Microsoft plans to release a major update to Windows Phone 7 soon. Code-named “Mango,” the next-gen mobile operating system will offer tighter integration with Microsoft’s cloud services, an improved media experience, a new web-based app store, and much more.
A preview version of Windows Phone 7.5 Mango is making the rounds, and a number of tech sites have published early reviews. Here are some of the highlights:
- SlashGear: The addition of multitasking, a streamlined messaging experience, and better multimedia make Mango a big leap forward — but the small number of third party apps when compared with iOS and Android could hold the platform back.
- Laptop Magazine: Mango adds a lot of new features, but still lacks some that are common to other platforms such as video calling, WiFi hotspot capabilities, or free voice navigation.
- Gizmodo: Windows Phone is finally playing in the big time now with support for multitasking, attractive animated effects, and speedy overall performance.
- WP Central: The Windows Phone experts at WP Central provide a detailed breakdown of how Mango compares with earlier builds of Windows Phone 7. The short version? It’s faster. Software buttons and other navigation graphics are larger and easier to interact with. The web browser is faster, and oh yeah, it finally handles HTML5 and other web standards.
- This is my next: Mango fixes many of the annoyances with earlier builds, but developers will need to update their apps to take advantage of new features such as multitasking and enhanced Live Tile integration.
- ZDNet: The whole WP7-doesn’t-have-as-many-apps criticism is overblown, and Mango actually makes it easier to find apps from the 20,000 apps in the Marketplace.
- PocketNow: This is one of the most detailed previews I’ve seen, complete with a bunch of hands-on videos, most of which you can check out after the break.
- MobileBurn: While PocketNow put together a ton of videos, MobileBurn put together just one 16 minute video that runs through as many new features as possible in a relatively short period of time. That’s surprisingly difficult to do given just how many updates Mango brings.
Overall everyone seems to agree that Mango is a big step forward for Microsoft. True multitasking is finally here, and the overall user experience has been improved. The web browser finally supports the same web standards found in other mobile browser, which means that maybe Microsoft can stop releasing Bing web services that work on Android and iOS before Windows Phone.
The Windows Phone Mango update will be available as a free upgrade for Windows Phone 7 users later this year. You can check out some of the videos from the previews below.