I had a chance to get familiar with Windows Phone Mango with a quick hands-on, the highly needed upgrade for Microsoft’s latest mobile OS. Until now I have been quite skeptical about WP7, but now I have more faith in it.
I liked the new multi-tasking kind of visual task manager for third party apps, even though it’s not real multi-tasking, but instead apps are left in a special frozen state in the background. It seemed to work, based on what I saw with Angry Birds (beta) and a couple of applications. I hope at least Spotify will be launched as soon as Mango phones and updates for current WP7 phones are available.
I was also fascinated by how Facebook, LinkedIn and Twitter are so integrated into the user interface (Metro UI), for example on the start view, contacts and photos. It’s very nice you can group your contacts, so you can follow relevant people in different situations, such as you family members and friends on free-time or colleagues or partners in work related stuff.
Having tried Mango, starting a special Facebook app on Android, iOS or Symbian feels very old-fashioned. However, there are those apps on WP Mango too, and not all the features are supported in those integrated views.
The developer device I saw didn’t have Finnish language support yet, but according to Microsoft the translation has been ready since the RTM announcement in July. Unfortunately I didn’t yet see how well Scandinavian characters (or ”ääkköset”, as we call them in Finnish) have been placed on the virtual keyboard.
There were a few disappointments too. The Metro UI and many WP apps don’t rotate into landscape mode which I find annoying when quickly switching between apps I usually use in ladscape mode (such as the web browser). The zoom feature didn’t seem to scale text bigger or smaller cleverly to always fit on screen.
Some of the features won’t initially be available to Finnish users. These include the mobile scout for Bing searches, plus music and video recognition.
Unfortunately I don’t now have time and cbance to write about this more here. But to summarise: the Windows Phone platform deserves a second chance, if you were disappointed with the first Windows Phone 7 release. I was, but now I’m a lot more optimistic. If you want a more in depth preview, search for ”Windows Phone Mango” preview . There are a plenty of them available.