by Anton Shilov
09/28/2011 | 11:40 PM
Microsoft Corp. this week began to update smartphones based on Windows Phone 7 operating system with more advanced version 7.5 "Mango" OS. The updated platform will bring in multitasking, more integrated apps, primo mobile Web browsing, and powerful and personalized tools, like integrated social networking and conversation threads, for connecting with the people.
When an update is available, a message appears on the phone screen. When the notification is obtained on the handset, users should connect the smartphone to a computer to download the update. Microsoft is not making Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" available to everyone at once since the software giant is not only offering a new operating system, but also updates firmware and software supplied by individual handset makers. Since firmware and software is different for different models, it will take several weeks before all Windows Phone 7 devices get updated to Windows Phone 7.5. Microsoft has the goal of making the update available to 98% of phone customers worldwide within four weeks.
The latest update is a major milestone for Windows Phone. Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" will deliver more than 500 new features, including app multitasking, Internet Explorer 9 with HTML5 support and hardware acceleration, deeper social network integration, built-in voice-to-text and text-to-voice support and so on. Windows Phone 7.5 focuses on weaving apps, tasks and experiences together into Live Tiles and Hubs, an approach Microsoft highlights as "a smarter way to app".
“We looked around and saw that smartphones were largely becoming application launchers, and consumers were left to navigate a sea of icons and a grid of apps. We looked to build all the core things that consumers want to do directly into the phone, and focus it all around people – not icons,” said Andy Lees, president of Microsoft’s Windows Phone division.
Windows Phone has roughly 30 000 apps in its marketplace, including 90% of the most popular titles available on leading competing platforms. Some developers have already updated apps to take full advantage of the new Windows Phone 7.5 features.
For Microsoft, the success of Windows Phone 7.5 "Mango" is critical. Based on recent findings from Gartner market research firm, the share of Microsoft Windows Phone- and Windows Mobile-based smartphones decreased to 1.6% in Q2 2011, down from 4.9% a year before. In fact, WP and WM handsets are currently behind Samsung's proprietary Bada (1.9%), RIM's Blackberry (11.7%) and Apple's iOS (18.2%) despite of the fact that they are available from numerous vendors.