A Look under the Peel of Microsoft’s Mango

by Jeff Wiener on May 26, 2011

In a conference yesterday Microsoft officially unveiled its latest update for its Windows Phone 7 mobile operating system, codenamed Mango. As we reported yesterday, Microsoft went on to announce a number of new partnerships with global handset manufacturers, deals that will no doubt allow Microsoft to further its global reach. But the question remains, has Mango done enough to gain momentum following Microsoft’s lacklustre start in the mobile market?

It would be an understatement to say that pouring over the some 500 changes Microsoft claims to have made to its mobile OS would be a daunting and tiring task, and to that end during its official rollout Microsoft executives touched only on some twenty (20) or so of those 500 changes.

But even 20 can be a challenging number to diffuse into a daily blog, so here are three (3) reasons (courtesy of ComputerWorld) that may in fact attract both new and veteran mobile consumers to Microsoft’s line of WP7 phones.

The reality is, despite all the new partnerships Microsoft is making around the world, with Nokia, ZTE, Acer, and Fujitsu, if Microsoft isn’t able to put together a mobile OS that people want, well, phones simply won’t sell. With that said, it truly does look like Microsoft has put some serious thought into its Mango update, to the point where I have no doubt that it will create at least some solid short term momentum for the company in the mobile market.

Integration of Internet Explorer 9

It was back in April that Microsoft first unveiled the unprecedented browser experience of Mango for Windows Phone developers. In a head-to-head test, Microsoft product marketing manage Derek Snyder ran the same HTML5 browsing test simultaneously on all major smartphone options—the latest iPhone 4, Blackberry Torch, a Samsung Droid Charge running Android with a dual-core processor, and a Windows Phone with Mango.

The results where astounding, as Blackberry clocked in a 4 frames per second of HTML5 loading, with Android coming in around 10 frames per second and the Mango-powered WP7 phone registering a staggering 25 frames per second. It should be noted that while the iPhone 4 was started right after the Blackberry, it had yet to load when the test commenced. Of course the reality is that none of these companies have released their next generation OS or phones yet, so we’ll see how everything really stacks up later this year.

All this and I haven’t even got to the best part, Mango features the full desktop version of IE9, no trimmed down mobile variant here.

Bing and Quick Cards

The integration of Bing and a new feature called Quick Cards is best described as a “’blurring’ of Internet searching and apps.”  Quick Cards is a summary feature integrated into Bing that offers what I would call rich search results, giving readers all the pertinent information they need without having to go to a separate webpage.

Office, Skype, and Xbox Live

In addition to IE9 and cool Bing features, Mango will contain an updated version of Office, fully integrated Skype service—a company that Microsoft purchased earlier this month—and Xbox Live capability, a feature that will allow users to connect with others in the Xbox community and play high end games on the phone itself.

In the end, Microsoft has done an amazing job of incorporating the best of its software suite into this Mango update, building on the fact that IE9, Office, Skype, Xbox Live and to a lesser extent Bing, are all experiencing strong growth in their respective markets. If this isn’t enough to garner interest in WP phones, I don’t know what is.

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