Microsoft has officially taken the the wraps off of the next version of Windows Phone 7, code-named Mango. It’s due out this fall and Microsoft says a number of phone makers including Fujitsu, Acer, and ZTE have already committed to releasing new devices running Mango.

So what’s new in Mango? We’ve already seen some of the updates including turn-by-turn navigation, improved enterprise features, and new Bing services. But now Microsoft is outlining some other major changes.

Communications

Mango will include support for conversation threads which allow you to switch between apps such as text messages, Facebook chat, and Windows Live Messenger without leaving the conversation. You can also create Live Tiles for contact groups, letting you see the latest updates from your home screen or send messages to the whole group.

Mango also includes more social networking features. Twitter and LinkedIn feeds now show up in your contact cards, and you can check-in to locations using Facebook. Microsoft is also adding face-detection software for tagging photos.

As expected, there’s also support for text-to-voice and voice-to-text in the messaging apps. Microsoft is also adding support for multiple email accounts.

Apps

Microsoft is making it possible for third party apps to work more closely with the operating system. Apps won’t just be able to send you notifications, but apps will show up in search results. For instance, when you’re searching for music or pictures, the device can search apps as well as media accessed by the default Windows Phone apps.

Mango will also finally bring multitasking to Windows Phone 7, allowing users to switch between running apps without closing them, and to run apps in the background.

Internet

The next version of Internet Explorer for Windows Phone 7 will include support for HTML5 and hardware acceleration. Maybe Microsoft will finally be able to stop releasing new features and services for iOS and Android before Windows Phone now.

In addition to Internet Explorer 9, Microsoft is launching a new service called Local Scout which will provide local search results and recommendations for restaurants and other businesses

As expected, we’ll also see new Bing apps such as Bing Music Search and Bing Vision (a Google Goggles clone). Ther’es also support for voice commands.

Office

Microsoft is offering business users the ability to connect to Office 365 to create, edit, and sync documents. Consumers can also link to Windows Live SkyDrive for 25GB of free online storage.

Brad Linder

Brad Linder is editor of Liliputing and Mobiputing.He's been tinkering with mobile tech for decades and writing about it since...