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Mango Update for Windows Phone 7 Worth the Wait

Posted by on October 4, 2011 at 8:26 pm

If you’re one of the 2% of smartphone owners with a Windows Phone 7 (let’s hear it 2 percenters!), you should be getting the new Mango update any day now. Was it worth the wait?

The short answer is yes. Read on for the long answer…

Microsoft started rolling out the update on September 27th, expecting to deliver in small increments throughout the month of October. The update has gone so well, however, that Microsoft decided yesterday to give the gift of Mango to half the Windows Phone 7 user base. That’s got to be at least 20 people.

I got the Mango update on my HTC HD7 last night. The update took about two hours, though most of that was spent backing up the phone.

The effects of the update are immediate. The phone is snappier, animations are smoother, and there are a plethora of new features (500 or so). Microsoft’s phone was late to the game, and though it may never unseat the Apple iPhone or Google’s Andriod, it is now worthy to play with the big dogs.

Here are some of the new and improved features.

Multitasking

This seems like such a no-brainer, but Windows Phone 7 launched in 2010 without true multitasking. Clever use of the “Back” and “Home” buttons eliminated some of the need for a while, but the Mango update finally brings multitasking to WP7. Just hold down the Back button to flick through your active apps.

Contacts

The People Hub now includes integration with Twitter and LinkedIn, as well as improved sorting and grouping features. Microsoft has given you the ability to group all of your red-headed contacts into a single Live Tile called “Gingers” if you want. The power is in your hands.

The new History View is another nice feature. Your phone keeps track of all of your virtual exchanges with every one of your contacts, from text to emails to phone calls. Better say something interesting because Windows Phone is making sure your conversations will never die.

What About Me?

The “Me” Tile is more robust. Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn notifications now aggregate to the Me Tile, so you (mostly) don’t have to mess around with other apps. The only downside is that if you’re like me and you don’t have a Twitter account or many friends, then the empty Notifications section is just a constant reminder that no one loves you.

Messaging

Messaging in Windows Phone 7 is now quite powerful. You can cross-chat between Facebook, Messenger and text and WP7 keeps the conversation organized in one thread.

Calendar

The anemic calendar functionality was one of the bigger shortcomings in the original release of WP7, but thanks to the Mango update your Windows Phone now aggregates all of your cloud-based calendars into one view, integrating Facebook Events, Google Calendar, Windows Live and even Outlook. If you have 1,000 Facebook friends, you can now see all of their birthdays listed in your calendar (don’t worry, you can turn that off).

I particularly appreciate the calendar’s new integration with Facebook Events. Instead of going to Facebook to manage an event, I can now do it right from my calendar on my phone where it makes sense.

Unified Inbox

If you’re like me, then you have more than one email account (and, if you’re like me, one of those accounts belongs to your flirty female alter ego “Kiko”). Before the update, you had to have a separate tile for every email account, but now you can join your email inboxes together into a single Live Tile. Nice.

You’ll also find your email messages grouped intelligently, making it easier to follow conversations and delete spam.

Customized Ringtones

Why didn’t we have this at the start? I dunno. But if you want, you can now rock out to Lady Gaga whenever you get a call.

New question: Why don’t we have customized alert sounds?


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