Microsoft is inching closer to launching its Windows Phone 7 “Mango” update. The upcoming operating system improvement will be coming to devices this fall and is now in the hands of vendors so they can preinstall it on their devices so they will be ready for the official launch.
Mango is releasing at an extremely important time for Microsoft. The software giant has been trying desperately over the last several months to cement its position in the mobile market, but so far, it has fallen short as its top competitors, iOS and Android, continue to appeal to both consumers and enterprise users.
Of course, much of that has been due to Microsoft’s own issues. The company waited too long to release Windows Phone 7, and when it finally did, the operating system lacked a host of important features, such as full multitasking. But Microsoft is addressing that problem and others with Mango.
Read on to find out aboutsome of the most important improvements Microsoft is bringing to Mango.
1. Apps and search play well together
One of the most important additions in Mango is the ability to search the Web via Bing and, based on what the user is looking for, call up apps related to a query. As Microsoft points out, if users are searching for movie times, for example, the new feature will provide users with a direct download point to add the Fandango app to their phones. If it’s implemented well, the feature could have a profound impact on Microsoft’s mobile application support.
2. Full multitasking
One of the biggest complaints of Windows Phone 7 usershas been the platform’s lack of full multitasking. With Mango, users will be able to switch between applications easily, as well as have multiple applications running at the same time. Considering competing operating systems already have that functionality, it’s about time Microsoft follows suit.
3. Better Live Tiles
Microsoft has promised far more appealing functionality in its platform’s Live Tiles. According to the company, its Live Tiles will provide more real-time data, as well as allow users to track individuals or groups of people from their devices. Live Tiles is far more useful in Mango, and most Windows Phone 7 users will be happy to see that.
4. People Hub is a nice addition
Microsoft is making it easier for people to keep in contact in Mango. A new addition called People Hub will help users find all the online places where they can contact a friend. One of the biggest issues on mobile devices now is finding where people are. People Hub is designed to cut down on those issues, and by the look of things, consumers will be happy to have it.
Many Features Arriving Late to Phone 7
5. Real-time communication awareness
Following on the People Hub theme, Microsoft’s platform will allow users to send messages to others wherever they are. So, if a friend is available on IM, a user’s message will be sent there. If they’re not, it will go to them via SMS.Mango’s real-time communication awareness might just be the best part of the platform’s new people-centric additions.
6. An all-in-one inbox
It might be a small update to many folks, but for those who have multiple email accounts it’s a big one: With Mango, users will be able to combine all of their email accounts into a single inbox. Considering Windows Phone 7’s competitors also offer that functionality, it’s nice to see Microsoft follow suit. But as with many of these updates, shouldn’t this have already been available when the operating system launched?
7. Better browsing (thankfully)
Microsoft has promised far better browsing in Mango. The company says users will benefit from hardware-accelerated graphics and Internet Explorer 9, which comes with full support for HTML5. Microsoft says the browsing experience in Mango will be “faster” and “mirrors the desktop.” That remains to be seen. But if Microsoft is right,consumers will be happy to have Mango.
8. Local search built-in
One of the key advantages of smartphones is that they can go everywhere. With that in mind, Microsoft says Mango will come with local search built in, thus providing searchers with local content as the top results. If done properly, Bing search in Mango could be far more useful than it currently is in Windows Phone 7.
9. Enterprise features galore
Microsoft has loaded Mango up with a host of enterprise features, including support for saving documents in the cloud via Office 365 and searching Exchange Server from the device. The addition of support for the Microsoft Lync instant messaging client and the ability to quickly access entire email folders from the device’s home screen should also help make Mango a more appealing enterprise option.
10. Visual search, anyone?
Visual search is becoming an increasingly important way to search from mobile devices. With the visual-search feature built into Mango, users will be able to snap a photo of something and search the Web for more information on it. Will the addition trump Google Goggles? Time will tell. But it might be a welcome addition for those who don’t always want to type out a search query.