With all the attention that Apple and Android get these days, its easy to forget about Windows Phone 7. That is, until the company announces that the latest version (Mango version 7.1) has 500 – count ‘em, 500 – new features.
We’ll discuss the implications of this new device in terms of mobile apps (and how they will be tested) in the coming days. But first, let’s take a look at some of the details of this new product (via TechCrunch mobile):
Another communication upgrade is an adjustment to call history, which integrates voicemail, missed calls, text messages, and any calendar events with regards to that particular contact. Speech-to-text will also offer a completely hands-free experience for texting, which was definitely impressive in the demo.
Mango also upgrades all the different Windows Phone Hubs, most significantly Pictures, Office, and Xbox Live. Mango offers what Microsoft has dubbed people-centric pictures, which employs facial recognition software to quickly tag and share with friends straight from the Pictures app.
The Office experience has also undergone a bit of a revamp. Mango will support Office 365 along with SkyDrive (which offers users 25GB of free storage). Office in Mango brings just about identical functionality to mobile, allowing users to highlight and arrange Excel cells or make changes to a Word document and save without worrying about any garbled information. Xbox Live Hub basically brings all of your gaming app experiences into one place in Mango, offering the friends scores, integrating a cute little avatar, and offering a quick-resume experience during multitasking.
Finally, Mango will include and use Internet Explorer 9, which uses hardware acceleration and supports HTML5 to deliver a quick experience. When tested against the iPhone 4, the BlackBerry Torch, and the Samsung Droid Charge, the Windows Phone running Mango blew the other browsers out of the water, delivering 27 frames per second compared to BlackBerry’s 4 fps and Android’s 10 fps. The iPhone 4 couldn’t get started.
Mango will hit users in the Fall, according to Mr. Lees, but developers can get their hands on the SDK now.
What do you think? Any Mango enthusiasts lurking? Chime in with your thoughts.