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Windows Phone “Mango” preview event on Tuesday – A summary

| May 23, 2011 | 85 Replies

I know this will be met with the usual, cursory derision, trolling and vehement denial of any good that could possibly come from this event and Nokia’s involvement but for the first time in 2 weeks I actually feel like blogging and I won’t have your negative feedback taking that from me!!

Anywho, Microsoft is holding a preview event for their Windows Phone 7.5/Mango update on Tuesday 24th at 10:00 AM to detail their upcoming OS updates and the future of their mobile operating system. While we’ve covered quite a bit of the rumours surrounding what’s set to be announced on Tuesday, we felt it important to summarize all the news, covered both here and elsewhere to get a better idea of what this update is bringing to the table.

I’ll preface this by saying that comparatively speaking, this update is likely as significant (or even moreso) as the jump from S^1 to S^3 in terms of features, hardware support and increases in general usability.

 

1. Turn by turn navigation:

For many, myself included, this is a major requirement of ANY smartphone operating system and device that I use on a daily basis. Having used this on my 5800 for the better part of 2 years it was more than a little annoying not having access to this feature in the current iteration of Windows Phone. Personally, I expect that this implementation will be spartan at best and passable at worst but with Nokia on board, I expect Nokia’s devices will have significantly improved mapping abilities and integration (Ovi Maps 3D on steroids anyone?)

 

2. Multitasking:

Lets be real, a mobile operating system that doesn’t feature system-wide multitasking for both first party or 3rd-party applications is gimped (being as generous as possible here). Luckily for Microsoft, they’ve made moves to rectify this as soon as possible. While it isn’t likely to even remotely compete with Maemo (and the N900) in terms of multitasking prowess, from my own research, this will likely be the BEST implementation of multitasking for non-power users while simultaneously allowing the power users the degree of control they want on the applications they keep running.

I’ll be following up on WP7’s multitasking framework soon and explain why it’s not really that different from Symbian or Maemo in both the end user facing way but also at the system and functionality level. PS. If you’re too lazy to read, I’ll be sure to include a video :).

 

3. Bing upgrades up the wazoo.

Bing, for all the flak it gets (sometimes deservedly so) is ridiculously well integrated into the OS and is really not as bad a search engine as many think. It’s certainly NO google, but it’s arguably better integrated, more fluid to use and a lot better integrated than current search implementations either on Symbian or Maemo are and have ever been. Shazam-like Bing Audio, Bing vision for reading QR codes etc. and FINALLY an image search utility integrated into the already stellar search experience (whose default appearance will be even better with the coming update).

Now users will be able to tag songs and other audio, read visual markers, search the web, search the local GPS database for anything within a local radius, search the news, search for marketplace apps AND content on the device all with a quick tap on the search button. (insert video?)

Better still, unlike Google search on Android devices, it’s well broken down into separate categories or pivots.

4. More improvements to the speech to text engine.

The speech to text engine for search or voice commands on WP7 is as good if not better than the implementation on Symbian. Adding the ability to narrate entire texts is seemingly on tap for this update.

 

5. Better integration of third-party services and podcast support.

Currently, it’s possible for third-party, cloud-based video services like Supertube (best youtube client EVER), Youtube etc into the Zune application and it seems that even more services could be possibly added. On top of that, there seems to be an increasing likelihood that podcasting will be significantly improved. (hopefully downloading and management OTA?)

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6. Custom ringtones and SmartDJ

The former is self-explanatory and something a great many detractors have complained about incessantly since WP7’s release. The latter is similar to Genius on iTunes in that it creates playlists and mixes based on song/artist similarity, definitely a plus IMO.

 

7. East Asian language keyboard, dictionary and handwriting support.

Obviously the attempts to push WP7 into larger markets like China will require significant localization and this is seemingly the next logical step in such an approach.

 

8. People hub getting a huge upgrade

The people hub in its current iteration is an aggregation of contacts from a variety of sources, including your mail and Facebook contacts. Twitter integration has already been promised and it’s rumoured that FB chat, Windows Live Messenger Chat and AIM chat will all be making the cut for this next update. Given the recent acquisition of Skype I’m sure it’s only a matter of time before that gets chucked into the mix as well.

Here’s to hoping they allow a significant bit of filtering of said contacts and also do some work on that notification system at the same time. With that many options for communication, there’s bound to be some hell to pay if there’s no change on that front.

 

9. Email and group messaging updates.

The email application is supposedly getting server searching, threaded email views, pinnable email folders (pin a special work email folder to the “desktop”), Lync support, support for hidden corporate Wi-Fi networks and possibly other changes we’re not privy to. Also users will be

 

10. Socket support

Much was also made of the missing socket support upon the initial release so it’s no surprise that this is coming AND fast, Skype and Whatsapp already being on board that train and many others likely to follow suit.

 

11. Wi-Fi Hotspot support

Self-explanatory really, but users may be able to use their devices as Wi-Fi hotspots without the need for separate applications. Of course, knowing carriers that feature will be conveniently stripped out or well hidden.

12. Office 365

Ability to better sync documents created on the device over the cloud to either you Skydrive (decent amount of free storage is already provided) , Sharepoint or through Office 365. It’s likely that further corporate and enterprise services may be integrated as time goes by.

As much as has been said already, this update is FAR from a minor one and much more deserving of an 8.0 designation as opposed to a 7.5 even without considering the UI, battery-life and performance improvements that are likely(nigh guaranteed) to be on the way. Chances are that there’s even more to find out about this update come tomorrow so don’t get all disappointed and start hating too quickly k? If only Anna brought this much to the table ;).

Editor’s Note: Keep the comments clean, I will be moderating them if I see them devolving significantly into personal attacks etc.

PS. There are now 18000 applications in the WP7 marketplace, albeit quite a few aren’t exactly wondrous, significant growth is significant much like the explosion of QT apps in the Ovi Store. Doesn’t seem like such a dire decision by the Nokia board so far.

 

Source: 1, 2,3,4

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Category: Nokia

About the Author ()

So you've read something I've written. yay!! As you already know, my name is Andre and I'm currently a student based in Atlanta. Much like Jay, I pretty much blog here in my free time. Follow me on twitter @andre1989 or contact me directly at Andre(at)mynokiablog(dot)com. Feel free to contact me if you have any questions or suggestions.