Microsoft will offer the Mango update as a free upgrade for all Windows Phone 7 users this fall. But developers can already get their hands on tools to start writing apps for the new platform. Microsoft has released a new set of developer tools for Mango which are available for download starting today.

Here are some of the new things that apps can do in Mango:

  • Support background processing
  • Use Silverlight and XNA together
  • Support new Live Tile features
  • Offer deep linking to notifications and Live Tiles
  • Make use of the camera, gyroscope, or compass
  • Support fast application switching
  • Access calendar and contact data
  • Offer Internet Explorer 9 web browser control

The new tools also include a new emulator for testing Mango apps.

Microsoft is also expanding the Windows Phone Marketplace to additional countries. That means this fall you’ll be able to submit or purchase an app in 35 different nations. Right now the Marketplace is only available in 16.

Microsoft will also follow Google and Apple’s leads by offering a web-based version of the Windows Phone Marketplace making it easier to find apps using a desktop computer. But while Google lets you send apps purchased from the Android Market in a web browser directly to your phone, it looks like Microsoft will take a more Apple-like approach by having you first download the app to your computer before sending it to your mobile device. Users will be able to purchase apps on the web and send download links to a phone via email or SMS.

Brad Linder

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