Microsoft today previewed the next major release of Windows Phone, code name “Mango,” at a demo event in Auckland.
“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.”
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.
Some of the new features include:
• 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
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.
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 allow users to get real-time information from apps without having to open them. Live Tiles can now be bigger, more dynamic and hold more information.
Another new feature in this release is multi-tasking, allowing quick switch between apps in use and allow apps to run in the background while preserving battery life and performance
In addition to having Internet Explorer built in, the Mango release will connect location awareness, camera and access to apps, to present a new way of viewing the web. Internet Explorer 9, including support for HTLM5 and hardware accelerated graphics will be standard for the next Windows Phone release.
Microsoft also announced new OEM partners commited to launching Windows Phone handsets. In addition to the recently announced partnership with Nokia. Mango will further expand and strengthen the Windows Phone ecosystem through new partnerships with Acer, Fujitsu-Toshiba and ZTE.
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.