Today, Microsoft has given a preview of its latest Windows Phone OS update, known as Mango. According to Microsoft, Mango will deliver more than 500 new features to ensure a seamless integration of communications, apps and internet searching. Microsoft focused on developing three main things in Mango, which include a web experience that goes beyond the browser, a smarter approach to apps, and improved communication features that make it easier to connect and share with others.
Mango will include a browser based on Internet Explorer 9. Some of the features include Local Scout, which provides location awareness and allows users to find restaurants, attractions and activities nearby. Microsoft wanted to improve searching on the phone, and allow it to be done with little typing. As we reported earlier, Bing Vision will allow users to detect CDs, DVDs, books and texts by using a barcode and QR code scanner. In addition, Microsoft reveals the phone will bring up reviews, online prices, and will link with apps that contain the particular item that was scanned. For example, users can scan the cover of a book they’d like to purchase using the phone’s camera, and the phone will then recognize it and bring up the Amazon Kindle app. Users can then buy the book from the store and have it on the Windows phone. As well, Bing Audio allows users to search for music that they hear, and provides the user with links to download it in the Windows Marketplace for Mobile.
Microsoft intends to bring a smarter approach to apps with Mango, with the use multitasking that allows an easy switch between apps and games in use. Additional features include connecting apps to search results, getting timely notifications and updates from apps on the start screen, and live tiles on the start screen that give real-time information from apps without the user having to open them.
Multiple communications that involve calls, texts, emails and social networking will be simplified and enhanced with Mango’s ability to organize information around the person or group the user wants to interact with, and not the app or platform they have to use. Users will be able to switch between text, Facebook chat and Windows Live Messenger in the same conversation. Users can group contacts into personalized live tiles to see the latest status updates right from the start screen and quickly send a text, email or IM to the whole group. As for email, users will be able to bring multiple email accounts together in one live tile.
Mango will be available for free to Windows Phone 7 customers and is scheduled to ship on new phones beginning this fall. Microsoft hopes their recently announced partnership with Nokia, and their new partnerships with Acer Inc., Fujitsu Ltd. and ZTE Corp., announced today, will further expand and strengthen the Windows Phone.