Microsoft’s Windows Phone “Mango” update is apparently a week or two away.
“For months, we and dozens of our partner companies have been laying the groundwork for the Windows Phone 7.5 update-and making solid progress.” Eric Hautala, Microsoft’s general manager of customer experience engineering, wrote in a Sept. 21 posting on the Windows Phone Blog. “As a result, we now expect to start rolling it out in the next week or two.”
As part of that rollout, Microsoft will update its “Where’s My Phone Update?” tables for Mango.
Brandon Watson, Microsoft’s director of developer experience for Windows Phone, tweeted Sept. 21 that: “Boom … no more rumors. Mango to start rolling out on #windowsphone in just a week or two.”
Microsoft is very publicly hoping the Windows Phone Mango update, which offers some 500 tweaks and added features, will help the platform gain momentum in the face of serious competition from the likes of Apple’s iPhone and Google’s Android.
Whether it can succeed is an open question. A new report from research firm NPD Group’s Connected Intelligence Service suggests that some 44 percent of smartphone owners are considering the purchase of a Windows Phone 7 device.
That being said, NPD also suggested that Microsoft is facing significant issues in the brand-awareness department, with some 45 percent of consumers “still not aware of Windows Phone 7.” Consumers cited a lack of awareness about Windows Phone, or OS ecosystem lock-in, as prime reasons for not planning to purchase a device running the platform.
Despite positive reviews for the Windows Phone platform, research firms such as comScore have estimated Microsoft’s smartphone market share as gradually declining over the past few months. “We haven’t sold quite as many probably as I would have hoped we would have sold in the first year,” Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer recently told the audience during the company’s financial analyst meeting. “I think with a little bit more effort, a little bit more energy, the level of enthusiasm from the customer base is high enough we’ve just got to kick this thing to the next level.”
He also expressed hope that Windows Phone would eventually become “a very strong third ecosystem in the smartphone world” alongside Google Android and Apple’s iPhone.