Microsoft continue to grind away at updates to Windows Phone. Like many markets they enter (we all forgot about Windows Mobile by now right), it often takes a few versions to make a serious impact.
But like a dog with a bone of meat, it continues to knaw away until the goal is achieved. Often this results in Microsoft becoming a market leader.
Overnight Microsoft detailed the next major release of Windows Phone 7. Titled Mango and due for release in Spring (around September), it will add more than 500 ‘features’.
Microsoft PR phoned today to confirm that the 500 new features are actually new features, not just fixes. We anxiously await the full list of new features, many of which are yet to be announced.
As with most companies today, the word feature and bug fix or update are used interchangeably. That said there are actually a number of new things coming to WP7 that are new to the platform or new to the industry as a whole.
Communications: Easier to connect and share.
To help people stay on top of the growing complexity of communications, from calls, texts, email and IM to status updates, tweets, check-ins, photo posting and tagging, the Mango release organises information around the person or group you want to interact with, not the communication method you use.
· Threads. Switch between text, Facebook chat, and Windows Live Messenger within the same conversation.
· Groups. Group contacts into personalised Live Tiles to see the latest status updates and quickly send a text, email or IM to the whole group, right from the start screen.
· Deeper social network integration. Twitter and Linked In feeds are now integrated into contact cards; built-in Facebook check-ins; and new face detection software that make it easy to quickly tag photos and post to the web.
· Linked Inbox. See multiple email accounts in one linked inbox. Conversations are organised to make it easy to stay on top of the latest mail.
A smarter approach to apps.
Windows Phone will challenge the way people think about apps. In addition to making it easier to get timely notifications and updates from apps right from the Start Screen, the Mango release will also 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 you need it.
· App Connect. By connecting apps to search results and deepening their integration with Windows Phone Hubs, including Music + Video, and Pictures, apps are surfaced when and where they make sense. App Connect works with Marketplace so results include both apps already on the phone and suggestions for new apps to download.
· Improved Live Tiles. Get real-time information from apps without having to open them. Live Tiles are more dynamic and can hold more information.
· Multitasking. Quickly switch between apps in use and allow apps to run in the background while preserving battery life and performance
Internet that goes beyond the browser.
· Internet Explorer 9. The power of a PC-browser plus support for HTLM5 and full hardware acceleration graphics. Quickly and easily share web pages with Social Networks directly from within the browser.. No copy and paste required.
· Integrated cloud services. Always have the information you need at your fingertips.
· Use SkyDrive to sync documents in the Office Hub and access Windows Live Photo Gallery and Facebook albums through the Pictures Hub.
· Dedicated Search Key. Instantly access Bing with one click from wherever you are in the phone.
· My Windows Phone. From any web browser you can log in to locate your lost phone on a map, have it sound the ringer, lock it, or wipe it.
Mango will be available free* to all Windows Phone 7 customers.