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InfoQ Homepage News Mango, the Next Windows Phone, Is Packed with New Features

Mango, the Next Windows Phone, Is Packed with New Features

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Microsoft has announced Mango, the upcoming version of Windows Phone, a mobile OS that wants to catch up with the competition by providing a plethora of new features: mobile hardware-accelerated IE, multitasking, integrated communication, Silverlight 4 and XNA support, additional sensors, VB.NET support, and others.

Microsoft announced Windows Phone 7.1 (WP), code name “Mango”, during a press conference held in New York and other locations in the world on May 24th. Joe Belfiore, Corporate VP, has presented the three major directions the company wants to pursue with WP:

  • A web experience that goes beyond the browser. Mango has incorporated the Trident 5.0 engine that IE9 is built upon, including hardware acceleration. Belfiore demoed a Mango phone running Microsoft’s Speed Reading test at 24 FPS, while iPhone had only 2FPS, and an Android phone had 10 FPS.
    Local Scout is an example of application that goes beyond browsing by automatically suggesting restaurants, shopping places and activities based on user’s location.
    Bing Vision is another feature that enables the user to purchase a book by taking a picture of one, recognizing the book from its picture, finding websites that sell it, and providing a way to buy the book with a click, all in a streamlined interface.
  • A smarter approach to applications. Multitasking allows the user to suspend a running application/game and switch to another, having the option to return to the initial app and continue from where it was. Apps can also run in the background.
  • Communication features. The Outlook email client is included by default.
    Also, the user can define groups of people having a way of checking their activities on several social websites without actually visiting those sites.
    Threads is another new feature unifying communication on several different networks (Messenger PC, XBox, Facebook, SMS) into one interface, the user not having to switch between networks to communicate with others.

Microsoft brags about Mango as having 500 new features, a short list of the most important ones including:

  • Silverlight 4
  • IE9 web browser control
  • Live Tile enhancement: use of back of tiles and ability to update Live Tiles locally
  • Deep linking into apps from notifications and Live Tiles
  • Additional sensors: direct camera access, compass and gyro
  • Networking / sockets for communications
  • Local SQL database for structured storage
  • Access to calendar and contacts for apps

Developers can use Windows Phone Developer Tools 7.1 Beta to create applications for WP 7 and Mango, having new profiling tools, location and accelerometer simulation in the emulator, and new templates supporting Silverlight and XNA content in the same application. Visual Basic is a supported language for WP 7.1 development.

One of the problems with Mango is that it does not support Flash, and it is not clear if it will support it in the future. Tim Anderson reported asking a Microsoft representative on Flash support, and got this answer:

“It does not run on the device”, said Watson. Then he added, “It does not run on the device.” Finally, he said, “It does not run on the device.”

Microsoft has partnered so far with Acer, Fujitsu and ZTE to bring new WP phones to the market. Nokia remains the main WP manufacturer, but there is nothing known about their current developments, only that they plan to have one this year. Mango will be made available to all WP 7 customers for free in Autumn.

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