Microsoft previews Windows Phone “Mango” operating system

News Gary Krakow 12:28, May 24 2011

500+ upgraded features coming to a Windows handset near you this fall

In a very posh, but understated venue (the basement of a TriBeCa hotel), Microsoft, this morning, provided a handful of selected members of the press with a glimpse at the next version of their operating system for smartphones.

Windows Phone “Mango” (they haven't officially announced its numerical name) is still a project in development but has been promised to be ready sometime this Autumn.

Mango will be released approximately seven months after Microsoft first announced Windows Phone 7. In that time they've been working at full tilt to improve their software – and catch-up (and possibly surpass) their rivals at Apple, Google, HP/Palm and Research in Motion.

The presentation began promptly at 10am featuring Andy Lees, President of Microsoft's Mobile Communications with an overall view of what's new (more than 500 improvements over the current software). He used words such as “complete experience” and “making smartphones smarter and easier”.

Lees and Senior Project Manager Derek Snyder then mentioned some of the improvements including:

  • Smarter live tiles on the home screen providing more information and options.
  • Better integration of both LinkedIn and Twitter into an expanded “People Hub”.
  • An improved on-screen keyboard.
  • A new feature called Groups lets you create groups of similar-interest friends.
  • Improved integration among your various email platforms
  • Facial feature detection to help you tag your photos
  • Overhauled Xbox Live software (including instant exiting and re-entering a game in progress)
  • Better multi-tasking
  • Internet Explorer 9 (they stressed it's the same browser as in their PC operating system)
  • Improved browsing and downloads
  • Much better integration of Bing into nearly everything.

Microsoft stresses that in their Wndows Phone OS these features are tightly integrated into the device software experience – unlike the competion which stress separate operating systems and apps which must be opened one at a time.

Onbe of the more interesting facts that wasn't discussed was if IE9 is the exact, same browser for smartphones and desktops/laptops then it's easy to imagine the next version of Windows (8 or maybe 9) for PCs should be able to run on  processors other than Intel's x86.

Microsoft promises that the Mango will be ready, willing and able to be downloaded this fall.

Plus, they promised it will run on new hardware coming from Samsung, LG and HTC as well as Acer, Fujitsu, ZTE and, of course Nokia (rumored to be the first to release Mango smartphones).



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