Microsoft: Windows Phone Mango Arriving in "Next Week or Two"

Microsoft (NAS: MSFT) has confirmed that it will begin rolling out its new Windows Phone 7.5 (a.k.a. "Mango") mobile operating system update within the next few weeks.

"For months, we and dozens of our partner companies have been laying the groundwork for the Windows Phone 7.5 update -- and making solid progress," writes Microsoft consumer experience engineering GM Eric Hautala on the Windows Phone Blog. "As a result, we now expect to start rolling it out in the next week or two. At that time, we'll also refresh the Where's My Phone Update? table to reflect the worldwide rollout status."

Hautala goes on to warn consumers against installing unofficial or leaked copies of Windows Phone software, stating that during the official Mango update process, all Windows Phone devices will receive authorized software upgrades from the original manufacturer. "This matched and paired firmware has been painstakingly tuned so your phone -- and apps -- work with all the new features of Windows Phone 7.5," Hautala writes. "Since your phone requires the proper firmware to function as designed, my advice is simple: Steer clear of bootleg updates and homebrew tools."

The upgrade emphasizes tighter platform integration and promises a smarter approach to mobile applications. It introduces App Connect, which ties apps to Bing search tools to foster a more relevant and efficient user experience. For example, if a consumer searches Bing for movie information, his or her Windows Phone device will generate showtimes and theater locations but also anticipate subsequent ticket-purchase requirements by presenting digital movie services provider Fandango's ticketing application. Also new in Mango: improved Live Tiles to deliver more real-time information to the device's home screen, app multitasking, and Live Agents tools giving developers the flexibility to build app multitasking scenarios without compromising battery life and performance.

There's also the new People Hub, which integrates multiple communications tools and social-networking platforms like Facebook, Twitter, Outlook and LinkedIn in one location. Mango detects the best method of communication for interacting with contacts and introduces group text and IM options. Personalized Live Tiles offer real-time social-media updates, and built-in text-to-voice and voice-to-text functionality supports hands-free communication.

Microsoft began accepting and certifying Mango-optimized applications late last month.

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