Microsoft (news, site) has had a successful run with its Windows Mobile platform, particularly in the corporate setting, but then the iPhone and Android rose in popularity and Microsoft found the need to refresh its mobile strategy. Microsoft is banking on the new Windows Phone 7 platform to revitalize its hold on the mobile market, and the much-anticipated second-generation -- codenamed "Mango" -- is about to get its first handset, care of Fujitsu (news, site).

Microsoft announced earlier that Mango smartphones will start rolling out by Fall this year. However, that's not stopping Fujitsu from releasing its IS12T model smartphone earlier than the planned launch. Sources say that Fujitsu will roll out its latest Windows Phone handset by "late August," via Japanese carrier KDDI. No specific features have been announced, although the IS12T is sure to be waterproof, and will have a 3.7-inch touchscreen. Further, the demonstration units shown at the Microsoft Worldwide Partner Conference came in hot pink.

Fujitsu's IS12T will be the first Windows Phone 7 handset released with "Mango."

What Can Mango Do?

Aside from getting yourself a hot pink phone that can withstand splashes and spills, Mango gets users a handful of notable improvements in the smartphone's user interface and integration with social networks and cloud services.

  • Unified messaging -- Mango will enable users to focus on communication rather than the protocol or application for connecting with correspondents. You can easily chat with someone via SMS, Facebook chat, or instant messaging all in one conversation view.
  • Visual voicemail -- While this is not exactly anything new in terms of mobile interfaces, Mango adds visual management of voice mail to Windows Phone 7. No more dialing in and listening to voice prompts.
  • HTML5 support -- Mango will bring in support for rich websites with videos, audio and other multimedia via HTML5. Does this mean Flash support won't be there?
  • User Interface -- Mango also comes with various usability improvements, such as an enhanced task switcher, easier navigation options and a supposedly more intuitive way to flip through your applications.

Windows Phone 7.5 also includes about 500 other fixes and new features, such as multiple email accounts, Bing Indoor Maps, handsfree messaging and improved information display via Tiles. And with KDDI having a strategic partnership with Skype and Facebook, users can expect tight integration with these services.

Coming Soon to Carriers Near You?

Now before smartphone fans get excited, let's remember that folks from Japan would get first dibs at this Fujitsu offering. KDDI will reportedy offer the Fujitsu IS12T for JPY 30,000 to 40,000 or US$ 380 to 506. While that's a bit of a sum for a smartphone, you get the prestige of owning one of the first Mango handsets around. But will Windows Phone 7 Mango live up to expectations?