May 26, 2011

Microsoft announces Windows Phone 'Mango' update, coming in autumn

Mango may no longer be a secret in and of itself, but we doubt Microsoft would've set up an entire eventto preview its big Windows Phone update if there was nothing hidden up that Redmond sleeve. To that end, we've just come across an official press release from the company, released on its Romanian website. The machine translation awaits after the break.

Update: We've now swapped in the natively English press release. There's also confirmation that Mango will indeed be known as Windows Phone 7.1.

Update 2: Turns out Microsoft "had to give [the SDK] a name" and dubbed it 7.1, so Mango retains its formal WP7 moniker.

The first thing to note is that the update will be "freely available" to all current Windows Phone handsets, something Microsoft already committed to, and will be ready for download "at the beginning of this summer." (Update: it looks like our translation machinery betrayed us, tipsters are saying it's actually the beginning of autumn.) Naturally, the new goodness will also figure in new devices and from new partners, including Acer, Fujitsu, and ZTE. Those fresh faces join Nokia and the incumbent partners of Dell (maybe) HTC, Samsung, and LG to expand the WP ecosystem.

A Beta SDK of the new Windows Phone free tools will be available within 24 hours, we're promised, for developers to sink their teeth into.

In the communications department, Microsoft is introducing conversation threads, which seamlessly transition between MSN Messenger chats, SMS, and Facebook messaging to keep you talking to the same person irrespective of the method. New contact group tiles are also incoming, with the ability to send quick emails or IMs to entire groups. Twitter and LinkedIn contact integration is mentioned, though we expect this go a lot deeper in Twitter's case, as Microsoft has already demonstrated. Speaking of more in-depth integration, Microsoft has improved the Live Tiles to allow the display of more dynamic information from apps, which will of course be able to multitask beautifully. Internet Explorer 9 is also joining in on the Mango fun with support for HTML5. Jump past the break for all the details.

Update 3: Would you look at that, Bing search has gotten a thorough sprucing up as well. Video of all the new goodness follows after the break -- or you can click here to hit up Microsoft's own video library, which is loaded to the gills with feature overviews.
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