“Mango” to deliver smarter and easier communications, apps and web.
Microsoft today previewed the next major release of Windows Phone, code name “Mango,” at a demo event in Auckland. Designed to give people an alternative to the smartphone status quo, “Mango” will deliver a wave of new features to push the boundaries of the smartphone experience around communications, apps and the web. The new release will be available to all existing Windows Phone handsets as a free upgrade, and will come as standard on all new phones later in the year.
“Seven months ago we started our mission to make smartphones smarter and easier for people to do more,” says Mark Bishop, Windows Phone Manager for Microsoft New Zealand.
“With Mango, Windows Phone takes a major step forward in redefining how people communicate and use apps and the Internet, giving you better results with less effort.”
Easier to connect and share
The smartphone experience has been complicated by a sea of disconnected apps and accounts in an attempt to keep pace with all the different ways people communicate – from calls, texts, email and instant messenger, to status updates, Tweets, check-ins, photo posting and tagging. To help people stay on top of that growing complexity, the Mango release organises information around the person or group you want to interact with, not the app you have to use.
• Threads: Switch between text, Facebook chat and Windows Live Messenger within the same conversation
• Groups: Group contacts into personalised Live Tiles to see the latest status updates and quickly send a text, email or instant message to the whole group, right from the start screen
• Deeper social network integration: Twitter and Linked In feeds are now integrated into contact cards, built in Facebook check-ins and new face detection software that makes it easy to quickly tag photos and post to the web
• Linked Inbox: See multiple email accounts in one linked inbox. Conversations are organised to make it easy to stay on top of the latest mail
• Hands-free messaging: Built-in speech-to-text and text-to-speech support enables hands-free texting or chatting
A smarter approach to apps
Windows Phone will challenge the way people think about apps. Today their usefulness is measured by what can be done within the app, but the promise of apps lies in how they can be integrated directly into the core experiences of the phone. In addition to making it easier to get timely notifications and updates from apps right from the Start Screen, the Mango release will also surface apps as part of search results and within Windows Phone Hubs. As a result, a useful app is more likely to be right there when you need it.
• App Connect: By connecting apps to search results and deepening their integration with Windows Phone Hubs, including Music and Video, and Pictures, apps are surfaced when and where they make sense. App Connect works with Marketplace so results include both apps already on the phone and suggestions for new apps to download
• Improved Live Tiles: Get real-time information from apps without having to open them. Live Tiles can now be bigger, more dynamic and hold more information
• Multi-tasking: Quickly switch between apps in use and allow apps to run in the background while preserving battery life and performance
Taking the web beyond the browser
In addition to having Internet Explorer, the world’s most popular browser, built in, the Mango release will connect the power of the web to the unique capabilities of your phone, such as location awareness, camera and access to apps, to present a new way of viewing the web that is more localised, actionable and relevant.
• Internet Explorer 9: The power of a PC-browser plus support for HTLM5 and hardware accelerated graphics
• Local Scout: Provides hyper-local search results and recommends nearby restaurants, shopping and activities in an easy to use guide
• Bing on Windows Phone: More ways to search the web, including Bing Vision, Bing Audio and voice so it’s easier to discover and decide
• Cards: When searching for a product, movie, event or place see a quick summary of relevant information, including related apps
Some of the new features will not be available in New Zealand.
Strengthening the ecosystem
The Windows Phone ecosystem has grown steadily since Windows Phone 7 first launched in October 2010, with more than 17,000 apps currently available on Marketplace and Windows Phone handsets available from a range of partners worldwide, and Microsoft’s recently announced partnership with Nokia. Mango will further expand and strengthen the Windows Phone ecosystem through new partnerships with Acer, Fujistu-Toshiba and ZTE who are committed to delivering new Windows Phone devices in markets around the world later this year. Furthermore, Windows Phone will add support for additional languages, expand access to apps by launching Marketplace in new countries, and partner with new hardware manufacturers to enable expansion to new markets.
A Beta release of the free Windows Phone Developer tools that will be used to create the next generation of Mango apps and games will be posted for public download to Microsoft’s website within 24 hours of today’s announcement.
“The Mango update gives developers more options and the ability to extend applications further. Features such as the enhanced multi-tasking, the Live Tiles as well as improved access to functions such as the camera, will make for more innovative apps and a richer mobile experience,” says Keith Patton, app developer and Marker’s technical director.
More information about what Mango means for developers, the tools and a link to the public download page is available at http://windowsteamblog.com/windows_phone/b/wpdev/archive/2011/05/24/developer-news-beta-mango-tools-available-today.aspx.