Amid all the anticipation over the Kindle release, Apple iOS (or iPhone) announcement and other technology news, Microsoft has been low-key with its roll-out of the Windows Phone 7.5 update just a few hours ago. What do we get from this fruity-fresh new update from Microsoft?
Mango is here. Yes, after almost eight months of eager anticipation, Windows Phone 7 users can now enjoy the promised major updates that will come with Microsoft's latest smartphone OS release. If you're lucky enough to be covered under the first few regions and carriers that Microsoft will be rolling out the update for, you can expect new features that will make your WP7 smartphone like brand new.
Windows Phone Mango comes with improved location-based services
Windows Phone, Refreshed
Microsoft says there are hundreds of updates, although here are a few major fixes and new features that smartphone users should watch out for.
- Windows Phone comes with several messaging improvements, such as threaded and conversation views. Messages can also be read out loud through text-to-speech. Groups let users broadcast emails, IMs and text messages to a pre-set group of contacts for convenience. Meanwhile, with supported carriers, Mango provides visual voicemail cues.
- Mango is more social. Twitter and LinkedIn are baked into the OS. Internet Explorer also gives users an easy way to share content through social networks.
- Contact cards get an upgrade, and you now see your contacts' history -- calls, texts, IMs -- right on the card.
- Mango comes with multitasking. Apps can run in the background while you work (or play) on another app.
- Apps are also smarter, and can recommend other related apps when relevant content is detected. Meanwhile, Windows Marketplace gets an interface update, which lets users find apps more easily.
- Windows Phone now comes with better location-aware services, such as driving directions and Location Scout.
- Bing search is more powerful, now accepting voice commands. Bing can also search for products or items taken on the smartphone's camera.
- Users get an improved media experience, with support for podcasts, Zune streaming and live playlists.
- Gamers get more goodies, with Xbox LIVE messaging, more avatar options, and achievements tracking.
- Office users get improved cell selection in Excel, task-management with OneNote and SkyDrive integration.
Improved Networking Features
Perhaps the big news for mobile warriors is Internet Connection Sharing, which lets users tether their Windows Phone via WiFi to share data connectivity. Mango also supports My Windows Phone, for remote phone management, which can also be used to track or wipe out lost phones.
Microsoft is rolling out Mango to carriers starting today, but the company says users should expect a gradual roll-out these next few weeks. Features will also be country- and carrier-dependent.