Microsoft has officially previewed the next major release of the Windows Phone 7 platform. It’s code-named ‘Mango’ and will include more than 500 new features.
This update will be available free to existing Windows Phone 7 customers and is expected to be included on new phones from the autumn. Those new phones will be produced by Microsoft’s existing partners - including Nokia - and by new manufacturers including Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE.
Andy Lees, president of the Mobile Communications Business at Microsoft, said “Seven months ago we started our mission to make smartphones smarter and easier for people to do more. 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.”
Mango promises to integrate contacts more fully with communication services, organising information around people rather than apps. For example, it’ll be possible to switch between text, Facebook chat and Windows Live Messenger within the same conversation.
The photo gallery includes new face detection software, while voice-to-text and text-to-voice support will offer hands-free texting or chatting. In addition, there’s a new web browser based on Internet Explorer 9.
Multitasking and the concept of ‘surfacing’ - integrating apps into the phone so they’re automatically available when needed - will also be introduced.
[Windows Phone Developer blog]