Microsoft unveiled details of a major update to Windows Phone 7–codenamed “Mango”–earlier this week. The update contains more than 500 changes to the Windows Phone 7 platform–a mind boggling number for a platform that is still nascent to begin with. But, one of the messages from Microsoft in revealing Mango is that it wants more of the functionality of the smartphone to be an integrated, inherent part of the mobile platform and the smartphone experience, rather than an app that is bolted on after the fact.
In Windows Phone 7 Mango, Windows Live Messnger is woven into the fabric of the messaging hub and provides one-stop access to instant messaging, text messaging, social networks, group chat, and more. An Inside Windows Live blog post explains the seamless integration, “For example, if we’re both online in Messenger, it will use Messenger IM so that we can share rich photos and more, but if we’re Facebook friends or just have each other’s phone numbers, it will automatically select the right service for our conversation. Of course, you can always choose (and easily switch to) the service you want to use for any given conversation based on presence, network availability, cost, and personal preferences.”
I used a Windows Phone 7 smartphone for a couple weeks, and found it capable, but I wasn’t blown away. By the end of the two weeks I was anxious to get back to my iPhone 4. But, I have to say that I am looking forward to taking Windows Phone 7 for another spin once Mango hits the street. Microsoft really seems to be innovating and developing Windows Phone 7 into a solid smartphone contender.