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Microsoft shed some light on the first big update to its Windows Phone 7 operating system, Mango, during a press event in New York City today.
The company explained how it was entering into an already crowded mobile market and realized that phones were becoming little more than app launchers. Presumably, Mango will put the user at the center of the experience and not the operating system, according to Andy Lees.
The Mango update heavily focuses on an integrated experience, which they demonstrated on stage by going through all of the basic native apps like contacts, web browsing as well as web searching and multitasking.
Other updates in Mango include:
- Adding Twitter and LinkedIn to the list of integrated services
- Ability to create contact groups (friends, family, coworkers, etc.)
- Adding notifications to Live Tiles
- Apps can now make their own Live Tiles/Notifications (like shortcuts)
- Xbox live integration improvements
- Internet Explorer 9 desktop is exactly the same in WP7, not a mobile version
- Bing getting new feature called “App Connect” that uses app shortcuts to connect searches directly to the application.
- Bing maps adding “Indoor Maps” (example from the demo was the inside of a mall)
- Bing Vision search (which functions like Google goggles)
- Local Scout — lists notable restaurants, shops, venues for your current location. Also shows what’s going on inside venue in addition to basic info
- Will support many new carriers and languages
- Overall, there are 500 new features in Mango.
Microsoft has already released Mango tools for app developers, but the upgrade won’t be available on phones until this fall. Once it does become available, users will be able to upload it to their phones via their PCs for free.
Microsoft briefly spoke about its partnership with Nokia before wrapping up — revealing that all Nokia phones will run Mango, which is currently testing in labs.
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