The latest reports suggest that Microsoft is bulking up Mango with a full set of features, including turn-by-turn voice navigation, music discovery, voice-to-text and a fully fledged image scanner to search using barcodes.
According to a recent podcast with Microsoft’s Director of Developer Experience, Brandon Watson, Mango will have Bing Audio (a Shazam-type music discovery service), Bing Vision (an image scanner that uses the cellphone’s camera to detect and utilize barcodes, QR codes, text, much like Google Goggles), turn-by-turn navigation, and SMS dictation, which is based on Microsoft’s TellMe speech recognition technology.
So far, so catch-up. All of these services can be found in one shape or another in the mobile operating systems Microsoft (not forgetting Nokia) is competing with. These features are what we have come to expect from a high-end mobile OS, but it seems that Microsoft is intent on making sure that Mango hits the ground running when it is released in the fall.
While none of these are going to be game-changers by themselves, these are essential, must-have features for any operating system that wants to compete with iOS or Android. The real question is not whether Microsoft can catch up with Apple and Google, but if it can surpass them.