Microsoft says it’s now up to handset makers to get the update into public’s hands.
Slideshow: 7 Hottest Features In Windows Phone 7 Mango
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A Microsoft official said the company has completed work on Mango, an update that adds more than 500 new features to the Windows Phone 7 platform, and that the software maker is now simply waiting for handset makers to integrate the new software with their hardware and ship it.
"Now it's up to our manufacturing partners to release Mango to our customers. Microsoft has delivered complete Mango earlier than planned to the manufacturers," said Peter Wissinger, Microsoft's director of mobile business for Nordic countries.
"Feels good now," said Wissinger, in a statement written in Swedish and translated to English by the tech industry blog TechCrunch.
Handset makers that offer Windows Phone 7 devices include Dell, HTC, Samsung, and LG. Nokia, which will port the entirety of its U.S. smartphone line to Windows Phone 7 when its partnership with Microsoft takes effect, has said it will not deliver any phones until Mango is available. U.S. carriers for Windows Phone include AT&T, T-Mobile, Verizon, and Sprint.
Mango adds a whopping 500 new features, from major improvements like multitasking to numerous, transparent back-end services.
A new feature called Threads lets users glide between text, Windows Live Messenger, and Facebook chat within the same "conversation." A feature known as Groups lets users receive and send messages from predefined social or business circles directly to and from the Smart Tiles home screen. Contact Cards have been enhanced to include feeds from Twitter and LinkedIn, in addition to the networks they previously supported.
Local Scout, which is integrated with Bing, yields hyper-local search results for dining, shopping, and entertainment.
Mango also adds long-awaited multitasking, which lets users move freely between applications and pick up and resume where they left off without having to restart apps. 4G wireless support is embedded, and for security-conscious enterprise customers, Mango adds support for various rights management technologies. For example, it lets authorized users open emails tagged with restrictions such as "do not forward" or "do not copy." Additionally, it beefs up integration with authoring and collaboration tools like Lync and Office 365.
Web browsing is enhanced with native support for Internet Explorer 9, which on Windows Phone 7 will drive hardware-accelerated graphics rendering as it does on the PC.
With a share of just under 6%, Microsoft's mobile Windows products significantly trail RIM BlackBerry, Apple iOS, and Google Android in U.S. mobile OS shipments, according to the most recent data from Comscore. Microsoft is counting on Mango, and its partnership with Nokia, to help it catch up.
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