Windows Phone Mango released to manufacturers

Microsoft has posted great news for Windows Phone developers and users confirming the Mango update has been released to manufacturers. However, Microsoft reveal exact details when the update is expected  to become available as an update for current devices. Microsoft has promised it will be released to all the current devices in addition to totally new devices coming with WP 7.5 pre-installed.

Some of most important improvements in Mango are:

  • Multi-tasking called ”Live Agents” for 3rd party apps.
  • A combined thread view for Facebook, IM and SMS messaging.
  • Internet Explorer 9 Mobile with HTML5 and 3D acceleration support.
  • Integrated Twitter support.
  • Support for more varied widgets in the Metro UI by using several ”tiles” for a single app.
  • New APIs for 3rd party app developers, such as support to take advantage of camera and sensors.
  • Support for gyroscope sensors.
  • Language and localization support during 2011 for at least 16 new cultures, such as Finnish.

Windows Phone Mango got quite an excited feedback from developers in beta testing. It is expected to become avsailable to operator testing in August.

Unfortunately I still haven’t got a chance to try Mango myself, and thus I’ve still had to rely on other sources.  The Geeks Club has reported about the hardware requirements and briefly explained how the Live Agents multi-tasking works.

As far as I understand, when switching between apps, inactive apps will be left in the background without their UI. Then other apps will be active. The platform will still have a strict control on device resources so that battery and CPU won’t be consumed too much.

Multi-tasking is not just geek stuff, because it should enable backgrond apps like listening to music from Spotify while doing other things at the same time. Spotify has already before promised WP7 support.

Until now Windows Phone 7 has been seen in mid- or high-end smartphones, but more affordable models are expected with the WP 7.5 Mango generation. The update does not raise the basic CPU and memory requirements, while at the same time the components that used to be high-end, have become affordable enough for mid- or even low-end devices.

With Mango, support has been added for the MSM7x30 chipset starting at 800 MHz. It is available for example in the Qualcomm Snapdragon CPU models, as MobileBurn reported. Initially Windows Phone required at minimum the Qualcomm snapdragon 1 GHz CPU.

More affordable devices should make Windows Phone more competitive against Android and iOS. However, there already are new Android smartphones available from the Chinese vendors Huawei and ZTE for under 200 euros in cash or under 7 euors a month with a 24-month operator plan in Europe. I ’d be surprised to see this cheap WP 7.5 Mango devices this year or maybe even next year.