This morning during a press conference held in Manhattan, Microsoft has unveiled the consumer side of the forthcoming update to the Windows Phone platform codenamed Mango. The update is so extensive as to be considered a completely separate release with over 500 new features along with the confirmation of new hardware partners. Read more for the extensive breakdown.
First, Acer, ZTE and Fujitsu have been confirmed as new OEMs for the platform which will expand international availability of Windows Phone 7 further in Asia and Europe. Second, the geographical footprint for Windows Phone 7 will be expanded this Fall with the launch of Mango as more languages will be added in Brazilian Portuguese, Simplified and Traditional Chinese, Czech, Danish, Dutch, Finnish, Greek, Hungarian, Japanese, Korean, Norwegian, Polish, Portuguese, Russian, and Swedish with the the availability of the Windows Phone Marketplace also similarly expanded.
Third, Microsoft has confirmed that Nokiaâ€™s forthcoming Windows Phone hardware will be released with Mango as its first software version while confirming that devices are currently undergoing testing ahead of their release between the end of this year and the beginning of next year. The following key features have been added to Mango:
Threads. Switch between text, Facebook chat and Windows Live Messenger within the same conversation.
Groups. Group contacts into personalized Live Tiles to see the latest status updates right from the Start Screen and quickly send a text, email or IM to the whole group.
Deeper social network integration. Twitter and LinkedIn feeds are now integrated into contact cards, and â€œMangoâ€ includes built-in Facebook check-ins and new face detection software that makes it easier to quickly tag photos and post to the Web.
Linked inbox. See multiple email accounts in one linked inbox. Conversations are organized to make it easy to stay on top of the latest mail.
Hands-free messaging. Built-in voice-to-text and text-to-voice support enables hands-free texting or chatting.
App Connect. By connecting apps to search results and deepening their integration with Windows Phone Hubs, including Music and Video and Pictures, â€œMangoâ€ allows apps to be surfaced when and where they make sense.
Improved Live Tiles. Get real-time information from apps without having to open them. Live Tiles can be more dynamic and hold more information.
Multitasking. Quickly switch between apps in use and allow apps to run in the background, helping to preserve battery life and performance.
Internet Explorer 9. A browser based on the powerful Internet Explorer 9 and including support for HTML5 and full hardware acceleration.
Local Scout. Provides â€œhyperlocalâ€ search results and recommends nearby restaurants, shopping and activities in an easy-to-use guide.
Bing on Windows Phone. More ways to search the Web, including Bing Vision, Music Search and Voice.
Quick Cards. When searching for a product, movie, event or place, see a quick summary of relevant information, including related apps.
The update will be released this Fall with Qualcomm confirming its continued involvement in the platform as the chipset of choice for all Windows Phone hardware.