HTML5 rendering speed of a Windows Phone running Mango, Android, iPhone and a BlackBerry handset. The Windows Phone running Mango obviously won by a pretty good margin.

Users can also search by just clicking pictures of an object. Applications can now also share data between themselves, allowing users to seamlessly switch between apps.   The Bing Search has also been enhanced, and now allows users to search for apps and/or the web right from the search bar. Voice-to-text and Text-to-voice feature has also been integrated into the OS now.

The Windows Phone Mango update will be available beginning this fall. The Windows Phone Mango SDK is already available for developers for download.

(Feature Round-up) Windows Phone 7 Mango: As Delicious As The Fruit

If with Windows Phone 7, people were skeptical about Microsoft’s long term plans for the mobile market, the Nokia and Skype deals prove Microsoft’s commitment. Everyone I show my Windows Phone 7 device to, seems to love it. A few concerns are raised but the first impression is positive. For all the flack the team has been getting regarding the missing features, there is no doubt that they are working their butts off. The next major upgrade to the platform called Mango is making news since it makes the phone an integral part of daily computing. There are a ton of new features that will allow the platform to compete with Android and iOS on features.

Here’s a list of features in addition to Twitter and Kinect Integration, IE9 (with HTML5) and Multitasking that we know are coming as part of the Mango update:

Tweaks:

  • Toggle Camera shutter sound off/on

The camera shutter sound wouldn’t turn off even if the phone was turned to silent which was a real annoyance for me. With a clear toggle switch, I can now have some fun.

camera-sound-off

  • Bing Maps rotating with direction

Coupled with Turn by Turn navigation and Nokia’s NavTeq technology, Bing Maps will definitely become a USP for the phone. In Mango, we will be allowed to choose whether the Maps rotate as we move or always point North.

maps-north-direction

  • Voice to text for Messaging

Microsoft’s TellMe service that powers voice to text on the phone will be extended to reciting messages to the phone.

voice-to-text

Consumer Features:

  • Windows Live and Facebook Chat under Messaging

The lack of an app for Windows Live Messenger was puzzling more so because Microsoft got a third party developer to release what was called as the official app. Enthusiasts hoped Microsoft would integrate the online chat client in the Messaging app and that seems to be the reason why there was no app. In Mango, WP7 Messaging app will have integration with Windows Live and Facebook chat. When considered with Skype integration, Microsoft will now have good leverage against carriers.

facebook-wlm-chat

  • Group Messaging

The ability to group users together and interacting will be added in Mango, whether this will extend to Facebook and Windows Live contacts with one contact being on WLM and the other on Facebook remains to be seen.

group-messaging

  • Now Playing Artist Album Art as Lock Screen

Imagining the album arts on the lock screen of m Samsung’s AMOLED screen make me want to have Mango now!

album-art-lockscreen

  • Zune Smart DJ support

Apple has Genius, Zune has Smart DJ. Smart DJ uses an algorithm to choose what songs will be played next and when used with Zune Pass, you get to listen to songs similar to your tastes but not in your collection, on your phone.

smart-dj

  • SkyDrive Integration in Office Hub

As a Skydrive user, having to download my documents using the browser seems too much work and frustrating since SkyDrive is Microsoft’s product. With Mango, the Office Hub will list SkyDrive as an option to browse Office documents making our lives a lot more convenient.

office-hub

  • Bing Audio for music detection

Shazam, you have competition.

bing1 bing2-shazam-01

bing2-shazam-02 bing2-shazam-03

  • Turn by Turn Navigation

The AT&T Navigation application works quite well but there are two problems with it:

  1. It belongs to AT&T
  2. You have to subscribe to it

In Mango, Microsoft will add Turn by Turn navigation into Bing Maps much like in Android. Microsoft partnership with Nokia will be playing a crucial role in this feature.

maps-turn-by-turn

  • Bing Vision (search using camera)

An exciting feature that will allow you to point your camera at QR codes, Microsoft Tag, Books, CDs and DVDs and search using Bing. Optical Character Recognition (OCR) will be implemented for this and hopefully third party developers will be able to use OCR for their apps.

bing-bar-codes-qr-codes

Enterprise Features:

  • Office 365 integration under Office Hub

Like SkyDrive for consumers, Microsoft’s suite of online productivity Office 365 will be making its way into the Office Hub along with Sharepoint.

  • Lync Messaging Client

Part of the Office 365 suite, a Lync app will be available in WP7 marketplace for download.

lync

  • Conversation view in Outlook

Like the Outlook desktop client, conversation view will be added to the Outlook email client on the phone.

outlook-conversation outlook-thread

  • Pin Outlook folders

The ability to pin particular folders in Outlook will make navigating through emails easier.

With all these features, there is no word on Microsoft’s answer to FaceTime but the Skype announcement said a client for Windows Phone is expected soon. Microsoft will be having a Windows Phone 7 event on the 24th, we should see more details about the phones and platform then.

Sources: WinSuperSite, Windows Phone Dev Podcast (1) & (2), Windows Team Blog, Mango Image