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Microsoft announced today that the first major update for Windows Phone 7, codenamed “Mango”, has been released to manufacturing — a major development milestone before it makes it way to consumers.

“This marks the point in the development process where we hand code to our handset and mobile-operator partners to optimize Mango for their specific phone and network configurations,” Microsoft’s Terry Myerson wrote on the Windows Phone Blog this morning. “Here on the Windows Phone team, we now turn to preparing for the update process.”

Generally, RTM code is what ends up in finished products — barring any major issues. It’s also good to hear that Microsoft is now thinking about the actual update process. The company’s first attempt at releasing a Windows Phone 7 update earlier this year was a fiasco that left some devices completely nonfunctional. Microsoft certainly can’t afford to have a repeat of that situation — especially when competitors like iOS and Android offer smoother upgrade experiences.

The Windows Phone 7 Mango update will bring over 500 new features, Microsoft said in May. Most notably, Mango will bring app multitasking, Internet Explorer 9 with better HTML5 support, and add Twitter and LinkedIn as integrated services.

The Mango update is expected to land sometime this fall. Microsoft still hasn’t locked down a specific release date. New Windows Phone devices coming this fall, including those from Nokia, will ship with the update.

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