Microsoft (NASDAQ:MSFT) demonstrated some features of its upcoming "Mango" software update for Windows Phones at a small New York City presentation for media and analysts May 24. This "sneak peak" at the Windows Phone update suggests that Microsoft is getting more serious about expanding its mobile platform's capabilities, as it continues its fight against Android and the iPhone, both of which lead Microsoft in smartphone market share.
Microsoft claims that Mango, slated to push its way onto Windows Phone devices sometime this fall, will introduce more than 500 new elements to the smartphone platform, with a mix of new features for both consumers and businesses.
In contrast to Google Android devices and the iPhone, which offer grid-like screens of individual applications, Windows Phone consolidates Web content and applications into a set of subject-specific Hubs. The Windows Phone user's home screen consists of "live tiles" that display information such as the number of new emails. Mango will expand the information available to those tiles, including call history, instant messages and social-networking data.
Information from Twitter and LinkedIn will display in the "People" Hub, along with new images added by friends. Windows Phone users will also have the ability to consolidate their friends and colleagues into Groups, the easier to send mass-messages and emails. Visual voicemail and the ability to see "threaded" conversations in emails buttress Mango's communications enhancements.
The Xbox Live Hub, meanwhile, has been completely redesigned for Mango, particularly to take advantage of the update's multitasking abilities. If the user is called away by an email, say, they can move back to the homepage to answer that message before transitioning back to the game. The Hub also elevates the social experience related to Xbox games, making scores and other information widely available to the user's friends.
Mango's new enterprise functionality includes the ability to search a server for email items no longer stored on the device, and share and save Office documents via Office 365 and Windows SkyDrive. There's also an upgraded Internet experience, one that tightly bakes Microsoft's Bing search engine into the interface.
For more, read the eWEEK article: Microsoft Windows Phone Mango Update Is Major Upgrade.
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