On May 24, Microsoft will preview its upcoming Mango update for Windows Phone at a special event in New York, but the company is already starting to reveal details about the next version of its mobile operating system.

Microsoft used its ongoing TechEd conference to outline some of the features that we can expect to see in the upcoming Windows Phone upgrade, better known as Mango, a lot of them adding office productivity tools that, by the looks of things, will let you bring Office on the road.

While Microsoft intends to hold what it is describing as a special event in New York on May 24 --presumably to distinguish it from a release event -- Paul Byran, senior director of business experience for the Windows Phone, was able to provide some insight into what we should expect next week and over the coming months on the Windows Phone blog.

Basically, according to Bryan, Mango is designed to make you productive as soon as you take it out of the box, and when the final version is released at a date unknown sometime later this year.

Office Hub Productivity

The first place with improvements is Office Hub, which brings common office documents and formats together such as Word, Excel, One Note and PowerPoint in one place.

WinPhone_Office Hub.jpg

Office Hub

There will be a real tie-up with Office 365 here, which is also expected to go on general release sometime later this year after it comes out of public beta, as in Mango, he says, Microsoft is making this a collaborative environment with the ability to save and share Office documents through both Office 365 and Live SkyDrive. Other productivity features include:

  • Pinnable email folders: With this, users will be able to “pin” a folder to their start screen for access and includes abilities with just about any kind of folder you can think of, including email folders, project folders or an RSS feed that has been set up in Outlook.
  • Email conversation view: This enables users to organize email in their inbox by conversation, enabling them bring replies to a thread into a consolidated view.
  • Threaded email: As well as bringing the ability to read rights-managed email, Mango will also provide threaded email to track email conversations as they unfold.
  • Server search: Users won’t have to store older emails on their phone as they will be able to search their email server , such as Exchange, for example, for old email messages that have been stored there.
  • Lync Mobile: Microsoft said here that it will be bringing Lync to Windows Phone and the abilities that come with it.The Lync app will be free to download from the Windows Phone marketplace and will come with support from your business organization. Presumably, this was conceived and developed before the Skype deal, but it will be interesting to see if and how Microsoft incorporates it in later releases.


Email conversation

IT Features

Bryan also mentioned a few concessions to IT, although there will undoubtedly be more when we get to see the final release.

Among the ones that have been outlined are complex password support, Information Rights Management support for protecting documents and emails, as well as support for hidden corporate Wi-Fi networks.

Win Phone Lync.jpg

Win Phone Lync

Of course, all of this is in addition to the other things that have already been promised, such as Internet Explorer 9 support, which will make it possible to run sites built with HTML 5, aggregation of instant messaging networks and Twitter support.

Bryan promises a lot more besides when it is finally released, but has also said he will be releasing details about other features as they happen. Next stop is next week at the New York event, when a clearer picture of functionality will be made available.