Microsoft's New Windows Phone 'Mango' Features Get Down to Business

At TechEd 2011, Microsoft announced plans to deliver new business-oriented features in the upcoming "Mango" release of Windows Phone 7, including Lync and new email support.

ATLANTA -At its TechEd 2011 conference here, Microsoft announced new business-productivity enhancements coming in the next release of Windows Phone 7.

The new features, slated for the upcoming "Mango" release of the Windows Phone operating system, include the ability to save and share Office documents, as well as pinnable email folders, a conversation view in email, server search and Lync mobile. Microsoft also indicated that by the end of TechEd, which runs May 16-19, there will be more than 16,000 applications in the Windows Phone Marketplace.

In a May 16 blog post on the new features, Paul Bryan, director of business experience for the Windows Phone team, said, "Mango is designed to make you even more productive right out-of-the-box-helping you quickly and easily stay connected with the people and information that are most important to you. For instance, we've heard that you like how the Office Hub helps bring together Office documents like Word, Excel, One Note and PowerPoint in one place. In Mango, we're adding the ability to save and share Office documents through Office 365 and Windows Live SkyDrive, ensuring you have access to the latest documents when and where you need them."

During the TechEd keynote, Augusto Valdez, a senior product manager for the Microsoft Mobile Communications Business, demonstrated some of the new features and said Windows Phone 7 is "designed for productivity right out of the box, so it's a great productivity phone. We are releasing a new version or a new update for Windows Phone called -Mango' toward the end of this calendar year by the holiday season. We're taking the productivity in the phone to the next level."

Meanwhile, Bryan said Lync Mobile brings the Lync experience to Windows Phone customers by delivering unified communications capabilities, including instant messaging and the ability to see the presence of your co-workers. The Lync application will be a free download from Windows Phone Marketplace and will be enabled with support from your business organization, he said.

Lync is an instant-messaging client used with the Lync Server and is a replacement for Windows Messenger. It is marketed as enterprise software and aimed at businesses and corporate environments.

"So, now we're using the secure Lync IM system to communicate with my work colleagues, and I can have access to all that information at any time," Valdez said. "I can have access to them, search for them, see what their availability is, and many more other things that we're going to be announcing later on about what we can do with Lync and the integration that we have with Lync services, again, whether they are on-premises or they're online."

With the new pinnable email folders feature, users can pin a folder to the start screen for quick access. This could be an email folder for a specific project, from a specific group or person, or an RSS feed the user has set up in Outlook. And with the conversation view in email feature, emails in a user's inbox are organized by conversation, bringing replies to a thread into a consolidated view so it's faster and easier to stay on top of the conversation, Bryan said.

Further on in the demo, Valdez said:

"Now, this e-mail is not just about-it's not just letting me actually look at the information, but it's also having information to connect me and to let me go into SharePoint Online services. So, that's the last part of the demo where I show you also how we can connect into SharePoint Online services, in Office 365 public cloud. So, if I click on the link, what is happening is that instead of going into SharePoint on-premises, it's actually going to Office 365 and it's showing me the list of documents that I have in that particular shared folder, directly here from my phone. What I can do is I can actually open up that Word document, and the document, again, is being opened from the cloud down here to my phone."

Moreover, Valdez said when the user saves the document, "the document is saved back into the SharePoint Server in the online Office 365 service, so everybody else on the team who has access to that same online service will have access to the latest version of the document."

Also, the new server search feature that is coming in Mango will enable users to search their email server for older emails no longer stored on their phone, giving them ready access to all of their mail.

And in his post on the Windows Phone Blog, Bryan added:

"In addition to helping you stay productive, Mango also includes new capabilities for IT. With new features, such as complex (alphanumeric) password support, Information Rights Management support for protecting emails and Office documents, and support for access to hidden corporate WiFi networks, your IT organization can stay on top of its game-providing you access to information you need while meeting corporate requirements."