A few days ago, I met Brett Murray from the Microsoft Windows Phone team during my lunch time. He demonstrated the upcoming Windows Phone Mango update (for Windows Phone 7 users) for about half an hour. I was really astonished as how big of a jump the Microsoft Windows Phone 7 is from Windows Mobile 6.5 (where I was coming from about a couple of years ago).
Although I wasn’t a fond of the Metro UI when I saw it at first, after the demo, I believe Microsoft is on the right track. Those square bright boxes are powerful boxes, ready to give you any live notifications whenever updates are occurring, and more.
These widgets let you know when you have new emails in your inbox or even when a close friend posts a status update on a particular social network. Speaking of which, in Windows Phone Mango, all social network updates will be consolidated together. So for example, a conversation thread history on a single contact can be coming from Facebook message, messaging (SMS), or Windows Live Messenger. These conversations from different sources are being combined into one so you can keep track of every conversation on any social networks. This makes it seamless too when you have to switch from a messaging app to another.
You can also assign your favorite contacts (such as your best buddies) and put them into a group. When there are new status updates (on Twitter, LinkedIn, or Facebook, say), these widgets will be animated and notify you of the updates. You can create as much groups as you want which makes it easier to work with different people and collaborate with them (as you can send messages to a whole group easily).
The email application has a minimalist interface and you can link different email accounts into 1 linked email inbox to keep track of everything in one location. You can also protect the email you send so the recipient cannot print or even forward the email to anyone else. This is pretty useful if you want to protect that important attachment you just sent across.
Windows Phone Mango supports multiple calendars and you can even share calendars with the others. It also detects scheduling conflicts and notifies you when there are such conflicts. Group important emails to a folder and you can even pin this folder to the Home screen.
The local scout feature, fast-app switching, note syncing, twitter integration, and other features kept me interested throughout the demo. Feel free to watch the official video demo of the Windows Phone Features if you wish below for other features that I haven’t mentioned in this post:
As for the hardware, Brett told me that they are emphasizing a standard for all phone manufacturers to follow. For example, a phone running Windows Phone Mango has to have a minimum hardware specification and the three hardware buttons: Back, Home, and Search. I nodded in agreement as this will ensure everyone can experience Windows Phone Mango in its fullness.
I definitely love how information is being gathered nicely and intuitively in Windows Phone Mango. Keeping track of what’s important for you and making it easy seems to be the main reasons why Mango was designed and developed. Looks like Nokia’s move to ditch Symbian OS and team up with Microsoft is a good decision overall!